How to spot an Ultrarunner

I’ve become pretty used to the looks I get from people who just don’t quite get the ultra running culture, or running anything longer than a 5K. It’s gotten to the point where it’s pretty entertaining.

Take last night, for example. It’s taper week before our 50K so that means twice the hunger, 1/2 of the miles (you feel me on this right?!) Monday’s have always been a dedicated non-running day and is when we do some upper-body and low-weight on the lower-body.

So, as we’re heading to the gym which just happens to be the first Monday of the month which means FREE PIZZA at Pizza Planet..err..Planet Fitness. So of course we had to eat before AND after weights. (We’ve come to the conclusion that this is some connection to Disney which man, they need to model their interior after instead but that would defeat the purpose of Planet Fitness not wanting people to actually show up all the time)

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As soon as we walked in we both got ourselves a plate full, and plopped right down and began hulk smashing all the pizza while two girls standing there with dumbbells stared and laughed at us the entire time. For them, this is totally OMG but for us, this is another day and another continuous eat-fest as we try to replenish calorie deficits. Pretty sure we were both guilty of having a pretty bad one after this weekend’s workouts which I think put me around 2,200 total with 2 skipped meals.

This is just one of the many times I feel like we’ve been spotted and here’s a fun list of ways to find your own:

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1. They seem in pretty good shape, yet they’re devouring so much food you can’t possibly tell where they’re keeping it all. HOW CAN THEY EAT SO MUCH AND SO QUICK?!

2. They’re wearing an absurd amount of gear. Leggings, shorts, base layer, mid layer, jacket. How do they not get hot wearing all of that? (After 6 hours, you would be sad you didn’t bring the same for yourself)

3. As you pass them on the trail, you hear them chattering nonsense to each other followed by a half-assed giggle fest. (This is probably near the end of their run which they started at midnight. They are sleep deprived and it’s best not to ask any questions and just pass and hope you go unnoticed)

4. Shoes. You won’t find many in base model Asics, Nike, Adidas (unless they’re sponsored) and instead you see a slew of Salomon, Merrell, and other brands you thought only made adventure gear and not real running shoes. If you are friends with one do not comment as to why they need 3 different pairs to run in because they NEED a different pair for road, trail, and technical trail, gosh..duh.

5. They’re storing more water than a camel currently. A bladder, two bottles, hell maybe even a handheld if they’re heading out somewhere water will be scarce. They might be a bit over prepared but you haven’t been 8 hours into a run and without water in the summer and trust me, you don’t want to. (PJ even got the nickname “bottles” when he first started running local paved trails with his vest)

6. You overhear them talking about lube. You knew runners were a pretty crude bunch but you thought that was just with their bowels..now they openly talk about sexual encounters? (Preventative care here, people. Chafe is real and it will knock you on your ass or at least rub your ass raw)

7. Buffs. I don’t know many ultra runners who do not own at least 1 buff. Definitely not a common piece of gear in anything from the 5K to marathon but this handy piece of gear has so many uses for the ultrarunner (neck gaiter, face mask, headband which is even more amazing when you have access to ice during a race)

8. Facial hair because what man has time to shave his face when he’s out there running for 8-1o hours on a weekend? And when he does return he’s going to use all that energy to make himself dinner and not move from the couch the rest of the night.

9. Their watch. Bigger is better. How long is the battery life? They ask the running store salesman. Oh, it’s enough to get you through a 5-hour marathon. Not even close to good enough, they say. They’re going to splurge for something reliable to make it through that 24 hours, most popularly the Garmin Fenix 2, Garmin 910XT, Garmin 310, and Suunto Ambit 3.

10. They’re running and eating. AT THE SAME TIME. Not even like gels either, because we get that that’s normal. No. “There’s someone at the gym on the treadmill eating a SANDWICH. YES I’M SURE IT WAS A PB&J.” (<– definitely not guilty there)

All jokes aside, while these may seem off to you at first, the personalities of ultrarunners is far from disturbing. Try striking up a convo with them while you’re out on your run and they’ll be happy to share everything they know with you because what’s an ultra if you don’t talk about it, tweet about it, make a post about it, or IG that shiz.

 

Thailyr Scrivner

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