The late and great Mitch Hedberg once said "If a parade is boring, run in the opposite direction, you will fast forward the parade." At the Chubby Cheeks "Get Lost and Inflate your Actual Distance" run, I was treated to a parade of epic proportions. My experience was akin to watching a parade because every few minutes the cast of characters changed. I met some new people, and saw a lot of people I would not have if I was actually running. Since I could not run, and nothing seems better than a carload of processed sugar, I asked Nick if I could run the aid station. (I told everyone I had a hurt foot, which is a total lie. I am obviously tapering for the VBM).
Good vibes are nice, but the best benefit of this experience was the high quality excuses I learned while people stayed and chatted. Here are a few of my favorites.
"There is snow on the ground!"
"I didn't know I used my liver so much while I ran, but it's pretty much destroyed."
"I thought there was supposed to be an aid station here, did you see someone in this parking lot earlier?"
"I didn't do any altitude training. Actually, I didn't do any training."
"No prize purse!? WHAT!? I only run for money. What's the quickest route back?"
"Weeeellllllllllll, I guess if there is a ride back, I'll take it."
"No salt?! What kind of aid station is this?"
"I stopped in every clearing to check the Western States lottery on my smartphone."
"I didn't know there were trails in Fort Collins, I had done all my recent running on roads!"
"I just got back from being deployed with the Air Force, ran TNF50 finishing tenth last weekend, spent the last week on my feet in the San Juans and this is AWESOME!" (oh wait, that's not an excuse!)
All kidding aside, my spirits were a little down when I woke up in the morning. Chubby Cheeks is an amazing event and I was pretty bummed to be missing it. As far as I'm concerned, it is everything that is right about Ultra. Good people, good food, good beer and a sense of community in era when togetherness seems like an all-too-rare occurrence. By the time I left the Arthur's Rock Trailhead I felt revitalized, energetic and excited to be a part of this community, as a runner or otherwise. Being hurt doesn't mean we have to sit out, we just have to find new ways to help.