Of course, I can't brag about my heat-training at all this week as the bad-ass Badwater runners will be showing everyone how it's done starting Monday morning out in Death Valley. They'll have 120 degree highs each day with nary a cloud in the sky. ...and in case you haven't noticed, there isn't a whole lot of shade along the 135 miles of road out there in the desert! Jamie D. is lining up to try and run her winning streak to 3 consecutive years, Tony P. is headed back for a second time (and in great shape!) looking to chop a bunch of time off his PR, and U.S. teammate Phil McCarthy should be fighting for the top spot all day as he returns a little wiser in this, his second running of the race. Best of luck to all my friends running and crewing out there this year! If you're bored at work, everyone will be off and running at 10:00 a.m. PST on Monday (it's a wave start with the fastest group of runners starting last at 10am), and the webcast can be followed here!
All this talk about hot and sunny weather makes me think about my trusty old that I lost on the Mohican course a couple weeks ago. Sure, I have another hat...and I could probably find the exact same model of the one I lost online somewhere, but that beat-up old hat was on my head for every ultra I've ever run (when I didn't have a winter hat on, that is). Cue the emotional montage music as we take a trip down memory lane in honor of my hat!
Probably the best quality of this hat was its ability to let air flow up under the brim onto your head if you twisted it just a little to one side or the other. It wasn't an intentional design trait, but after running 20,000 miles or so with it on, I learned a few tricks!
This shot from Bull Run in 2009 shows how I wore the hat most of the time on hot days: pulled up on top for added ventilation.
The hat also served to help people figure out "which one" I was during the Viaduct 100 last year when coincidentally Greg Geerdes and I wore the same outfit!
...and of course it was there for a few triumphs, like when I finished the 142 mile Horse-Shoe trail...
...The fact that you can't see my face here means it was doing its job!!
There were less-than-fun times too, like the 98 degree (with 90% humidity!) Old Dominion 100 in 2008. Can you see my hat saving me from heat stroke out there?
...it was also there for the not-fun time when I had to drop from the Massanutten 100 w/ a quad injury.
...and who could forget the super crazy hills of UltraCentric later that year...
Not a fun time at all, but just under that hat my brain was learning a whole lot about how to run a 24 hour race, and in the next one I wore it for 139+ miles!
...no matter the circumstances, that hat always kept me smiling out there!
Here's the last known photo of my hat at the starting line just before Mohican (shown in rare reverse position - photo curators take note!). I hope someone found it on the trail, washed it (many, many times over) and is now putting it to good use again! Long may you run, my hat friend!!