Personal Reflections on Hurt 2008

Minch just won’t stop whinning……..

I got to do a lot of whining if I am going to tell you my side of the HURT 100 for 2008. For those who know me it’s the same old problem over again, the same thing that may seem so obvious to others that keeps eluding me in most of my major home races. Once again I was torn up with gut cramping and the associated problems. Once again it brought me to a halt before I really should have been counted out. Whine, whine, whine, and excuse me, out of my way as I head off the trail. That’s my story in a paragraph.

In a few more I have to say that it was going well for me right up to the beginning of the third lap. Farther than last year, and I was right on schedule with a 6:20, and a 7:00 over the first two laps. I was feeling very strong and was looking good until I hit the bottom of Auwaiolimu, where the cramping started. In spite of that I was keeping ahead of a number of my fellow runners and actually pulling out in front of others. But I could see the time flying by as I attended to urgent matters and it had me a bit depressed.

One thing I would like to remind people is that this is a 36 hour race not a 35 hour race. So in the mind numbing calculations we all do as we trod along in the dark, five times seven is 35. That does not mean that there is not another hour there, as I somehow convinced myself there wasn’t. You average sevens and you end up with a thirty five. It may make the crew packing up at the nature center a bit yancy but it is a thirty-five. If you have a few problems you still have that hour to burn before 36. Big John will be fast asleep and PJ will have gotten every thing packed in the trucks, and most mainlander who ran the race are on the beach, but you can still be out there.

I thought I could go it without a pacer. I can not on the forth lap. Not so much because I need some pain-in-the-ass out there ahead of me saying stupid shit, but because it helps to have an expectant face waiting for you when you pull in to the Nature Center in the dead of night with the knowledge that home is just a few minutes away. Last year I was fortunate enough to have my good friend David Bonnet there waiting for me to go. I could not disappoint him. We went, and I finished. This year I was a bit slower, but if I had had somebody there who is to say what I could have done.

As it was I had convinced myself that the conditions were so bad there was no way I could do the pace I wanted to do without risking a major fall. Of course there was no way I could have done the pace I did last year on the two final laps without risking a fall either, but I went. Quitting always makes sense, going on is always insane. I forgot that you got to be insane to run the HURT, and that this year you needed to be just that much more insane given the conditions. I forgot one major rule I had given myself last year. "Run every race as if it is your only race." I let this be pushed from my mind when it got dark and wet and I was slipping along in the muddy slime in the gray misty rainy night. I let myself grasp onto the idea that I could ‘live to run another day’—the demon of common sense stood there before me and showed me a way off the path and I it took it. I forgot that THIS moment was the 2008 HURT and there would be no other time for it. In forgetting I let my opportunity to achieve the finish slip from my grasp. It all made so much sense to stop, it seemed so reasoned and just. It was just what my mommy would have told me to do. Forgive me, but that fuckin ain’t ultra racing. That’s just some mamby pamby kind of schtick that I can pull and still impress the uninitiated. It was a no cigar event, and one I walked away from in fairly good condition. Nothing special, no particular achievement, no personal best, no head shaker, not much of anything—except the deep inner knowledge that I let time pass me by without a full-on honest balls-to-the wall I-won’t quit-until-they-drag-me-off-the-course challenge.

No matter what the soundness of my decision to quit I feel the lack of giving it all I had more that anything else. I don’t much care about the finish, what concerns me is the way it ended… Mikey just giving up and leaving Conan out there on the trails looking around for his buddy. It’s a bitch when you can not even depend on yourself.