I’ve committed to an ultra marathon. Less than six months from now, I will toe the line at the John Holmes 50K to run four loops through the Withlachoochee State Forest to complete 31 miles. I’ve run this distance before, so why does it seem so daunting?
I’ve Been Down This Road Before…
I’ve run 2 50K ultra marathons, 6 marathons (including qualifying for and running Boston), several 25K trail races, and I-Can’t-Even-Count-How-Many half marathons. I’ve been running roads and trails regularly for 10 years. So why does it feel like I’ve never run an ultra before?
My last 50K was in January of 2012. Since then, I have not run any distances over 16 miles. At the time, I wasn’t ready to commit to the long hours of training. I figured as long as I kept distances below 16 miles, I could pull off any race even if my training wasn’t always up to par. And that strategy has worked. I’ve been able to stay consistent with training, and motivated by several mid-distance races. I’ve raced some old favorites, and even traveled to new states for some destination races.
Why an Ultra Marathon?
But I wasn’t ready to hang up my ultra shoes forever. The pull of an ultra always stayed in the back of my mind. Why? For one, I just love being out on the trails. The training is enjoyable for me, and I like running new routes. Also, the challenge of an ultra is a great accomplishment. So much can go wrong (or right) during an ultra marathon, and it takes a lot of mental and physical strength to make it through. We become stronger through adversity.
So even though I have done this distance before (and this race course!), I have the doubts of a beginner. Will I be able to finish? What pace will I be capable of? What race nutrition strategy is best for me? What do I need in my gear bag? All of these (and more) are running through my head, and I will only overcome them on the trails.
Strength Through Adversity
But I look forward to overcoming my obstacles. I look forward to challenging my current physical capabilities. I look forward to pushing through the adversity. I’ve committed to the challenge. What challenges are you signing yourself up for?