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Title:What Ever Happened To [...] #1005
Date:Friday March 9th, 2012
[Default Article Image][Freshly, or UNfreshly, back from my special "treat to beat my feet on the Mississippi MUD," I feel UNspired today to rap about PAVEMENT--and thank the good load for it, too! And thanks otherwise to today's listserv chatterings on this very topic as well. ;-]

The Reagan Administraction Presents...


Right. What ever happened to 'em anyway? Having just slogged and trudged and extracted my shoes out from over 30 miles of soggy sole-sucking quicksand, I find myself missing that good old-fashioned CONCRETE.

You know, the stuff "they" used to put the feet into of double-crossers and loan deadbeats and attempters-to-skip-out-on "The Family," so that then The Family would simply be forced to toss them overboard. I'm told there are currently lots and lots of metal tubs filled with concrete with two conspicuous holes in them lying at the bottom of the ocean. Well, I, for one, would like all that concrete back.

How about asphalt? What the heck ever happened to running on *it*? Today only woods are valid? Jungles? Forests? Trails? Little skimpy pathways that only the deer used to use? The kinds of enticingly attractive ways to wander all over all kinds of dirt that, after just a few Mississlippery monsoons, for example, turns into all kinds of slime? And y'all wanna now try to RUN in THAT??

What *ever* happened to running on civilized ROADS?

Used to be, you could charge around neighborhoods, highways and byways IN THE POURING RAIN and barely pick up a speck of slime, or mud. All's you got was soaked--but it was clean soak. When you got home, you'd set your jog-togs, tube socks, and "gym shoes" out on the back porch, and the next day you could wear 'em again.



These days, when you finally do MUDDLE thru to the finish line, you can't even get back inside your car without first having to do a very public striptease. And everything you peel off needs to go inside some big plastic bag and then into the trunk. And what do you do with it if you're staying at a hotel? Even if you do succeed in lugging it through the lobby, what do you do with it in your room?

The maid will think it's garbage (which, when you think about it, it is) and pitch it the next day while you're hobbling down to breakfast. Leave it all out to dry? Where? Under the sink? Then what do you do with all the inevitable dried dirt that unavoidably spreads itself all over the floor?

Put those putrefying shoes up on the heater unit? Puh-leeeeease. Hotel management will charge you a pet deposit. After you check out, they'll have to fumigate. And then they'll charge you for that, too.

Road races. What the heck *ever* happened to 'em?

Where'd they all go? In Mississippi alone I've got precious historical evidence that, for example, a now-famous Carl Touchstone and a now-infamous Gary Cantrell both once cruised around the Leland town square (I think) for umpteen obsquattamatillion laps to make 50 miles in the now-astonishing times of about 7 hours or less. Yes, all on pavement. Today? In dys Mississucky Mud of da DeSoto National Forest? A sub-7-hour 50M would be deserving of a world record!

Personally, I only knew of maybe ONE modern ultrarunner who could do it--DeWayne Satterfield--and he mostly did it on those rare (very, VERY rare) occasions when the whole DeSoto Forest was DRY.

( O_O )

Yours troubly,

The Troubadour
"your friendly neighborhood-missing (for nearly 800 years) wretch who in horseracing terms would be called a 'mudder'"

PS: And DeWayne used to lap me at the exact same place (new-growth pine trees by the "clean" creek after the 6-mile mark) each and every time!

Yankee Folly of The Day:
Sure, there were road races before President Reagan, but not all that many ultramarathons! They seemed to start thriving along with the rest of "the running boom" shortly after Shorter did his Olympics marathon thing (under Carter), and nearly all of those too were on ROADS.


To Which Is Now Added...

Monday Sometime [was: Morning] Quarterbacking [Re: WEHT #1005]

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

About WEHT #1005 and "Road Races" and, well, what was written about slogging along in the rain and the mud (on TRAILS :(, J.C. wrote in to say: "Your stanky descriptions sound like (smell, to be accurate) what our gear smelled like after a week of backpacking in the Smokies. Our last trip out was to Mt. LeConte, where a 1930's era lodge is the popular half-way point of some pretty impressive up-and-down trail runners, and an even more impressive octagenarian lady who walks the walk once a week (used to do it more often)."

Nevertheless, my friend J.C. admitted to spending 20 years worth of spring breaks hiking in the Smokies, so… rancid gear smell from trails is not apparently enough of a drawback to cause hikers, for example, to prefer hiking instead on pavement.

H.S. said, "Come on, Rich, either you love it or you have severe masochistic tendencies. I could understand 3 or 4 times hoping it will be better, but if I can count it has been 16 times so far."

Again my friend is enumerating (mutual) years of attendance at the Mississippi 50/50/20 race. Guilty as charged, I suppose. And just like J.C. above, I guess my own trail "stankiness" hasn't been enough either to keep me from keepin' on keepin' goin' back.

D.B. was kind and offered: "I do find this funny. Very funny. As I mentioned to the list and other places that I was planning to run a barefoot 100 in a controlled environment, I got a lot of flack. Yes, I prefer the serenity of the forest. But . . . I personally enjoy running on all surfaces. Mostly."

Privately D.B. admitted that this planned upcoming barefoot ultra is NOT going to be on gnarly, nasty, rocky or muddy trails. "Controlled environment" means "indoors"!

There hasn't been a single year in Mississippi when I regretted running with shoes on my feet, although there was one year when the mud was actually so bad that it sucked the SOLE OFF my shoe, not the shoe off my foot. Man, I wanna tell ya, that is some kinda powerful MUD!!

Finally, C.W. said: "My opinion, and this is just my opinion so it's probablly wrong, about road races is that the medical community along with shoe companies are convincing us that our bodies are broken. So they provide us with a 'cure,' [which] will prevent injuries and allow our broken bodies to run on these unnatural, manmade surfaces, and do it faster and more efficency!

"Then these 'cures' don't work as advertised. So the companies that came out with the original 'cure' decide to up [add-on, improve] with additional pieces that are required since your human body that has evolved over millions if years isn't capable of performing this type of task. Then that doesnt work. So people say to themselves, 'hmm... Self, I don't think we should run on these hard surfaces anymore. Let's just run on trails and other non-manmade surfaces."

"All the while," C.W. writes, "I blame the 'cure' for the bad music in the 80's and for peoples' fear of roads. That said, I love roads and trails and briar patches and broken glass."

Good analysis, C.W. Thanks! My only note: Wasn't The Cure itself a rock band in the 1980's? Whudda ya s'pose they played their concerts barefoot? ;-)

My own latest theory on today's preferences for trail vs. road races is because of, yes, MONEY. Most urban and streetwise races have to pay for such things as street closures, barricades, and traffic and crowd control by police--who are generally "off duty" and must be PAID for their services. And this goes hand-in-hand with "speed." Most ultramarathons are entirely too poor to have to pay for such services all day--and all night--long. So? Secure a woodsy permit from the park and/or forest service and let the fools run for days on end! Eh? Ya think?

Happy early spring, y'all!

Yours troubly,
The Troubadour

Yankee Folly of The Day:
Did ya notice that Mr. Redneck Wisdom wishes to visit Chicagoland? Heck, never mind "visiting"; I'm tryin' to get him to stay here and run for office!
Posted:March 12th, 2012 12:16 pm
Last Update:April 22nd, 2012 1:22 pm
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