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Title:What Ever Happened To [...] #1004
Date:Friday February 24th, 2012
[Default Article Image][Oh joy, oh rapture! It must be Bad Joke Friday again. Firstly, I'd like to thank all you most excellent peeps who've been so helpful, both in public and private, and sympathetic with my pathetic titanium tribulations with trying to sync my titanic new Macintosh machine. Thank you. And, secondly, I will get back to you all in due time, especially if I find that your helpful suggestions work / especially if I find that they don't! ;). But in the meantime:]

The Carter Administraction Presents...


Indeed, what the heck ever happened to it? You know, lining up at the start of an ultramarathon, say, all fidgety and nervous and watching the second hand sweep across your wristwatch, and then--when "the guy" shot off his pistol or shouted out "go!"--you WENT! And FAST!!

Not like today where the hubbub in the lineup is so abuzz with biz that the signal to begin is barely perceived above the hobnobbing. It's almost like an entreaty: "Please, people, begin! I'd like to get home again sometime before Monday."

Nowadaze the surge is more like the trudge. Peeps hear the air horn and THEN finish tying their shoes. "Here, hold this," the guy next to me once said. And I dutifully STOOD THERE holding his goddamn handheld while he unzipped his vest pocket, extracted a plastic baggie, poured a powder from the baggie into his OTHER (empty) handheld, and then finally after hardly anyone had started yet anyway, he took back what I was holding and poured its contents into this powdery-needing-mixing one. Wow. All that. And then, of course, he had to refill the bottle I'd held for him before he could actually move. (I didn't stick around to see what he did with the empty baggie.)

What *ever* happened to SPEED?

That balls-to-the-wall elbows-to-the-face take-no-prisoners kinda jive that all our heroic old ultra forefathers and foremothers seemed to just ooze from every pore? And when their pores opened up--and sweated!--they could charge even harder. Oh, and there was no "pouring." Most of the time these heroes of ours didn't even drink! Imagine running a world-record 50-miler on four-and-a-half measly tiny ounces of Diet Dr. Pepper. Hey, Barney Klecker did it!


There was once--and not ever again since--a "show" that went on every year along the banks of Lake Michigan that made every onlooker gulp hard in disbelief. At a time when big city marathons were just getting started, there were studs and studettes zooming up and down Lincoln Park blowing the doors off even bicycles! World records were set, and reset, in damn near each distance LONGER THAN the marathon. Sometimes world record holders were almost run down by other world record holders for longer distances even during the same event. Hey, Bernd Heinrich did it!

Who can imagine today anyone running SUB-5 HOURS for the 50-mile distance? Besides Dr. Klecker, I can think of only three others who've done it--Bruce Fordyce, Don Ritchie, and Allan Kirik--and those guys basically did that before Reagan was Prez. Or, maybe during his first term. Nothing since. No one else has done it in ALMOST 30 YEARS!!!

Today we got dufuses running for office that couldn't run a step. "Peanut farmer" Jimmy ran; also "Bubba" the sax man. And I suppose (to be fair) so did Bush, Jr. Hellfire and damnation anyway! Dubya's best marathon time beat my best marathon time! Oh, and that too was quite a few centuries ago.

I can't run like that anymore. So? What in *the hell* ever happened to MY speed??

I think, in my case, its because all the way-fabulous babes I used to chase have retired. Don't ask who they are, even they don't know. Today we have, of course, the "fast girls" who can manage 7 hours for the 50M (those I never see) and back-of-the-packers who can barely squeak it in under the 12-hour cutoff. I never see them either. I now have to be careful and sign up only for 50-milers within 100-milers that allow the same time for finishing the fifty as the hundred. With any luck, I too can make it home by Monday.

Hundred milers! So, who among us ever watched--slack-jawed and salivating--perhaps the greatest speedster-plus-endurance-king of all time? Yiannis Kouros! Once I was watching (volunteering, I like to call it) a 24-hour race enfold around a circle (a pond methinks) somewhere in Ohio. Mr. Kouros was there. There was one aid station and one portapotty (OK, a few of 'em) and I witnessed, over the course of 24 hours, The Amazing Mr. K use both--once. OMG!!!! [To be fair, however, The Y-Man did have his own crew (his wife methinks) who handed him "stuff" as he zoomed around the pond. Kinda like "Charlie on the MTA," who--because he didn't have exact change to get off the subway--depended on his wife standing daily in the station, handing him a sandwich through the open window "as the train came rumbling thru."]

Whatever happened to THAT??

Will there ever be again in our lifetimes an ultrarunner to equal the feets of Kouros? Check his Spartathlon record. It's hours ahead of how fast even a Moped can drive it.

And, by the way, whatever happened to those? (Even I had to sell my old motorcycles. They were too fast.)

( O_O )

Yours troubly,

The Troubadour
"your friendly neighborly 800-year-old 'speedster' in motorized wheelchairs only"

Yankee Folly of The Day:
We wanted to use John F. Kennedy's term in office to highlight how Maryland's JFK 50 got started; but that wasn't about speed, just distance. Besides, it wasn't Jack's feet that were "fast"; it was his hands.


To Which Is Now Added...

Monday Sometime [was: Morning] Quarterbacking [Re: WEHT #1004]

Posted: Monday, March 12, 2012 5:29 PM

[Happy Monday, everyone, and day-after Daylight Saving Time kicked in! Not so super terrifically overwhelmingly ecstatic at my end, however, mostly on accounta iWanna "Indian-give" BACK dys damn iMac!!! Which reminds that the last time I did this feedbacky type commentary, we Listereans got all kinds of hung up on computronix and veered way-way-way-WAY off the main topic of running. Don't wanna do that anymore. Today I'm just gonna try and catch up with feedback on both of my last *two* running-type topix: Speed and Road Races.]

Regarding (gosh, it's been over a couple of weeks ago now) WEHT #1004 and "Speed," it seems quite a few friends were willing to share rather pointed hyperlinks addressing this very issue. J.B. shared the following--

--which is an advertisement by Pearl Izumi, that states in part: "The marathon used to be an elite athletic contest. These days, it's an all day affair where some people mosey across the finish line seven hours after they started," and adding, "we are fairly certain that Pheidippides wanted people to beat more than the sunset." [Just as a side note: yours troubly on 3/3/12 took approximately 8 hours to complete 26 miles :-( Of course, it was IN A SWAMP!! :-)]

Our friend J.B. also asserted as to how he himself was once doubtful of being able to finish long-distance races, but still… he raced them. And rightly so! [Yours troubly, too, STILL "races" these things. Upon finishing that "grueling" footrace alluded to above--and convinced that I was DFL or tied for it--you cannot imagine the joy (that's not quite the right word) I felt upon learning after the official results were posted that I WASN'T last! So, I still wanna be competitive, even if I just end up racing against (some of) the trees and flowers. ;-]

Then M.M. wanted to know if I was faster than Sarah Palin, whose 3:59 marathon is recorded here:

She was 41 years old at the time, and well, yes, when yours troubly was 41 ( shortly after World War I) yours troubly ran his very first marathon three minutes faster than Sarah's time.

D.B. then attested much the same, saying, "Yes. I ran faster than that when I was 10 years older than she was at that race."

Neither D.B. nor I myself, however, thought this might qualify us to run for Vice President. But of course, to be fair, Sarah probably didn't think this about herself either. At least to my knowledge, she never bragged about it, eh?

M.M. further attested concerning one of my cited "all time greats" in both the speed and endurance categories: "Kouros doesn't run 100 milers because they aren't real ultras. A real ultra is when you are still running after dark." And he provided the following link as proof:

After editing out Yiannis's long-windedness, his Facebook page nonetheless states (incredibly) the following: "Other long distance running activities-–but not real Ultras [are]: a) 50km/mile to 100km/mile and 6 to 12h events; b) Stages [stage races] or etape running category; c) Trails; d) Solo runs; e) Fan or Fun-running; f) Collecting races and/or training mileage; [and] g) Relays."

So, from this it seems Yiannis Kouros would not even count Western States as being a "real Ultra." Hmmm… but let's move on and not get all hung up on semantics here, shall we?

J.G. wrote: "By his definition, I'm not sure that the Spartathalon counts as an ultra... he seems to dismiss races under 200 miles…."

And M.M. responded: "Just barely. He has won it 4 times in 20:25 to 21:57. These are also the 4 fastest times ever run on the course. The race starts at 7:00 AM. So all of his finishes were between 3:25 AM and 4:57 AM. I guess that's close enough to running after dark to be considered worthy."

M.M. added this curiosity, too: "Also, his course record pace was 4:59 per km, which as everyone knows, is just below the internationally recognized criteria of 5:00/km (8:00/mile in the US) that separates running from jogging."

Wow! This must now also mean that yours troubly has ONLY and always been "a jogger."

Hmmm… again.

And finally R.M. wrote the following: "yes, I have been similarly bemoaning the sloth pace--albeit at shorter distances--unless, of course, there's money involved, in which case Kenyans will flock in some speedsters. Marathons used to be about qualifying for Boston, or at least come in close; anything over 4 hours was either due to injury or incompetence."

And he adds: "but I still give a lot of credit [to slow finishers], even at lethargic pace, because they had to have had a goal, and they pried themselves away from their nacho platters long enough and often enough to plan for and train for their extended perlambulatory effort. [Nevertheless] I think there should be strictly enforced cutoff times. An event cannot be held without volunteers, so while I may admire the plodding participants, the volunteers get nothing from the event other than perhaps a hearty handshake, with the hand proffering a trash bag to clean up the litter."

Amen, eh?

Yours troubly,
The Troubadour
Posted:February 28th, 2012 12:21 pm
Last Update:March 23rd, 2012 1:02 pm
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