I'm 83.47% Better at Ultra Running Than a Sea of White Hair and Velcro Shoes Lining Up for a 4 o'clock Dinner at IHOP

And when someone attempts to suck me into the grown up business of understanding percentages, I distract them by saying, “Hey… hey… hey! Wanna know what I can do? Wanna know what I can do? I can say my numbers all the way up to ten without messing up!”

And should someone come into my home and sit down in my lazy boy chair to talk about percentages and other equally grown up and wholly mind-numbing words, I will most likely spin around and around in front of Netflix until I get sick and throw up.

I feel this way because what do these percentages really mean to the non-elite, non-solid athletes? NOTHING, the numbers mean nothing. And this is good because I have a hard time understanding math anyway. All I know is things squared make my butt look big and pi is for throwing or eating or putting Ex-Lax in when you have grown tired of telling someone to get more exercise.

I'm thinking an online book complete with little anime people throughout its pages who serve to explain the percentages and rankings concept on the site would be helpful to the non-elites like me. That way, when stumped about who is older and faster and will kick our butts in a 50 miler, we can look at the little picture of the ultra runner on the side of the screen. If her eyes are popping out of her head and she's holding her hand over her mouth in shock, we'll know immediately something is expected to go terribly awry on race day when meeting these friendly speed demonic competitors and monkeys drinking Mountain Dew.


This can be like Ultrasignup Percentages for Dummies. Thank you, Jesus.

But here's the real reason I bring up these numbers and percentages: I do it because I'm wondering if there are people out there who care about these rankings and the percentage comparisons to other runners?

For example, after signing up for my first 12 hour ultra I was sent a few links from ultrasignup including registration info from the race director and finish predictions for the upcoming race. Upon reading Ultrasignup's percentage based predictions I was filled with both psychotic shock and an overwhelming need to weep uncontrollably. I felt myself entirely capable of pulling the legs off a spider. Of course, afterward I’d feel really bad about it and try to super glue them back on, but let’s face it. That spider would forever after crawl up water spouts with a limp.

Let's just say my hormonal imbalance was pushed into a Code Red situation.

I’ll explain.

Ultrasignup.com predicts me to finish 5th overall and 3rd woman in my age group.


Or do they?


 I really can't tell what this means because I also suffer from math impairment due to my Mother’s addiction to overly priced carnival apples when pregnant with me.

Despite being force-fed enough apples on a stick to make me sick in utero, even I can see these math based predictions can be skewed. But here's the big question: would you consider opting out of a race because you became slightly injured or not prepared or for other reasons won't run at your best just so that you can keep your ranking high?

I wonder if Ultrasignup snobs exist out there... Not 'snobs' in the self-proclaimed trophy wives and socialites with more money than God – Well, God before the price of oil dropped anyway. I mean are there actual people who care about their ranking on the website?

I am willing to bet that at least a little part of us is somewhat concerned with that ranking and how it might be impacted by a poor performance. But no worries about a DNF.

Any race an ultra runner DNF's, does not show up in the results on this website and subsequently, plays no role in figuring out a runner's rank percentage on it. Since learning of this, I finally dawned on me, why some of the speed demons out there would rather DNF a race then finish in a place lower than they expected as it would mess with their ranking.

So I know I shouldn't really worry about this whole ranking thing but I do look at registration lists for races I'm going to run and check out the profiles of those ranked high in the field. I look at those lists and try to decipher where I'm going to land at the finish. And generally I'm right unless I personally blanket Virginia with vomit while descending to the trailhead.


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