Today in looking past your limits: a light hike and a new set of digital friends
Every athletic figure seems to have a nickname. It’s proving true in this ultrarunning community I’m getting to know.
Gary “Lazarus Lake” Cantrell.
Ethan “The Ginger Runner” Newberry.
On my latest motivating media find – a podcast called East Coast Trail & Ultra – the two showrunners, who are also part of the weird and wild ultrarunning community, are Ryan Ploeckelman and Sean “Run Bum” Blanton. Though Ryan doesn’t have that charismatic alt moniker, he does have the pro radio voice to carry the show, and along with Run Bum, the dry humor and funny stories to keep you listening.
Both of these dudes and their origin stories of getting into ultrarunning also carried me forward on my inaugural “run” of the new year. It was more like an even-paced pseudo-hike, but I felt like I was getting started on fitness again after neglecting my bike for a few months (I’m an occasional road biker, nothing tooo crazy). And what better way to begin than with episode zero of a podcast all about getting out there and pushing yourself to your ugliest limit. I learned Ryan was 200-some pounds and out of shape before he picked up ultrarunning in his early 30s, and that Run Bum, though a seasoned soccer guy, was once the embarrassing n00b who thought pacing yourself meant getting as far ahead of everyone as you can in the beginning… before hitting embarrassing burn out. They were relatable. That was totally me at some point, sort of. I mean, I’m no medal-winner. I certainly didn’t have all the perfect gear at some point. And I’m pretty much not an ultrarunner. I just want to be around those driven people who are silly and positive, and getting out there and setting goals and having fun.
So I felt good about just getting out there and being the best me I could. There wasn’t a lot of ugly limit-pushing today, but there was a brisk walk, some fairly steep inclines (that didn’t last too long), and some decent views of the overcast landscape.
Plus some happy little ducks.
That’s my favorite part of actually getting off the couch: encountering these cute little animals in their natural habitat just hanging out. I was never a big animal person, but as I get older I’m getting irritatingly softer. I’m that guy crying at Downey commercials and squealing when there’s a funny chipmunk. Welcome to the softer side of Sears.
My softer side was ready for this perfectly gray day to get out of the neighborhood and go explore the Coyote Hills in my nearby town. Especially since I’m that brand of pale who takes my rivalry with the sun seriously. Even when it’s 80 degrees and most people are reveling in their browning skin and exposed exercise sweat, I’m bundled in long sleeves and full spandex pant, marinating in my own juices (yuppp). Today’s light breeze, lack of sun and 55 degree weather meant I was totally breezy in my Patagonia rain jacket.
It was nice, and I had a good time. I ultimately went about 3 miles in about 1 hour and 17 minutes. I took it slow, and just had a nice time taking in my surroundings. It was also Monday morning, and only a few people were available to brave the dusky skies.
I think tomorrow or Wednesday I’m gonna try to do another round.
Here’s a few more photos. The land is pretty chill, like there’s Bob Ross happy little bushes here and there. Nothing nuts, no thorns or fallen trees. The gray skies made the settled landscape all the more lovely and serene.