Thursday, October 18, 2012

Extreme is the new normal

Once again, sorry for my formatting problems.  I blog so infrequently now, I didn't realize my settings needed updating.

So one day last week I was driving to the airport.  I saw a car with a bumper sticker saying "Extreme" something and there were a few other stickers showing what this person did.  Nothing appeared to be extreme, but it was hard to tell.

When I arrived at the airport, I saw some kid on the C terminal tram wearing a "Tough Mudder" head band.  He was dressed casual.  Collared shirt, decent pants, but an ugly orange head band.  It was comical.

Now, for the record, I am fine with the "Tough Mudder".  Proceeds go to the Wounded Warrior Foundation.  Can't say anything bad about that.  I just find it amusing that this dude was so proud of competing in it, that he was wearing it when it clashed his outfit.... and he had no chance of sweating (unless he was worried about his flight).

In pop culture, "Extreme" is used for tv shows such as Extreme Makeover, Extreme Couponing, Etc..

In politics, people who don't fit the classic 2 party system are labeled "extreme".  I once saw Ralph Nader and Pat Buchanan sit together in an interview with Tim Russert (I think it was him, but it was many years ago).  Ralph was giving the Green Party pitch and Pat, the Independence Party.  Both were labeled extreme.  It was the most informative, best political interview I had seen in years.  They are diametrically opposed, politically, but they were great to listen to.  They knew what they believed in, held to those principals, and didn't apologize for it.  The masses dismissed them as "kooks" and "extreme".

There was a show in the last 2 years about people with weird addictions.  The only 2 I remember were a lady who ate dish washing detergent (or something like that... can't really remember) and a guy who ran ultras.

The funny part about the guy running ultras, it wasn't like he was doing something really that unusual.  The documented him running Javelina Jundred, which is tough in its own way, but considered a fast course.  I wouldn't consider someone who runs mid pack at Javelina, in plus 25 hours as "extreme".

Local Minnesotans, John Taylor and Daryl Saari, are setting the bar for Minnesota on what extreme might be.  I know John has run at least 8 100s THIS YEAR!, and has finished at least 40 100s in his career.  Daryl, first guy to finish the Gnarly Bandit series, has run so many so often, I can't even begin to tel you how many he has run.  They both have completed Arrowhead Winter Ultra.

The great thing about these 2, you would never know it if you met them at a social gathering.  They do not toot their own horn..... at all.

.......and I am not sure I would label them as extreme!  Maybe because I know them and understand where they are coming from.

But it is not cool to be normal.  It is not cool to be average.  It is not even cool to be a marathoner anymore.  Now, one has to be extreme to be cool.

Now we have these "extreme" races where you have to run obstacles, crawl through mud, etc., and run (like 10 or 12 miles).  It might be hard, it might be tough, but extreme?

I even ran into a woman last year who, when she heard I was a runner, had this conversation with me.
Woman - "My mom is a big time ultra marathoner"
Me - "Oh yeah, what is her name, I may know or know of her"
Woman - "her name is xxxxx"
Me - "hmmm never heard of her.  What races has she run"
Woman -
Me - "What ultra marathons has she run"
Woman - "She is an ultra marathoner.  She runs lots of marathons"
Me - "oh"
My buddy - "uh,.... yeah"

I guess we all have to be extreme to be accepted.

I am "A Guy Who Runs" for a reason.  I do what most people could do, if they just put their mind to it and had the discipline to follow through.

I am extremely normal.