Saturday, March 01, 2014

The Giving Tree

I read a book with Donald pretty much every weeknight before I tuck him into bed. He brings home some pretty good ones from the school library, but this one by Shel Silverstein left me dumbstruck. I thought I was reading Chekhov! Turns out this is a well-known and somewhat controversial book and critics have tried to fit the relationship between the boy and the tree into any number of familiar constructs, but to me the tree wasn't that important at all. To me it was a story of a man who thinks money and things will make him happy, and that owning a house and having a family will make him happy, and that sailing around the world will make him happy, but none of it does. In the end, he realizes that he is not happy at all, only exhausted, and all he wants is a stump to sit on. Funny, I'm 43 and there are many days when all I want for myself is a stump to sit on.

Not a children's book at all, but anyone who has been beaten down and broken by life for several decades will love it. One of the most wonderful things I've ever read!

Very Un-EPIC Request

Dear Mr. Epic,

I’ve been vacillating over this for a few weeks, but I think it’s time to make the call so we can both plan. I need to drop to the 50 at Prairie Spirit. I’ve had a vericocele pretty much my whole adult life but it wasn’t that large and it never really caused me any problems. Since last summer, though, the damn thing has blown up the size of rugby ball and completely throttled my left nut. To compensate for the diminished function of its atrophied partner, my healthy right nut has also grown to the size of a rugby ball. You’ve met me in person twice, Eric, and I ask you: Should a person of my height and weight have nuts the size of rugby balls? I don’t think so! I haven’t scheduled the surgery yet, but I’m going to have to get this vericocele fixed pretty soon. I’ll make sure it won’t interfere with the FlatRock 50k, which I wouldn’t miss for the world!

This is a tough call, Eric. My training hasn’t been great because of all the ice and bad weather, but I still think I'd have at least a 50/50 chance of finishing the 100-miler. It wouldn’t be fun at all, though. I’d rather PR at 50 miles, crack open a beer, and lay flat on my back while the excess blood drains out of my tortured nutsack. After that I can cheer finishers, reconnect with old friends, make some new friends, and celebrate all the good that running has brought to my life. Sounds like a pretty awesome weekend!

It didn’t come together for me this time, but I will finish a 100-miler and get my buckle. Every dog has his day, and I shall have mine!

Thanks!

Dave Renfro

Thursday, October 31, 2013

24 The Hard Way

[Entire report erased with one errant keystroke and I'm not writing it again. You can ask me anything, though. The race was super fun!]

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Training Update

Training? It's going great!

I'm almost finished with delightful and pompous philosopher Alain de Botton's How Proust Can Change Your Life in preparation for another go at Proust's In Search of Lost Time. Wilson Kipsang of Kenya set a new Marathon World Record of 2:03:23 in Berlin. The Donald Situation is trying to bribe me by bringing home a 100% on his next timed math test in return for an inflatable Dachshund Halloween decoration. Two guys thru-hiked all 58 Colorado 14ers in ten weeks, covering 1,300 miles with 300,000 feet of vertical. My bad-ass wife ran eight miles with me at Hobbs last Monday. Jon Olsen ran 100 miles in 11 hours, 59 minutes on a track in Ottawa. I was sad to miss the FlatRock 50k this weekend. Rob Krar is a class act, tweeting to Dakota Jones, "@thatdakotajones Thanks for the most challenging and exciting race of my life. You are a BEAST. I hope our paths cross again soon!" after beating him by three minutes at UROC. The paved loop at Bluff Creek Park in Oklahoma City is still 0.96173 miles long and I will still be running and walking around it for 24 hours starting October 26th at 9:00 AM.

I do know how training could be going any better!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

24 The Hard Way Training Plan

So I guess it's time once again to post an extremely aggressive training plan for my next race. No it's not. It's time to post that I have no intention to train at all for my next race, or for any race after that. I've decided that training is for schmucks. A better plan, it seems to me, is to simply keep myself moderately fit all the time. Then, a few times a year, I will show up at a race I'm not quite prepared for and finish it anyway, because I'm a badass. That's my training plan.

That said, I'm signed up for my first 100-miler next March and I suspect I might have to do a few weeks of something similar to training before that to give myself a good chance of finishing. That race is the Prairie Spirit Trail 100 in Ottawa, Kansas. It goes from Ottawa to Iola and back on a smooth trail of crushed limestone which used to be a railroad. EPIC Ultras and ├╝ber-race-director Eric Steele are putting it on so I know it's going to be a kick-ass event. It's going to be tough, but barring a blizzard like happened this year, I ought to be able to finish.

I chose Prairie Spirit for my first attempt at 100 miles because of the course and the race director, but also because of the timing. I'm running 24 The Hard Way on October 26th, then I have a few months of down time before Rocky Raccoon 50 on February 8th. (RDG and Soub, if you're free, you ought to come out to Huntsville State Park and see me finish. Mrs. DMG, The Donald Situation, and my mom will all be there and my sister is going to be pacing me the last lap. They would all love to meet you, as would I!) I can spend a few weeks recovering from Rocky, hammer out a few hard runs over the next month, and then have a long taper into Prairie Spirit which is on March 29th. The rhythm is just too perfect!

My goal for 24 The Hard Way, then, is simply to gage how much training I will need to do before Prairie Spirit. I will show up at Bluff Creek Park, Oklahoma City, having done no training at all, and see how many laps of the 0.96173-mile paved loop I can complete in 24 hours. Anything more than 84 laps will put me on pace to complete the Prairie Spirit Trail 100 within the 30-hour cutoff, meaning I would not have to train for that race either. Anything less than 84 laps means I may indeed have to do a few training runs to give myself a decent chance of finishing my first hundred. But I doubt I would ever do that. Training is for schmucks!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

My Closet

I don't actually have a closet. Fortunately, The Donald Situation graciously allows me to store my outdoor stuff in the back corner of his walk-in closet. The two black and yellow storage totes are new. One holds my tents and my backpack, the other just some miscellaneous camping gear. The yellow duffel bag holds every bit of running gear I own. My grey Paco Pad hangs on the wall behind the door. And of course, my Craftsman tool box is plenty large to hold every tool I will ever need for the rest of my life.

There is no kayak in this closet, stood on its end and bungeed to the closet rod. There are no throw ropes, PFDs, sprayskirts, or helmets spilling off the edge of my toolbox, no paddles reaching to the ceiling. I did not hedge my bets by hanging on to some small piece of kayaking gear. It is all completely gone.

Kayaking was the last activity I got into because I thought the gear was cool, and I had a lot of fun with it. Ultimately, though, I've reached a point where merely owning the gear associated with an activity no longer satisfies me. I need to actually do the activity to really enjoy it. I wasn't kayaking, so I got rid of all the kayaking crap.

In '08 when everything hit the fan, I had a 12' x 30' storage room so packed with stuff you had to climb to get through it. I had a trailer full of mowers and trimmers, a fishing boat mounted to a customized PWC trailer, multiple kayaks, multiple drum kits I couldn't play, tubes for launching fireworks, and a dismantled dog kennel. I had a fucking South Bend lathe cabinet. I can't remember what else was in there. Bit by bit, some by ebay, some by Craigslist, some by garbage truck, the shit disappeared. The stuff in Donald's closet is all that's left.

I'm never going back.