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Epic Stupid Runs

Posted by on May 2, 2012 | 12 Comments

Today Jesse Scott and I are embarking on our first stupid run of 2012.  Over the last few years, we’ve developed a tradition of doing ill-advised runs with little preparation or direction.

There was the 68 mile out and back on the Kal-Haven trail in Southwest Michigan.

Then there was the 38 mile road run fueled by Little Debbie snacks and Slushies.

Oh, and we did a winter run on the North Country Trail with too little food and water and I lost a contact.

Of course, who can forget our winter run in Grand Haven, MI in the winter at 2 am and temps somewhere around 3° F.

We’re adding to the tradition with our best masterpiece yet: A run from Boulder, CO to Nederland, CO on unknown trails and a sketchy map. We’re also planning on a minimal approach- two water bottles each, a camera, and enough cash for lunch and beers in Nederland to fuel the run back to Boulder.  The run should be somewhere in the ballpark of 50-54 miles.  It’s not our longest, but it DOES present the best opportunity to test our problem-solving skills due to the relative danger (i.e.- survival skills that will prevent us from dying).

Why am I posting about this?

Because I HIGHLY recommend all of you plan these sort of runs occasionally.  The goal is simple- you’re testing your limits in a non-race setting.  That means you get to make the rules.  For us, that means a mid-race burger and beer break.  It’s all about priorities.  😉


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  1. .:Ash:.
    May 2, 2012

    I’m pretty sure that a certain someone in my life would tie me to the bedpost (and not in the good way) if I ever said I wanted to try something like this.

    Have fun and be careful, Jason!

    • Jason
      May 4, 2012

      Tying to the bedpost… you just gave me an idea for a new post, Ash. 😉

  2. Bare Lee
    May 2, 2012

    Reminds me of the time I bought a second-hand Peugeot bike in London, strapped my backpack to the back, and headed towards Africa. Two years and two bikes later, I made it home.

    • Sheel K
      May 2, 2012

      WOAH! Can you tell us more about this story with the space you have here?

      • Bare Lee
        May 3, 2012

        Sure Sheel. I set off traveling in 1985, or was it 1984? after two years of playing in a post-punk band in Mpls. I backpacked, hitched, rode buses, etc. through Latin America for two years, and then went to Japan to earn more traveling money, but got a cultural visa to study karate and ended up getting into that for three years. When I got my black belt and had saved up enough money in 1991, I left to spend a year traveling through Asia and then went to visit a friend in London who I had met in Japan. I told him I was heading towards Africa from there, but was getting bored of buses, boats, hitching, etc., and he told me his brother had cycled down to Morocco and suggested I try that. So I looked in Loot, and bought a 10-speed Peugeot. I had had no previous cycling experience, although by that time I was a pretty veteran overland traveler. By the time I hit the small mountains of Wales, my knees were getting sore. I needed more gears, plus I had the seat adjusted a bit low and forward. Some semi-pro cyclists I met helped correct that. In Dublin I bought a Raleigh ‘cross-trainer’ which is like a mountain bike but with thinner wheels. Once I got to West Africa, I had major problems keeping the wheels healthy. Once I got to the deserts of Namibia, I had problems keeping the dust out of the bearings. So when I got to Cape Town, I gave in, abandoned my low-tech ideology and got a proper mountain bike. I still have it. From there I cycled up the eastern side of Africa, up to Ethiopia. I was working on a way to get across Sudan, to Egypt, when my brother told me he was getting married in Venice. So I hopped a plane back to Europe, and then after the wedding, I started out again, this time heading north to the North Cape of Norway, and then back down again through Eastern Europe, the Middle East, finishing in southern Egypt. I left the section between there and where I had left off in Ethiopia incomplete as a poetic gesture, a way of not taking the whole thing too seriously. All totaled I cycled just under 24,000 miles.

        Traveling by bicycle is probably the best way to travel. You see and hear everything, are much more aware of geography and things like river systems and valleys, settlement patterns, etc., and end up going and staying places you would never see if you were on faster overland transportation. If I could do it all over again, I would’ve traveled by a bicycle from the very start, although some of the crowded roads of Asia would have been a bit harrowing.

        So anyway, it’s fun reading about Jason’s adventures and as well as his readers’. I get to keep living the adventurous life vicariously. Now I’m getting into BFR. It’s taking longer than expected to get the mileage up, but I know from my cycling experience it will come, I just have to be patient. Thanks for hearing my story, and apologies to Jason for taking up so much space.

  3. ramzev
    May 2, 2012

    Are you offering Stupid Run Certifications?

  4. Michael Helton
    May 2, 2012

    ESR’s are serious business. How about a guide on how to do them?

  5. Rob Y
    May 2, 2012

    This is my MO. Been taking this approach to training for my long ultra races for years and years. I don’t like to race often so instead I plan and do plenty of long, self supported training runs that are often ultra distance in length. It’s a great way to visit new areas, new trail systems etc… in a non-competitive way. Good luck and have fun!

  6. Nathan Matthews
    May 2, 2012

    I’ve done this a couple of times to a very limited degree. I take off running on a trail I don’t know – invariably loose the trail – end up having to climb up the side of a cliff to get back on the trail….

    Fun stuff!!!

  7. Fitz
    May 2, 2012

    Good luck, be safe, and you are absolutely right. And if you have never done it, you won’t understand why someone would ever subject themselves to this. It’s awesome!

  8. Kenneth
    May 2, 2012

    Sounds like a grand adventure. Have fun!

  9. Heather D
    May 2, 2012

    Uphill the whole way there, downhill the whole way back. Have fun and be careful! At least Boulder Falls is on the way if you need to cool off lol.