To avoid me having to do a lot of copying and pasting here is the link to Ed's musing page on our marathon website:-
Some of my thoughts are a little more structure than musings so are in my blog.
Anything exclusively to do with ultras will appear below.
Buffiquette - a quick look at the niceties of choosing which buff to wear.
More and more races are giving buffs away in their goodie bags or as prizes. This can lead to some spectacular social gaffs. You may look cool wearing your Marathon des Sables buff, but if you are at the local 5k Race for Life you’ll probably be thought of as a pratt by those in the know. So how should you decide which buff to wear when?
The official Buff website has some great videos showing you how to wear them, great entertainment, my favourite is the summer buff video, but not when to wear which design. So I have compiled some simple rules.
- Applicable to any buff – have a good look in the mirror before you go out wearing your buff. If you have a weird shaped head, sticky out ears or any other physical reason why you’ll look stupid, find this out in the comfort of your own home and ditch the buff.
- Assuming you have passed the test in 1 above, think about which buff you are going to wear. If it is non-race specific then it is probably alright to wear to any race. Unless of course it has a lot of pink in and you are a bloke who is not too confident about your sexuality.
- Buffs from race events need careful selection. In general always wear a buff from a race of a shorter distance than the one you are attending. There are a couple of exceptions and these are dealt with in 4 and 5 below.
- If you have a pretty good chance of winning the race, wearing a buff from a tougher race is a good way of putting the opposition on the back foot. This is a high risk strategy, if you lose you will look like a plonker.
- Multi-stage races are generally not as tough as some of the big single stage events so, even though the MdS might be 230km in total, it’s quite acceptable to wear that buff to a 100-mile event (180km). Wear it at a 50 mile event and your are just showing off.
- Where function is more important than fashion, i.e. in extreme conditions, chose an EDZ multi-tube instead. It is made from a heavier fabric and in my humble opinion performs better in the cold and the heat.
A final word of warning; those videos make wearing the buff in lots of different ways look so easy. It is not; make sure you have practiced a lot before you demonstrate it in front of your mates.
A matter of perspective.
I received an email the other day from someone who is planning to run 33 marathons across the Nullarbor and play a game of golf at the same time. He said "Most people think I'm crazy". Strangely I didn't. I was a bit concerned about the 'game of golf' because I subscribe to the view that it is a game played by men with little balls. The Mark Twain quote “Golf is a good walk spoiled” does not appeal to me because I am a runner and view walking as a necessary evil at best, rather than something good.
Now, I would have thought him crazy in the days when I did not run so what you do and where you are in life's journey has a major impact on your viewpoint. But is this a good thing?
I have always considered golf to be a perverted pastime that is the work of Beelzebub. You may think that view a little extreme, however, I think it is important to strongly label as bad those things you wish most to avoid.
Now, having read about Andrew Bowen's game of golf and 1400km run, I am thinking to myself (which I have now broadcast across the internet so it is not really to myself) I quite fancy that. 'Get thee behind me Satan' springs to mind almost as much as 'I wonder how may lessons I will need before I can swing a club competently?'
To see whether I am crazy and you are sane, or I am sane and you are crazy, or we are both crazy or sane have a look at Andrew's website.
Desert, Snow, Sunglasses and disappointment.
When I looked down the long and expensive list of kit for the 6633ultra (350 miles in eight days in the Arctic www.6633ultra.com ) there were two tiny pieces of good news. I could use the sunglasses and rucksack from my desert races; this would save a little bit of money. All the rest of the equipment I would have to buy new. There is only one place to get kit for extreme events and that is Likeys (www.likeys.com). Admittedly that is not quite true you can get it elsewhere, but what is the point when Likeys will give you good advice, great service and a reasonable price. Also if you visit in person you get biscuits, well I did.
As luck would have it, on the day I planned to visit Likeys near Brecon, Wales, to get my stuff for the Arctic we had a lilttle bit of snow so the roads were impassable. Bit ironic. The next day was no better but on day three the route was passable with care so off I went.
As we went through the kit list and Likeys cash register was doing a very good impression of a whirling dervish and getting dangerously overheated I waited for my moment of triumph; "sunglasses don't need those, already got them". Yes I know compared to the cost of a minus 40 sleeping bag or a big down jacket sunglasses are relatively small beer, but it was the principle that counted. Did you know that minus forty is the same in Fahrenheit as it is in Centigrade. Anyhow my bubble was well and truely burst. Although the sunglasses were good enough for the Sahara and the Kalahari they are not good enough for the Arctic. So I now have a nice new pair of sunglasses and no bank balance. The rucksack was good enough, however it is only used to carry the water bladder and a downy jacket. All the other stuff (and there is loads) is carried on a sled, unfortunately not sold by Likeys.
So what did I learn. Edward takes the biscuit, Likeys take the money, ultrarunners never get rich (except spiritually of course) and the Arctic must be the best place to top up the tan.
Ultra running is a strange old game.
My electricity bill, philosophy and running.
Warning: This musing is a bit deep, but, like a marathon or possibly an ultra, it is worth the pain of hanging in there.
The other day I was on the telephone listening to; To read more follow the link:- http://getmarathonrunning.eu/16.htmlOh, that God the gift would give us
to see ourselves as others see us - Robert Burns
Another perspective:- please see the original article on the getmarathonrunning site before reading this one.
There is a sub-group of the ultrarunning fraternity who some see as the elite while others consider them to be a bit weird. They are the track racers who run for a set time. There are the 6 and 12 hour runners at one end of the spectrum, the 24 hour racers in middle and the 6 day racers at the extreme end. One of these time Lords is a lady called Pam Storey. Not only does she run in these strange events but she also organizes them.
On the 14th December 2008 I ran the Centenary Hastings Marathon (I was going somewhat slower than normal due to the fact that I had run the Round Rotherham 50 mile race the day before in atrocious conditions) and met Pam on the road. It is very unusual to see Pam running a marathon as she considers herself too slow for these short distances, but the Centenary Hastings was a bit special. She introduced me to a German friend that she was running with, Christian Hottas. Pam's introduction surprised me, she said "this is Edward Chapman one of our prestigious ultramarathon runners". I have never thought of myself in that light before, I was quite chuffed. I have run a lot of ultras - 8 Comrades, 3 Tring to Towns, 2 Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathons, 1 Marathon des Sables and probably a partridge in a pear tree, plus lots of others. We chatted for a while about races we had done and races we would like to do. Apparently Round Rotherham is on Christian's list. Then we came to a downhill section and I decided to put my weight to good use and pick up some speed ( a relative term in ultrarunning) leaving them to chat together.
A little later they came past when my back started to play up and I was reduced to a shuffle interrupted by regular stops for some painful stretching. I smiled to myself at the thought of being a prestigious ultramarathon runner and ran along hunched over but feeling pretty smug. Well actually very, very smug, I was a prestigious ultramarathon runner!
The following day my bubble burst. I looked up Christian on the internet (infernal contraption) and discovered that he had run over 200 ultramarathons and over 1000 marathons. Oh that God the gift would give us to see ourselves as others see us.
Endurance Athletes - nice people!
I was talking to Andy Dean from Hammer Nutrition ( www.hammernutritionuk.co.uk ) and he mentioned that all the endurance runners that he had met through his business were nice people: easy to deal with, positive and very ready to share experience and information. I did a quick mental check through all my running friends and acquaintances compared them to my non-running friends and decided he was right.
My running friends are all very different, ranging from born again Christians to militant atheists, left-wing trade unionists to Tory parliamentary candidates, and people from Cornwall, from Newcastle and all points in between. From Scotland, Wales, the Republic of Ireland and even the Channel Islands. From all parts of the globe. Yet they all have that positive attitude, willingness to share information and pass on their experience. They are nice people.
The question is were they always like that and that was why they were attracted to running long distances or has running long distances made them like that?