The Joker Was Here

The Blue Springs 50 50 Sequel
Last year this race just so happened to be the first ultramarathon I had ever run and now it just so happens to be the first race I have ever done twice. It is the Blue Springs 50 50 and features a half mara, full mara, a 50k, and the almighty 50 miler on a very flat and fine soft gravel bike trail called the Little Blue Trace. Since the October 31, 2010 outing, I have enjoyed 5 ultramarathons. I don’t know if I have trained any more, if you call it training, but overall I know my form and running strength have improved. Plus I had a good costume in mind for this year’s Halloween eve run.

Starting Early
My biggest issue with this years race was that the Halloween parties were the night before I had decided to be the Joker from Batman, and wanted to party. I also wanted to run this race in full uniform and start an hour earlier than the earliest start, which was 6am. I wanted 5. That way I could enjoy as many people as possible but most importantly, not have the race directors wait on me like last year. Consider it a repayment for their kindness. But in order for this to happen, I’d have to get up über early on top of even earlier to apply makeup. I ran the Northface Endurance Challenge 50k on 1 hour of sleep and some booz, but I didn’t want to do that this race because of the tests I wanted to try. No, my party would be at the race.

3am: wake up. Eat lots of bananas, eat green tea powder for caffeine test, per race dump. Check. Figure how to apply the Dark Knight Joker makeup. Had an hour. Check. Put on nurse uniform. Check.

Side note: I went to 5 different stores in search of a standard, old fashion, one piece white nurse outfit. They only had sexy nurse outfits. In fact, they only had sexy anything outfits for teen girls on up. It was quite the sexist survey. It actually bothered me. What about the girls whom didn’t want to be a sexy something? As my Grandad would say, “In Mexico they call that el tuffo. You know what they call it in Russia? Toughshashitski.” At last I called a nurse outfit surplus. I asked if they had said outfit. They did in a size 18. I asked if it would fit a guy of my build. They replied “a guy”? Oh yeah. I went, I tried it on in front of everyone just in case they wanted to laugh. And to add to the disbelieve, when leaving I said it was not for a Halloween party per say, it was for a 50 mile run.

4:15am: drive to race start. Check. Start by 5… well, of course when I pull up to the start, behind a Kohl’s, no one is there and I had a special need for the second time that morning. Suffice to say, I was glad to a Johnny WAS. But I also found a security vehicle seeing me pull up behind the store, get out and walk past some trees, wearing clown makeup and a nurse outfit at 5am.

Whilst in the Johnny, lights pulled up and shined in that dark room for way too long, doing its best to prevent relaxationness. As I waited for the guard to walk up and knock, he left. Woo hoo and as I exited, the race director appeared. Bonus! He took my start time and I was off!

The Tests
This race I did my standard chia seeds and fruit before the race but also straight green tea grounded to powder leaves. I’d always hear about caffeine on ultras and it’s effect, so I figured I’d try a bit. Ultimately it wasn’t really enough since I was only able to get to it 3 times total, including none in the last 18 miles where I hear caffeine can really help. I ate the usual: bananas, chia, water, and the occasional gatorade although I prefer not to have that ever. I still took no salt at all and I wore the Catamount Luna Sandal, which is a premium leather version of the Luna, only thinner. It was lovely. Only now do I realize this was the first full race I wore sandals in, let alone a 50 miler.


Zombie Nurse
I should point this out early as it inevidibly puts a hamper on my Joker story. People reacted very differently to the makeup and outfit. Some loved it. I would have loved seeing it. Others, especially non runners that day, gave me weird looks. Some kids were scared. Some still smiled but I probably recieved, including the Chiefs game the following night,  squeamish glances and bad energy more than 50% of the time. I was looked at as a ghoul and I felt it. Those whom did not know I was the Joker said they thought I was a zombie nurse. Go figure.

One gentleman said with the sandals I was dressed similar to the Tarahumara tribe, whom the Luna Sandals design were inspired by,  featured in the book Born to Run. I hadn’t thought of it until then, and in a sense, I guess he was right. I wonder what they might have thought if they saw me that day.

Friends and Surprises
The race was small and fun. My buddy Shawn dressed up Braveheart like, kilt and all but started about an hour after myself, so we didn’t get to run together. During the race I crossed Luke, a fellow barefoot and Luna Sandal wearer, running his first 50k, smiling as always. Another acquaintance I know from races, Muffie, was seen at some point and at the end, where she cartwheels the amount of Ultras she has done total. This being her 5th = 5 cartwheels at the end of 50 miles. Totally awesome.

The big surprise, though, was when my friend Jesse honked his car horn right at the beginning of my last leg of the race. I was about 10 feet from the last 18 miles and by chance he caught me as he pulled up, hopped out and was ready to run. I was pumped! He ran with the Joker about 6.5 miles before turning around, running back for a half mara and waiting for me at the end.

The Great Wipeout
With 1 mile left, the Joker had 1 bikers coming towards him, and 2 behind him. He then tripped over something, which turned out to be nothing! He tripped hard enough to fall over, rolling onto his back as he fell, laying there and laughing. The irony lies in the fact that in all of the running and trail running I have done, I have never wiped out in a race. I have tripped a few times, even falling over once or twice, catching myself on a tree or with my hands, but never wiping out. In fact, I have only by this point wiped out 1 time before ever during a run. So, not only did this finally happen here, but there wasn’t anything that I apparently tripped over. I can only imagine how hard I really was laughing, laying on the ground on my back, wearing a nurse dress with clown makeup on with 3 people making sure I was alright. Of course I was! I was at mile 49!

Do dogs See the Real You?
Following the race, I headed over to my parents to show them the costume as well as see if their dog, KC, would recognize me. When they opened the door, I didn’t speak and the dog acted no differently then normal, no hesitation, she was not scared of me nor did she seem to be able to see that I was any different. This might be saying something. Just an interesting side note I wanted to mention.

Chiefs and the 2 Girls
The following night, Halloween night, Chad as Bo Duke (Dukes of Hazzard) and the Joker went to the Kansas City Chiefs game. I was hesitant in wearing this same costume due to the seemingly weird energy I’d get from some people, so I added some Chiefs flair to the whole thing assuming it was possibly just my imagination. I was wrong. Within minutes of entering the stadium, a girl had bumped into another girl and was getting into it with her in the hall walk way. I said nothing, yet she kept yelling back towards the girl behind us and eventually started to aim it at me. She was drunk, but nonetheless, I had said nothing and still said nothing and continued to walk, as her boyfriend veered her towards non Joker territory.

Incident #2 happened near the end of the game. A mid 20’s girl sitting behind us had been looking at me very weirdly the entire game and it came to a head here. As I was conversing with her apparent boyfriend, she blurted something rude my way, and as I thought she was joking, I asked jokingly back if she was scared of my makeup. She replied meanly that she wasn’t scared and actually started to be aggressive in a fighting way towards me verbally. In telling me to turn around and continually adding insults, I replied ok and did, questioning what I could have done to offend her. I later found out that when her boyfriend was trying to get her to stop, she replied that since I showed up, all the crap started happening. See, an incident that had gone on the entire game that included an opposing team’s fan located 4 rows in front of us. He had been picking serious fights with at least 5 people throughout the game as well as just being rubbish, flipping off everyone behind him for the game’s entirety. I guess it started when the Joker got there. Now understand he was not innocent of the entire incident, as he would yell out remarks in humor, yet not offensive in any way. And it was very weird that the entire time this obnoxious fan would not look at the Joker even once, all the while facing his direction. Still, though I have heard the Joker is known for causing such trouble, nothing warranted the behavior of the girl behind.

To add a 3rd topping, the following day I received another unwarranted projection, this time on Facebook, where my profile picture was from the race in full Joker makeup. Did the picture have any influence in the incident? No one can know, but since it happened 3 times in a few days all whilst in full makeup, it may have.

In the end, the energy projected my way that night, including the strange looks received during those two days and the Facebook finale were enough for me to consider ever dressing up that way again. It was still fun, though. Almost as fun as when the Joker made an appearance when I was in 4th grade.

Following the race, my feet felt as if I hadn’t run at all. The Catamounts from Luna Sandals were marvelous. But for the Chiefs game, I wanted to complete the outfit by wearing the long black socks I find hilarious in the movie, and white shoes. I don’t own many shoes but I did have some white tennis shoes in my pile of clothes I was giving away. I figured I could do this for a few hours, no problem right? Wrong. I have not been in so much pain since I could remember. And the shoes were as loose as possible and untied. Not 2 years ago I would wear these same shoes for tennis every week and now with each step I felt pain from my toes and midfoot, to my achilles and knees. Running 50 miles for 10 hours in 3mm sandals didn’t hurt my feet. Standing for 3 hours in an inch in a half tennis shoes did.

Anyone interested in the Blue Springs 50 50, check out their website here. And for the write up on my first 50 miler, titled Ultranesssaucism, click here.

theStreetrunner Written by:

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