**CAUTION: Very long wordy blog post.**
What is a Fat Ass and why am I talking about some chick named Catherine? A Fat Ass is a term utilized in the ultra-running community. Basically, it translates into “No Fees, No Awards, No Aid, No Wimps.” If you want more information on how they came about go here. Now technically, this particular race wasn’t a “true” FA as a true FA doesn’t have aid, but as the former RD of this race said, “this race is too hot and too hard to not have some kind of aid.” All of the runners received a list of an item that they needed to bring and it was divvied up among the aid stations. Now what/who is Catherine? Catherine’s Furnace made pig iron. If you want to know more about it go here. It still stands and it’s HUGE.
I was supposed to have a dry run 50k before #ECSUT, but my back decided on a different course of action. Therefore, I decided that the next best thing was to volunteer at a 50k as we all know I can’t run in the middle of July in the mid-Atlantic. Combine that with the cortisone shot in my back this week; I was definitely not running. So at 0300, I dragged my ass out of bed and drove 125 miles to the start line. As my alarm said, “At least you aren’t running it.”
I always enjoy giving back to the community that has given me so much. Plus it was grand fun. Not only did I get to see all of the runners come through, but I got to check out how they handled everything. I was placed with the former RD of the race and he told stories all day long. I just listened and didn’t say much (shocking for those that know me, I know) but I was soaking it all in. Overall the observations I made were incredibly reassuring;
Observation 1: Everyone was having a great time. Even those that were decidedly hurting, cutting the course, or were quitting were all polite and smiling.
Observation 2: Most of the gear and supplements I’ve picked (without knowing any ultra runners at the time) is all the same stuff that they use and these are folks that have run Western States 100 and multiple 200+ mile races. I did good! I got to answer some of my burning questions as to how they cope/carry some of their own aid.
Observation 3: Everyone was so nice! There was a girl who accidentally forgot her running shoes (she drove to the race in flip flops as we all have done) and the RD asked everyone if anyone had an extra pair of size 9 shoes she could borrow. That’s true community right there.
Observation 4: LOTS of power hiking even by the big kids. As a Mountain Pony, this made me happy. I may not be fast, but oh can and do LOVE the climb.
Overall I had a grand time, met some amazing people, was introduced to an awesome secret swimming hole, and learned a crap load. I’m really looking forward to this journey to see where it takes me.