Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Thoughts / Prayers in San Diego

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Team Slug sends our most sincere wishes for the safety of families, firefighters, and all those involved in the catastrophic firestorms in Southern California. We have many friends there, as San Diego is home to the Flatlanders (of T.J.Key fame), our direct predecessors and inspiration for all these years of friendship and running. Please be safe, and please be in touch.

Friday, October 19, 2007

and then the vulture eats you...

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John L. Parker, Jr. is the editor of an entertaining little book about ultramarathons, And Then The Vulture Eats You, published in 1999. It includes eight essays by various authors about some ridiculously long pedestrian expeditions. The book's title comes from John Parker's own hilarious article about the historic clash of cultures between "Track Men", who took their speedwork seriously, and classic marathoners, who in contrast:

... affected facial hair and wire-rimmed glasses ... had Ph.D.s in arcane fields ... reveled in the obscurity of their event ... [and] didn't care if you beat them! They seemed almost proud of the fact that they weren't very fast. Their knowing smiles and ethereal comments implied a mystical wisdom that could only be won in that grandaddy, that king, that ultimate of all long-distance challenges. Oh, we could win our little races and have our fun, but we could never know True Enlightenment until we had personally experienced the Great Big Mystical Unbelievably Impossible Kahuna.

Parker then describes the Ultimate Runner competition, a one-day sequence of races at 100 meters, 400 meters, 1 mile, 10 kilometers, and finally a 26.2 mile marathon. Competitors in each event get points based on how their times compare with the world record in that event. But for your score to count, you have to finish every race.

So, as Parker quotes ultrarunner Don Kardong:

"The marathon is like a vulture sitting on your shoulder during all the other events. And then at the end of the day, the vulture eats you."

i can't lie; i love this book. and, i've given away at least SEVEN of them over the past ten years....leaving me with NONE :) ..........i can't believe it; i go on amazon.com to pick one up, and; 13 used & new available from $73.78 ; i thought i was hallucinating. seventy some bucks, for my olde book. no ways. so, if ya got one out there, hang on to it; or send it to me. and, if kardong or higdon are reading this, Please, print another edition quick...this is ridiculous. you know, i don't care about getting an original back...but no joke; it was AWESOME inspiration, and reading. hope all da' slugs are enjoying their days. from the deep south, ole flatfoot.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Great One ... checks in ...

...yes, the man with a thousand nicknames, the world-famous overhand midnight bowler, the man with the too much scalp, and not enough hair, the man who runs right over large trees in the middle of the night; and the man who single-handedly satisfied "big bertha" deep in the jungles of seashore state park in 1992 (without removing his slug-shirt); and still finished fifty miles under nine hours has spoken. i've offered him free entry into the 2008 fattest butt; and, mr. john clark responds, "harper u shit head! wadda u want now? i'm busy watching girls gone wild infomercials! quit botherin' me." o.k. mr. clark; i'll take that as a maybe...the field for the 18th fattest butt is shaping up nicely.

Huggs for da' Sluggs...

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Monday, October 08, 2007

The Marathon Kills....Chicago '07

...but so does sitting on your couch and going to work. i am very sorry for the young man, Chad Schieber, the thirty-five year old from michigan who died in the heat of the chicago marathon on sunday. and, i'm especially sorry for his family and friends.

but, i'm also very happy for chad. so many folks don't follow their dreams; and are frozen in time, unable to act on "what may be." not chad. reports said he trained for six months, in order to complete his first marathon. most folks reading this blog can relate. some of us have trained for "decades" but can easily recall the early years, and finishing that first marathon. it was a treat; and it changed our worlds, and the way we think about our lives, and how we relate to those around us. the friendships we've enjoyed go on forever. we share a common bond, and it is good.

that was the dream chad was following; the one calling from deep inside his soul; life is a precious thing, for sure. the older we get, the more clear it becomes just how important moments in time are. this was chad's moment in time. it is a sad time for his family, for sure. but chad's life should be celebrated. chad set the bar high, and went for it. he challenged himself to a physical goal, that most human beings never even consider.

the media has blown this event out of proportion; and some critics will even challenge the sanity of being out there running in the heat. they're all wrong. they don't hear the music that runners hear. they don't feel the power of movement that we know. and, it's o.k. my friends, stay out there; keep moving and keep the faith.

happy days,
flatfoot freddie

Saturday, October 06, 2007

90 Days until TSI's Fattest Butt....

...and the Top-Secret Slug Course is being groomed. everyone knows that january in the middle atlantic is pure h*ll. last year, the temps topped at seventy degrees with sunshine. of course, it's global warming; and the republicans fault (mostly W's). however, this year we're bringing in 17 kilotons of glacial ice from greenland. naturally, it'll be grossly hacked, and chopped into fine pieces; and strewn around the course at opportune points. flatfoot freddie is in close contact with the National Weather Service who assure us there will be dastardly cold and miserable freezing rain / ice on fatt butt day. so don't forget yer parkas. ranger rick ain't real pleased with us right now either. seems someone left their team slug thong, hanging on the handlebars of the park ranger's four wheeler. and, it appeared soiled. this is not good slugs; and what it means is that big bertha; was in the park, against my wishes.

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it's ok, it's all good; we're sendin' pokey in with some peanut brittle to appease the rangers. however, there will absolutely, positively be no bushwhackin' and jumpin' fences this year. team slug is "this" close to getting kicked out of the first state...and we just need to be able to hold on another year or two. what i am requesting is that y'all don't run so danged fast; i really enjoyed being out in the forest in the pitch blackness last year. the delaware devil-beasts are out on full moon nights; and while i heard him last year; this year i'm hoping to pop him with a pea shooter...and i don't like to be out their alone; in case i miss. it wouldn't be pretty. the ole DDB has sharp teeth, and bad breath.

hope all are enjoyin' some fine fall training; happy days, the big brown pony...

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Why Team Slug is still here???

...and I've been thinking a lot about this lately; particularly when puttin' away brewskies with budds following a long run. Why is TSI still here; and what has held us together all of these years? Then I get to thinking about the current state of ultrarunning; and how it's grown. Kind of like NASCAR; destined to become larger and more popular; and destined to change. Race applications on-line and selling out in a few days, or less. Many hundreds showing up at races; the majority of which we've never met before. And, events / personalities that have outgrown the common "back of the packer."

I'm not sure it's "good or bad" it just is. For better or worse, and as the tide of time passes; the olde days are gone. For many runners; ultrarunning has become a business. And for better or worse; the olde folks are stuck with it. Listen... ain't complainin'...change is inevitable. So what do we do? We can change with it...or Team Slug can hang on. Hang on with all those small clubs / groups of friends who continue to stage low-key events. So we roll on. Start twelve here; and sixteen there. Skim a little pond water, and have a little fun. The olde days were that good. They really were, and they weren't that long ago. At Team Slug, the olde days were this past Saturday; and they were good.

I have to tell the small gang; whose line of time, often intersects mine; that I love every one of you. All the folks, who've crossed over to the dark "black t-shirt" side; and ran / participated in one of our "most pitiful of all non-events." Y'all are the real ultrarunners. The ones with the direct philosophical links, back to those who came before. And we will carry on. Rumours of the "Death of Team Slug" are greatly exaggerated. After the Hitman and Flatfoot Freddie; Chief Slug and the All-Nighter, the Troll...and hundreds of other Slugs are gone; our spirit will carry on. And someone will pickup the torch. We carried on for the Flatlanders....and someone, somewhere will carry on for us. God Bless every single one of you tonight and always. Life is Good!!!

happy days, the hitman...

"I trained earnestly for that hardest of all contests, the ultra distance walking races. I was no champion, but what I gained was better than any rewards like cups or medals. I gained health and strength, incidentally and best of all, I gained friends, sound friends, whose company has made life the pleasurable thing it has mostly been."

Australian walker Robert Henderson Crall (1869 to 1947)