Ultrarunning

Today is the first day in six that I’m feeling completely healthy. During three of the past five bedridden days, I finished up Scott Jurek’s book, Eat and Run. He’s a legendary ultramarathoner and proponent of veganism. It was so inspiring reading about his journey through running, I downloaded two films on ultrarunning, In the High Country starring Anton (Tony) Krupicka, a badass, 26-year-old minimalist runner who spends hours a day roaming the mountains near Boulder and Unbreakable: The Western States 100 about the oldest ultra in the US and the 2010 race.

Anton Krupicka
Anton Krupicka

My good friend, John, and I wandered the length of Lyndale Ave during the Open Streets event, essentially a street fair that allows pedestrians to enjoy a day of riding their bicycles in the road while learning about all the cool shops and businesses in Minneapolis. We ended up going from 26th st. down to 49th then cutting west over to Lake Harriet. We went once around Harriet and connected to Lake Calhoun and then back home – a good 12-mile run.

It feels good to be back on my feet again. I decided during that movie that I wanted to experience an ultramarathon, so I’ve begun training for that. I’m not really sure how to go about it other than running as much as I can per week. Anton Krupicka runs anywhere between 150-200 miles, but I don’t think I’ll be hitting anywhere near his mark. What I learned two days ago though, something that seems so obvious, is that when you’re logging more miles, it doesn’t mean that your longer runs need to all be run at the same pace that you log 3-mile runs. You can go slower! Brilliant! And it only took 11 years of running to realize this…

We stopped at stoplights, perused garage sales, stood around and watched a BMX biker wearing what could have passed for a full-armor batman suit repeatedly launch himself over a ramp, often landing horrifically. We missed the connecting road, William Berry Pkwy, and ended up going a full time around Lake Harriet before consulting a map (FYI: The road is right near the band shell!). It was slow and relaxing. Despite some nagging joint pain in my hips and knees, I awoke the next morning feeling fine and cranked out another six miles.

Going that slowly helped me fall into an easy, almost meditative breathing rhythm, and the gentle ride didn’t agitate my sensitive stomach. There’s a ultrarunner by the name of Dean Karnazes with the definition of an iron stomach, and in the opening chapter of his book Runner Man, he meets a pizza delivery guy on the side of a highway to pick up a family-sized Hawaiian and an entire cake for dessert.

 

 

I’ve signed up for the Kids Against Hunger Fill Their Plate 5K (Lake Calhoun) the 21st of June and the Red, White, and Boom! TC Half Marathon on the 4th of July. It feels really good to be logging some more miles. I’ll continue to do so abroad while teaching English.

The planned date of departure for La Réunion is the 24th of September. I’m beginning to get really excited for that. We’ve made a Facebook group for all of the assistants from the US who will be going there. There are only 13 of us for this tiny little island of 800,000 inhabitants! I counted two volcanoes the last time I scanned Google Earth. I’ll be living on the west coast in the most happening city, Saint-Gilles-Les-Bains, according to my professeur référant at one of the schools I’ll be teaching at 6 hours a week, a hotel/culinary school for aspiring pastry chefs, cooks, and those looking to go into hotel management and hospitality. Should be a lot of fun!

La Réunion
La Réunion

It’s hard to know what to expect from this experience. To be honest, a part of me would rather stay in Minneapolis. One of my closest college friends, the one who accompanied on the 12-mile run, lives 5 blocks away, and we get to work together at the same restaurant. Another really great friend, a fellow French camp counselor, whom I met a few summers ago lives just up the road. I’m also dating a really amazing and beautiful girl. It’ll be hard to say goodbye to her, I think. On top of that, Le Petit Prince still gives me quite a bit of trouble! I hope my kids are sympathetic to my language level! What I mean to say is that things are really good right now. I’m happy and content, and nothing compares to the Twin Cities in the summertime.

Half a French press and a beautiful 70F day awaits.

Cheers!

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