Well, today is May 1 and I haven’t been on the Internet in over a week now. I am deep in the Alaskan mountains, but that doesn’t mean I can’t still talk about myself. That’s why even though I am many miles from even a semblance of cell-phone coverage, I am still going to give you an update on what I’m doing. Please take a seat, as this could take a while.
To get started, let’s use some visuals. Since I am writing this in advance of the trip, I don’t know exactly where I will be on May 1. Therefore I have created some graphs of probabilities that attempt to describe where I am and what I’m doing.
As the chart clearly shows, by May 1 I will almost certainly be only 25% aware of where I am or what I am doing and will have little to no chocolate left. Furthermore, my chances of enjoying good weather are inversely proportional to how good I smell, likely due to the fact that I have been fermenting in a tent for quite some time. From what I can tell at the time of writing (i.e., before experiencing anything like this), long days in a tent can do some wild things to a person’s headspace. Let’s take a look at my predictions for my thoughts over the same time periods. (For the sake of conjecture, assume all my time is spent in a tent.)
Of course, three weeks in a tent are going to require a lot more thoughts than that. Since I’ll be almost completely unable to go for a run the entire time I’m in Alaska, my thoughts will surely be on the running world. Obviously, I won’t have direct knowledge of what is going on with ultrarunners, but my experience in the sport has given me some basic knowledge of runners and races on which I can base my guesses. This is a graph I came up with a while ago that provides probabilities for certain events, and which I will use to make guesses about what is going on in ultrarunning.
Thus we can conclude that Sage and Max are fast, Kilian does cool stuff, B-Pow is good at covering it all, and I probably need a new career. Nevertheless, the ultrarunning world is changing so quickly that no matter how many graphs and charts I can come up with, I still won’t be able to predict everything. Here are some things I predict can’t be predicted.
Predictions of What Cannot Be Predicted (Exhaustive):
- How awesome the Telluride Mountain Run will be.
- How many Clif Bars are too many Clif Bars.
- How many limbs will ultimately be lost to the tragedy of reckless and uncontrolled compression garment production.
- How much longer I am willing to spend imparting essential knowledge to the running world via graphs and charts.
- How long until I make myself obsolete in the running world by wasting everybody’s time with charts and graphs.
- How quickly Bryon Powell will terminate our agreement for me to write for his website.
- How loud AJW can get.
- How long it’s going to take me and Mike Wolfe to persistence hunt an antelope in Kenya this fall.
As for that last one, that’s an upcoming story. But the jist is that, yeah, we’re going to persistence hunt animals. If you’re skeptical, take a look at Mike Wolfe from The North Face Endurance Challenge in 2011. That’s the face of a man unwilling to let something minor like a tiger attack (or tree branch…) get in the way of victory.
The last thing I’d like to say is that no matter how cool climbing in Alaska is, nothing will ever take away from ultrarunning. I don’t know if it is the mountains or the people or the challenge of the unknown or what, but ultrarunning just has something wonderful to it that can’t be quantified. Or can it? I tried. Here is why ultrarunning is awesome.