Five years of bad ideas

Five Octobers ago I showed up at the starting line for the Des Plaines River Trail Races ready to run 50 miles. It was my first official ultramarathon, and also the beginning of a long series of bad ideas that are now for some reason recorded for all to see on a website called UltraSignup. I never asked anyone to keep track of my bad ideas.

Originally I had planned to make this one of those long and annoying “Things I’ve learned from ____ years of ultrarunning” blog posts, but then I remembered I haven’t learned anything and still don’t know what I’m doing, so I guess I’ll just […]

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How to drink your own piss: A Nolan’s 14 story

Summit shot on number 14. From left, some guy, Wade, and Walt. Photo credit: Some hiker on Massive.

Prologue

One morning in May I drank my own piss. One afternoon in June my dad died of cancer. Those two statements are loosely related. I don’t remember July or August, but earlier this month I finished Nolan’s 14, and I find myself unable to write about it without weaving in themes of piss and death. My father’s passing is still fresh on my mind, and like Nolan’s 14 it’s a surreal and difficult thing to experience and process. So I guess what I’m saying is — I wrote a story […]

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That was a bad idea

Nolan’s 14 was a learning experience for everyone involved. Everyone had a good time however, and is ready to try it again next year. – Fred Vance, Ultrarunning, November 1999

Approaching Nolan’s 14 I knew it would be difficult and to some extent crazy, but now having attempted it I can say that it’s also pretty funny, too, at least in a black comedy kind of way, like a standup show where the comic dies laughing at his own joke. Was I disappointed in myself for quitting after 10 peaks? Sure. Did I break down and cry on the Colorado Trail the morning after? Maybe. The point is, I can’t […]

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Sure, Nolan’s 14 sounds like a good idea

Along with several other men of uncertain mental state I will be attempting Nolan’s 14 this weekend. We start tomorrow, 9-2-16, at 5am. There’s a little weather on the radar, but when has weather ever been an issue in the mountains? We’ll be fine.

I’ve spent the past six weeks scouting the route and making plans for this very good idea. I really can’t think of any reason why I wouldn’t finish. I have sunscreen, a couple sandwiches, an umbrella, and plenty of high-quality cotton clothing to keep me warm. I also have a fine new RaidLight running pack donated by Rocky Mountain Ultra. (Thanks Adam!)

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