As the old candy bar jingle goes so does my persona as an ultra runner. When talking amongst other ultra runners I\u2019m quite normal, perhaps slightly on the \u201cwuss\u201d side. Sub-marathon runners consider me to be a little over the top as they wait for me to come to my senses and return to \u201cnormal\u201d distance running. And to non-runners I\u2019m as lunatic fringe as you can get.\r\n\r\nThis disparity hit home a couple weeks ago when I was helping my wife get ready for the start of her 12-hour race at the Black Mountain Monster. As all of the ultra freaks\/runners congregated prior to the start, I heard them asking one another whether they were doing \u201cjust\u201d the 12-hour race or the \u201cfull\u201d 24 hours. Just 12 hours of running, really? I\u2019ve heard this comparison before, especially at the Mount Mitchell Challenge where the Black Mountain Marathon, which takes place alongside the 40-miler, is considered the \u201cfun run\u201d. Nowhere but in the ultra world would a marathon distance be considered a fun run.\r\n\r\nThe fact that distances are so relative from one runner to the next was never more apparent than last weekend. I hung around for one of Anne\u2019s twenty-two 5k laps then I went home and did yard work. Then I went to a beer festival. Then I had dinner and chilled out at home for a couple hours. Then I made my way back to watch her last few 5k laps. That is quite a long day for any runner. Upon returning I still overheard more banter from ultra runners about how running the shorter distance of 12 hours was perfect training for upcoming longer distances!\r\n\r\nI\u2019m quite used to the differences in how my running is viewed by others. Some get it and some do not. For those who don\u2019t understand, I don\u2019t feel like I owe any explanation, nor could I put it into words if I tried. I usually spend more time pleading my case for rest to other ultra runners who are always asking, what event is next? This usually coincides with some epic run for me that I have just completed.\r\n\r\nSpeaking of which, a couple of weeks ago I finished the 65 mile Pitchell Challenge for the second time. My crew this time was a good friend who has never born witness to anything longer than a marathon. He was awesome help throughout my journey and was quite excited as he waited for me on the summit of Mt. Mitchell and eagerly described my accomplishment to a group of tourists.\r\n\r\nLater he told me that my 65-mile run didn\u2019t seem to make any sense to those tourists. Apparently these folks thought that the hundred-yard hike from the parking lot to the tower was epic enough. I told my friend, welcome to my world -- I\u2019m an ultra nut.