Before every race I see and hear people worry about a number of things. And although I do have some ultra running experience I have to admit that I have worries of my own. Now, some people go a long way to find the perfect shoe. But they just don’t exist. So why bother. Other people struggle with keeping food down while running an ultra. Not I. The only thing that goes down well and stays down well during a race is the real stuff. So the answer is simple: just stick to the Legends Trails races where you get a decent plate of food at regular intervals. Then there’s people worrying about their training. But training plans never turn out exactly how they were meant to be. I’ve learned to compensate for that deficiency by perfecting my taper plan. I even hear people speaking about the weather. Like we’re ever going to change anything about that! Allright, producing a lot of CO2 to aid global warming is a nice try, but it goes a long way. No, staying warm in cold weather, dry when it’s wet and cool when it’s hot: no problem with my extensive Montane wardrobe (sorry, my sponsor makes me say these things). Some people worry about more important things, of course. Like having the right watch to record and transfer all possible data to strava. Or has the course the exact amount of distance and ascent that’s communicated by the organisation. Or do they have the coolest sunglasses. But I haven’t heard anyone speaking about more serious issues like my own.
It’s my hair that I’m worried about. Somehow I just can’t get it right! I have managed to fix my hair up right before a race once or twice. But as difficult as that is, the solution for keeping it right during the whole of an ulra race for the post race photograph is beyond me. It even keeps me from winning races! It’s not so much the lack of talent that prevents me. Nor is it the lack of hard work. No, it’s the anticipation of the humiliation that awaits me on top of the podium with my hair all messed up! And now this race, The Great Escape, is coming up. It’s as good as ruined for me even before it has started. All because of this issue. I am at my wits end. I’m with my hands in my hair (to distort a dutch and more appropriate proverb).
I’ve tried different approaches before. Going to the hairdresser at different time frames before a race. The week before, four weeks before. It makes no difference. I’ve tried using all sorts of hairstyling products. Nothing has worked for me so far. I’ve tried wearing a hat, but what if it’s too hot for a hat? Imagine what my hair would look like if I had to take it off! A cap? It just makes me look silly. I even accepted a sponsor hoping that the clothes might distract people from my hair! And although Montane’s sleeveless shirt makes even an ultrarunner look somewhat muscular, it just doesn’t compensate for defective hairstyling. The compensating tactics of some of the cooler trailrunners, i.e. growing a beard, wouldn’t work for me either. I’ve got little to offer in that respect. No, all the hair I’ve got is on top of my head. And I can assure you my friends, there is a lot of it too and it’s wild. And that’s precisely the core of my problem. How am I going to tame my hair? Or… might it just be the key?
Now that the start of The Great Escape is drawing near, there is no escaping the matter. I’ve given up the hope of finding a real solution. I have come up with one final proposition though. It’s my last resort. Why tame my hair. It can’t be done! But you see, the early start (we have to get on the bus at 2 AM for a 4 AM start) might just be the answer to my problem: I’ve settled on a just-out-of-bed-look! Isn’t that brilliant!? This way, no matter how my hair looks, I can always play cool and just say:’Yup, this is my just-out-of-bed-look dude’. Am I going to get away with this? Is my ultra vanity going to buy this? I just don’t know. I’m courageously heading into the great unknown! The great unknown that every ultra run is. But I know this much at least: if I go down, I will go down knowing I did the best I could. And isn’t that, my friends, what ultrarunning is all about?