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10:09 p.m. - 2008-02-03
The Fat Ass
...The best-laid schemes o' mice an 'men
Gang aft agley,
An'lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,...
lines in “To a Mouse,” by Robert Burns

My plans didn't go according to Hoyle, but they did go. I'd hoped to knock about 10 minutes off my last time around Lake Mingo. It actually took me about 30 minutes LONGER. Let's begin at the beginning.

I'd been a little concerned about getting a little bit of snow Friday and slickening up the trail for Saturday's run. As the week went on the weather forecast changed. 1-2 inches, 3-5 inches, 6-8 inches and finally, stay off the roads unless you have to be out on them. Ultimately we got 7 inches in town. The forest preserve where the run was held appeared to get somewhere in the 9 to 10 inch range. I'd hoped that since this was not an actual timed event but rather a "for fun" club run, that it might be postponed til next weekend. I checked the club's website to see if they'd announced a postponement...nothing. Then I spotted an email from the Kennekuk Road Runners run director. Ahhhhh, yes! Here's where they tell us all to take a week off and they'll see us next Saturday. What I got was this:

Subject: FAT ASS
YES, of course the Fat Ass is a go – Marc, Deb and Kennekuk have invested a lot of time, work and money for the Fat Ass. All supplies are at the warm Hideaway House and Deb will be cooking her Hot Italian Sausage on Friday. Many of you have not paid for your shirt order -


There is nothing more fun than running, walking & sliding in the snow on a beautiful trail. The park will have the parking lot and road plowed – so, NO EXCUSES –


You bastards!!! At my age I'm past the point where I can be goaded into anything by being called a "weenie baby". Having said that, to make a long story short, I pulled into the parking lot at Kennekuk Cove about 8:30 am.
After signing in and meeting the organizer, I went and did a quick prep for the ordeal. As I stated earlier this was basically a fun run to help break up the winter. As a refresher, there were 5 categories of Ass to be obtained. The 'Fat Ass' for those achieving 4 laps around the 7.1 mile course. The 'Large Ass' for 3 trips around. 2 trips around earned you a 'Medium Ass'. A 'Small Ass' for thosemaking only 1 trip around. And 'No Ass at all' for the people who only showed up to party and eat.
I had my doubts as to weather I'd make one trip around in this snow, but... better a dead lion than a live coward. That's not really the way that saying goes but it's a lot more fun that the correct way.
I have no trail running shoes or boots that would even be reasonable to walk in for that kind of distance. I've got boots I shovel the driveway in but they wouldn't be worth a damn on a trail, for walking or running. So I did a little customization on my regular running shoes. I did a little heavier duct tape job than usual. I took care to cover all the mesh parts a couple times. I threw on the stableicers , duct taped the cuffs of my sweats to the tops of my shoes to seal out whatever chunks of crap I kicked up and headed out for some fun.
I started out with intentions to go ahead and run the whole thing in spite of the snow. After about the first half mile I'd kicked my self in the ankles a bunch of times just slipping in the footprints of those ahead of me and decided I'd run where possible and try and survive the rest of it. I probably only ran 30% of it. Where I walked, I tried to walk briskly. There were many people who were really just trying to stay upright and even walking briskly made it necessary to pass people. Passing in the fresh snow was actually easier than running on the path people had worn down. It also meant the snow was up to my calf and I was only wearing non-waterproof sweatpants. I tried to keep my strides in the deep stuff down to a minimum. The stabilicers helped when there was an occasional crossing of a plowed area and there was some ice or pavement to get ahold of underneath the snow. For the most part it was just too deep to really grip anything. I only did the 2 cheek mambo down a couple hills. In fact my only real soreness the day after comes from the beating my butt took on the falls.
Though I had a difficult time, there were some people out there who were actually able to maintain a little bit of a jog throughout the whole thing. Some even earned a 'FatAss". There always seems to be some 'extremer-than-thou' guy wearing shorts to these things. This is that guy!
Anyway it took me just a couple clicks under 2 hours to get through the 7.1 miles. I wasn't anywhere near the slowest. It was a real slog! Afterwards the beer, chili and Italian sausage were excellent. I should have just gone for the party but I had to prove I wasn't a weenie baby. It was an interesting experience. I'm not sure what I learned from it except that it's something I'd really rather not do again. Oh, and I've offically got a 'Small Ass'!



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