You Might be an Ultrarunner if…

Most of us have heard the Jeff Foxworthy comedy routine, “You might be a redneck if…”.  I decided that our community needed a version of our own.  I would love to hear any more that you might have in the comments!

You might be an ultrarunner if…

  1. You have ever run out of Gerber baby food and given your infant a Clif food pouch instead.
  2. You have ever followed someone out of the bathroom after they didn’t wash their hands and immediately lined up behind them at the buffet without even questioning it.
  3. You have ever purchased your race kit from TJ MAXX.
  4. You have ever washed down a pancake and syrup burrito with a swig of pickle juice.
  5. You use more diaper rash ointment than a newborn baby.
  6. You have ever gone for a short training run only to end up in the next county.
  7. You have ever told your family to expect you at the finish line in 8 hours and it actually takes you 14.
  8. You get a bulk pallet discount on your gels.
  9. You refer to those gels as “nutrition.”
  10. You have ever debated whether or not a puddle of water is “drinkable.”
  11. You have ever asked people on Facebook to diagnose your ailments.
  12. You have had someone tell you that they “don’t even drive that far.”
  13. You have more wildlife friends than human ones.
  14. You have ever wondered to yourself if having Hobbit feet would make you a better runner.
  15. You have a tendency to take a nap or go to the bathroom without any concern for your current location or surroundings.
  16. Your have become hyper vigilant to random sounds around you.
  17. You have ever left your house wearing two socks and returned with only one.
  18. You have ever screamed in agony during what would otherwise be a relaxing shower.

If you like this post and would like to stay up to date when future gear reviews, race reports, and other related posts are released, please follow my Facebook page at Ultrarunner Joe!

The Five Stages of UltraSpouse Grief

We ultrarunners can sometimes forget about how much our addictions impact those around us.  Sure, we endure some serious physical and mental beatings, but we cmust keep in mind that our families can go through similar struggles when dealing with us.  In this guest post from my wife, she takes a humorous approach to describing the “stages” you go through when you live with an ultrarunner.
The Kubler-Ross “Five Stages of Grief” model is usually applied to a person who is suffering a traumatic life event. Being an UltraSpouse may not be considered “traumatic,” but I swear I have experienced the five stages of Ultra grief.
1. Denial
Sweet, sweet denial. In my head, it went something like: “It was only a 50k, but look how torn up he is! He won’t want to do a 50 miler any time soon. Maybe never!” I was so naive. The distances got longer, the races got more frequent, and, before I knew it, our whole family was sucked in and loving it. Even our littlest girl has done a trail race.
2. Anger
Oh man. The angry thoughts I have had! The ridiculous fights I have started! I confess that I still get angry sometimes… Like when URJ is HOURS off of his projected time, and I have no way of knowing whether he is ok, or dead, and I am worried-worried-worried, and I make myself sick (and angry!) from all of that worrying, and I am trying to keep our kids from staging a mutiny (or running off to find him themselves), and that makes me angry, and then he rolls up to the finish line in the DNF-mobile, and I have to immediately swallow that anger, and go back to plain worry and support. Because he has suffered enough, and is going to torture himself mentally for weeks and months to come. But I need a massage, y’all. And someone please bring me my tequila. I’m gonna take a rest day.
3. Bargaining
I could probably handle a hostage negotiation, given the amount of bargaining I have done in the last five years. It was ugly at first– I would not have trusted me with lives on the line. Over time, I developed some ground rules (ex. a training run cannot be so taxing that URJ is unable to help with the normal parenting/chores when he gets home), and now the bargaining is easy. Because, compromise. And tequila.
4. Depression
Once upon a time, I was the more active spouse. I convinced URJ to join me in some of my fitness endeavors, promptly got pregnant with our youngest (which is what I get for spending all of that extra time with URJ), and slowed down considerably. Meanwhile, URJ became, well, URJ. When I woke up from the fog of pregnancy/early infant days, he was pretty far gone. I wanted to get back in shape, but it was difficult to carve out time for myself, and URJ was not helpful at all. The jerk. He “had to train” for his races. So, after some anger, and a whole lot of bargaining, not to mention tequila, I realized that I should just sign up for a race myself. “I have to train” is apparently the language that URJ understands. Which brings me to…
5. Acceptance
I tried to deny, got angry, bargained, wallowed in depression, but finally accepted that the chubby, teddy-bear-like man I married has been replaced by an ultrarunner. And you know what I’ve realized? Our life together is pretty rad. I wouldn’t change any of it.
But… Next time you see me at a finish line, I wouldn’t say “no” to a beer. Or, tequila. I really do love tequila.

You Might be an UltraSpouse If…

(For this post, I enlisted the help of a guest blogger, my wife, to share with you the signs that you might be an ultrarunner’s spouse. Or any type of significant other– if you love/live with an ultrarunner, these things probably apply.)

You Might be an UltraSpouse if:

-you have spent whole weekends just waiting. You feel that you deserve a “waiter’s medal” just as much as your runner deserves a finisher’s medal/belt buckle. You may have even thought to yourself, “I’m like the Michael Jordan of waiting.”

-the signs and symptoms of glycogen depletion are intimately known to you, and you have developed coping strategies for dealing with Ultrarunner Joe’s your runner’s bonked out temperament.

-you marvel at the idea that a person can go out and run for hours and hours, and then come home and want to talk (or Facebook, or blog, or Instagram), incessantly, about running.

-you consider yourself a shoe-lover, but your runner has managed to outstrip your shoe collection. Your shoe boxes might say things like, Michael Kors and Nine West; but your runner’s shoe boxes say La Sportiva, Hoka, Altra, Salomon, etc. Because you have to have different shoes for different terrain, of course.

-you have ever watched a person scarf down 3,000+ calories in one sitting, and then heard them say, “Man, I’m still running a calorie deficit!” This is particularly annoying when… actually, this is always annoying.

-the rear windshield of your runner’s car has become an exhaustive list of gear companies. You can actually hear the logo stickers screaming, “HEY DUDES, I SPEND MY FREE TIME RUNNING IN THE MOUNTAINS!”

-your family vacations are based on race destinations. (Personally, I recommend you talk your runner into “Run Rabbit Run”– Steamboat Springs, CO is delightful).

-you gave up and started running to better understand your runner and this group of loonies s/he belongs to. Maybe you’ve even paced your runner in a 100 miler. If you have gone so far as to become an ultrarunner yourself, well, there’s no coming back from the Dark Side.

I know there are many more signs, so help me out here, all you other Champions-at-Waiting! One of these days, we should really organize a support group.

-UltraSpouse Becci


If you like this post and would like to stay up to date when future gear reviews, race reports, articles, and other related posts are released, please follow my Facebook page at Ultrarunner Joe!