Performer and ultra-marathoner, Tyler Knight!
While [performers] get 99.9% of the ink/black pixels, making porn takes a lot of elbow grease, and it’s not just the people on the box covers doing the work. Because it’s March (and because I figured it would be interesting), I asked some guys who work in porn what they do when the cameras stop rolling. March Men-ness, get it? Today brings us our final installment. Here’s one guy you may recognize (parts of), Tyler Knight, a 10-year-plus veteran who has starred in everything from Black in the Crack 2 to MILF Does A Brotha Good.
Dr. Chauntelle: Tyler Knight – it’s always so nice to speak with you… But for those who don’t know: who are you, and what’s your job?
Tyler Knight: My tax returns say that my profession is an entertainer. I’m a porn star. I have sex with women so that others may do so vicariously. I also have other more grown-up business interests that occupy my time, so porn will eventually be relegated to a hobby.
DrC: Tell me about running… Because you run A LOT!
TK: About two years ago I weighed 255 pounds and was showing signs of health issues related to the weight. I went to a discount store to buy a pair of running shoes, my first since high school and the Bush Administration… the first Bush. On the shelf, I found a lone shoe with individual pockets for toes instead of a closed toe box – Vibram Five Fingers. I googled it. Websites and blogs extolled the virtues of “barefoot” running and minimalism and, ostensibly, how this shoe would improve performance in ultramarathons…
What the hell is an “ultramarathon”? I asked myself.
According to Wikipedia: “An ultramarathon, also called ultra distance, is any sporting event involving running and walking longer than the traditional marathon length of 42.195 kilometers (26.219 miles)...”
That was the beginning.
DrC: So you just started running? Over 26 miles at a time?!
TK: No, it was a process. Within ten months of building up my running stamina around the neighborhood, starting from runs of only a few yards, I dropped body fat and was able to run thirty miles at a time. I signed up for my first organized race, a 50K (31-mile) ultra, which occurred on backcountry trails. I was hooked.
DrC: But running those kinds of distances – that has to be hard on your body?
TK: Ultras, more often than not, occur in the mountains. Runners who live and train at sea level find themselves at elevations of 14,000 feet, battling sleep deprivation-induced hallucinations, and 60-degree temperature swings, navigating wilderness courses while going hours at a time without seeing another human being. During one race, last year’s Hardrock 100, which occurred in the Colorado Rockies, a runner got struck by lightning cresting a peak (he finished 3rd) and another got smacked in the head with falling rocks, pulverizing bones in his face (he finished 6th). Many other runners also dealt with hypo and hyperthermia, depending on where they were on the course.
DrC: That sounds… Intense.
TK: There’s more… Hypoxia is commonplace. I had a bout of altitude sickness thirty-two miles into my last race, which left me with shaking hands, a nosebleed, and a sense of doom and apathy. When I was observed drifting aimlessly along the trail at night because, not only could I not find the course markings, I stopped caring, the medical staff ran me down, cut my wristband, and pulled me from the course.
When you run the equivalent of four back-to-back marathons, you discover that each 25-mile section is an order of magnitude more difficult than the 25 miles that preceded it. Issues a runner can gut out or ignore during a four-hour run – cramps, chaffing, blisters, diarrhea, whatever – may cascade and compound into large problems if ignored, and soon you find yourself playing a whack-a-mole game of crisis management.
All said, 100 miles isn’t four times harder than a marathon. It’s twenty times more difficult.
DrC: Tyler, you’ve basically just convinced me never to run an ultramarathon, but you just recently completed one out in the desert..?
TK: The most recent race I completed occurred in the desert just outside of Las Vegas. It was on a 1.75-mile trail loop, which I was tasked to run 58 laps in fewer than thirty hours. (Thirty hours is the typical cutoff time for 100-mile runs.)
This race was only at 2,400 feet of elevation, and my biggest concern the first few miles was not going out too fast and calorie management. Because you run in a constant caloric deficit, it’s vital to consume calories and water and pop salt pills on a scheduled basis. If you fall too far behind on nutrition, it is an extremely difficult hole to climb out of, physically and mentally. It can cost you your race.
All told though, after nearly shitting myself and having blistered skin sloughing off my feet, I finished in 29 hours and 15 minutes – DFL (dead fucking last in ultra parlance), crossing the finish line in piss-sodden shorts and a plushy ladybug hat I borrowed from some girl during the night to stave off the wind. The race director gave me my finisher’s belt buckle, and I wept. Then I laughed.
DrC: Wow. And you’re probably already planning your next race?
TK: Veteran ultra runners will tell you that a hundred miler is like living a lifetime in a day. All said, nineteen of people signed up for this most recent race, but only eleven finished. Riding back to my hotel, to a bed I never got to sleep in, I had to pull over to puke. Somewhere out in the desert I realized, I lost my phone.
And yes – I’m currently crafting an essay for entrance into a 200 mile ultra. 200 is the ne plus ultra of ultras.
You can see Tyler Knight in all kinds of fun porn parodies – 24 XXX, Captain America XXX, and Elvis XXX for example. And if you live in LA, you can likely also see him running from the Valley to Hollywood and back again, often in the middle of the night.
(pictured: Tyler Knight at the completion of his most recent ultra-marathon)
Reprinted from UPROXX/FilmDrunk (3/27/15)
And ICYMI, you can read all my work featured on UPROXX/FilmDrunk com right –> here
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