Thoughts are sneaky insidious things. Now thoughts by themselves are neither good nor bad, however they’re usually just the beginning. Thoughts lead to actions and those can be great and wonderful or dark and evil. Of course, there is a third alternative. Thoughts can also lead one off the well trod path and into the land of padded rooms. For those several people out there following this blog for a while, you can guess where this is going.
The thought originated with an article. . .
I recently subscribed to Ultrarunning Magazine so get updates from them periodically on new articles. They recently announced that they were going to award a FKT of the Year to the best male and female Fastest Known Times in 2016. I have never really cared much one way or another about FKTs. They are typically on these long trails (think AT or PCT), which I have no interest in doing. Also, the times people put up on these trails are about half what I could do if I went all out. So they’ve never really had much pull for me. But I’m mildly curious to know who they think had the best times last year so I clicked the link. At the bottom of the article is a link to a website that tracks all FKTs. I had some time to kill so clicked that link to see what information it had on this topic. The website is very well organized and I immediately checked to see what type of FKTs were in the Mid-Atlantic region. And right there towards the top was the Mason-Dixon Trail.
Now we’re getting somewhere. I had checked out this trail briefly a while back to do some hiking/running on since the east endpoint is only about 10-15 minutes from my house. I found the trail’s website, but never really got much further than that. Now I know that some guy ran the 195 mile trail in three and a half days back in 2008. Huh. I wondered how long it would take me to run it.
The thought percolated while I was running . . .
You might wonder what I think about while I’m out running for 3-5 hours on a Saturday morning. Well, recently I’ve been wondering if I could run 195 miles in one go. So I start doing some math – 195 miles at a 20 minute per mile pace is 65 hours. But I would have to rest sleep a little bit so 7 hours of sleep would give me a time of 72 hours. Maybe I could “run” a little faster than a 20 minute pace though I’d probably need more than 7 hours of sleep. And it just kind of goes on from there. These are all just numbers in the abstract and I have no way of knowing what I would be capable of since this type of adventure is way beyond anything I’ve done before.
Now we move on to logistics. I know what I’ll need to eat and drink, but I have no idea what is available along the trail. How much can I scrounge from stores/restaurants and how much would I need to bring with me? Are there places I could crash to catch some shuteye along the way or will I have to bed down in a field (and bring all that that entails)? And depending on the time of year, there’s a ton of gear/clothing options that I would need to consider. Heck, I don’t even know anything about the trail itself besides how long it is and approximately where it ends. Is it technical? How much is trail vs. roads vs. gravel? There’s just a lot about this undertaking that is totally beyond my current knowledge base and comfort zone.
So I had a thought . . .
Maybe I’ll buy the trail maps.