One good thing to come out of the experience was that I decided I don't have to do this kind of race anymore. I've made a conscious effort--several conscious efforts--in the last 5-10 years to enjoy these ridiculously technical hike-a-thons. I think I've been a good sport about this whole thing. My friends will suggest some insane sufferfest that's usually won by someone running twelve minute miles, and I'll smile and say, "Sure, sounds fun," even though it doesn't sound fun, and I know that three miles into it I'll be cursing myself for running it. I'm not any good at it, and no matter how much I want to be good at it, it's not going to happen. I'm good (or at least, respectable) at races that involve actually running, at moderately fast paces, for considerable amounts of time. I'm not good at races that involve hiking, scrambling, pulling myself up hand-over-fist, etc. I'm not good at it and I don't enjoy it. So, from now on, I'm not doing it any more.
So, to all my running friends: just stop. Stop suggesting I do these races. Stop telling me I'll love them. You know I won't. I know I won't. I know you want me to love them, and believe me, I've tried, but at this point, we both need to face facts. Save us both the hassle. You guys know what kind of races I mean. For those of you who don't know me as well: if you are considering recommending a race, stick to these simple guidelines. I will not be running your race if:
- last year's winner averaged over ten minutes per mile
- the word "Hike" is featured prominently in the race name or URL
- people expect to walk more than 30% of the time (that's being generous)
- people break limbs on the course, and are ecstatic about it
- a non-negligible percentage of the entrants feel the need to use trekking poles
Also, I am not opposed to stream crossings--I actually enjoy them--but races that require me to run up or down stream beds will no longer be considered. Thanks. I think this will make us both a lot happier.
In other news, I'm going to change up my race schedule for the coming weeks, but I want to make a big deal about it for reasons that will become clear when I make said big deal, so check back later this week and I'll give you the scoop.