Last updated: 27-Nov-18
By Seth Grotzke
“Do you have the goods?”
Our clandestine meeting had converged on a lonely section of single track behind the park.
“You know the protocol. What’s the sign?”
“Oh. Sorry.” I muttered. “The vert today is wicked.”
“My mindful running is gelling with my mojo.” Came the reply.
“Is anyone with you? Were you being followed?”
“Trust me. I am alone.” Given my speed I had little chance of ditching any possible followers, but my ability to get lost at the drop of the hat ensures that no one stays with me long.
My supplier slipped off his running vest and opened up a secret compartment.
“I have everything you need for your next race.”
It has gotten harder and harder to show up at ultras. I remember the good ol’ days when all it took was some trainers, a disposable water bottle, and a lower than average IQ to fit in at most long distance races. Things have changed.
“Are you sure this is the good stuff? I don’t want to be discovered if anyone decides to check.”
“I’m sure. My supplier said that everything has gone smoothly in the last two races for our other users.”
Ahh. So there are others out there playing the game. Running the risks. I wonder if I would recognise them?
“What’s the cost?” I croaked, my voice cracking like a pre-pubescent boy trying to sound like a Mafia boss.
“You know how this goes. We don’t talk cost here. We will be in contact. But just so you know, some of this is getting harder and harder to come by. There has been a big crack-down recently.”
The handoff was made and we both went our own directions, my supplier to his next stop and me to wander for a few more hours until the search and rescue team found me.
One week later I lined up at the start line.
“Great day for a race!” I stuttered. These things make me so nervous.
“Yah.” Came the reply. Then, “Hey nice tat.”
“Thanks. I’m a big fan.” I said with confidence and then turned to mingle with the other jittery runners. No need to push my luck.
As I reached for my pre race gel a wrapper fell out of my pocket and I casually bumped into several other runners as a I stooped to pick it up.
“Oh! That is where the wrapper for my organic, gluten free, vegan, fair trade, non-GMO, BPA-free fuel went! Funny that.”
Everyone went back to their pre-race jitters.
“Mission accomplished.” I muttered.
The shot rang out, we all surged onto the trail…and then everything started to fall apart.
“Hey, your mustache is hanging funny…” I heard the trendy-20-something to my right say.
Then the lycra-sporting hippie on my left chimed in, “And your tattoo seems to be peeling off your arm. Hey…is that Thomas the Tank Engine?!”
In a panic I rushed ahead, ripping my fake facial hair from my face and desperately trying to re-stick my tattoo. And my supplier said he had the good stuff!
Fitting in at these trail races is getting harder and harder these days.
On a completely different note, if anyone knows how to get good health food wrappers without having to buy the actual food, I’m asking for a friend.
About the writer: You can read more of Seth’s musings over at sethgrotzke.com. His goal is to keep some “real” in the ultra scene and help provide a stabilizing influence for the world through sarcasm.