How to run for 4 hours (or pretty much do any endurance sport for an ungodly amount of time).

1. Make sure your crazy card is stamped. Very firmly. Right by the other stamps which say you sometimes do extreme things for fun and keep getting drawn back into endurance racing no matter how many times you try and make a hasty exit.

2. Lie to yourself about the intent of the day. Liberally. Be creative and use good verbiage. Instead of telling yourself you are going for a 4 hour training run in the cold rain, tell yourself you are going on an adventure up into the mists of the mountains. Just like Bilbo.

3. Pack gummi bears. Gummis make everything a little bit better.

4. Pretend the rain is really tears from angels who are overwhelmed as they celebrate your zest for life with every stride you take.

5. When reality creeps in, and you start to realize you are not Bilbo on a grand adventure but simply a cold sodden ass lost in the woods, don’t panic. Be prepared with a mental Plan B backup. Who needs hobbits when you’ve got Hogwarts? Pretend you are Harry Potter playing Quidditch in nasty conditions. The house cup is at stake. Ignore the fact you aren’t actually flying on a broomstick.

6. Count all the mushrooms you see in the woods. Just like in Super Mario Brothers. Go around telling people you got 8 one-ups today.

7. When your gummi bears have hardened, your hands are cold, and your feet are getting tired, be prepared to bring in the big guns. Journey. Madonna. The theme song to Gladiator since a little bit of rain and misery would not stop Maximus from doing anything.

8. Stay aware. When you start thinking you see movement in the woods, note you are probably either extremely fatigued so your mind is starting to make things up, or your whole theory about the existence of the fairy realm is indeed right.

9. Have a conversation with yourself about the merits of endurance racing. Tell yourself that signing up for marathons and ultrathons can constitute some miserable training moments and perhaps this should be your last one. Know that you probably won’t listen to yourself and accept with resignation your lot in life. Eat a hard gummi bear to cheer yourself up.

10. Meditate on the following mantra. Over and over and over as you dream about what is to come whenever this pretend hobbit, long, cold, leg aching, rainy, Friday morning, sham of an adventure is done.

Will run for french fries. Or cake. Either one really.

Happy trails campers.