Ken and I went to see Unbreakable last night in Boulder.
The movie is about the 2010 Western States 100 miler – a race that had four male leaders, all vying for first place. I won’t tell you the ending because this blog is not called Shut Up + Spoil (although it could be Shut Up + Soil) . I was so inspired by the end of the show I almost ran the 12 miles home to Longmont in my jeans and dressy boots. Seriously, I KNOW an ultra is in my future. I have been having a love affair with trail running lately, and this movie was the lighter fluid on my smoldering fire!
On a side note, there is nothing like being in a theater full of hard core runners in Boulder. Everyone is dressed in their best North Face clothing, eating their gluten free brownies and simply exuding so much healthfulness, it’s overwhelming. I don’t think there was a BMI over 20 in that room.
Here is me with one of the stars of the movie, Anton Krupicka. He is tall. Anton lives and trains in Boulder. Of the four competitors, all of whom had fascinating stories, I found Anton the most compelling.
Here’s what I love about this dude besides his shirt and hairy chest. He keeps it simple, and had absolutely no pretention. He runs just in minimalist shoes and shorts. No shirt, no problem. In one scene of the movie, Anton is cutting the heel off of his shoe to get less of a drop. He doesn’t carry water or food when he trains, commenting that when he does races and eats 2-3 gels an hour, it “seems like cheating.” Not eating/drinking is a way he prepares his body for racing.
This guy literally runs out his front door in Boulder and goes vertical. Up and down mountains, all day. It’s not unusual for him to run 200-250 miles per week when he's not at the University of Colorado studying geography and physics. Did I mention he ran his first marathon when he was 12? I don’t think he’s cut his hair since. If you want more info on his crazy training, see Anton’s blog HERE.
He’s what Jesus would might look like if he was a trail runner.
This movie, while about a competition, was about something more. It takes running off the roads and into the naturally challenging landscape of the peaks and rivers. To me, it represented running in its organic form – not many bells and whistles, just the runner, the path and some healthy competition.
While there were many components to this movie, here is how it affected me: It made me want to simplify. In this day and age of Garmins, intervals, fancy running gear and Sports Beans, it’s easy to get caught up in the extras. While there is nothing wrong with these elements, when they begin to detract from the pure simplicity of the run, we’ve lost the point.
I’ve seen mostly every running movie out there and I’ve appreciated each one for its specific emphasis. Spirit of the Marathon will forever hold a place in my heart because it was the first running movie I watched, and I saw it two days before running my first marathon in 2009. I bawled like a baby. To me, a good movie is one that removes you from the theater and takes you to a different time and place in your head. It compels you to see and think about things differently.
There was a Q & A at the end and I desperately wanted to ask how they handle crapping while running 100 miles. I didn’t.
At the end of the night, I realized I was proud of myself for wearing my new jeans and forgetting to take off the tag. Ultra runners like that sort of thing.
What’s the best running movie you’ve seen and why? I would say this one and Spirit of the Marathon. I also liked Grease. Oh, wait. Wrong genre.
Do you ever run “naked,” i.e, with out Garmin, music, etc? I do run without music sometimes, but never without my Garmin. I am going to make an effort to do one run a week without it. It is kind of like email, if you have your inbox right before you, you will check it. If it is not with you, you let it go and are more present.