What is Ultra Running? The classic definition is anything longer than a marathon, 26.2 miles. At times I feel like an ultra runner training for a 50 miler. Other days I feel unqualified to wear the ultra runner badge. I began running three years ago to lose weight and get into shape, other than round. Actually you have to go back further than that to high school. I ran cross country and hate it, mainly in part to my pedestrian pace. Bringing up the back of the back was my forte. My first "race" was a 5k that I finished in some 35 odd minutes, last on my team. I opted for the golf team the next year, something that fit my pace a bit more.
Back to 2010 when I started to run for fitness, I ran the same 1.33 miles over and over again trying to better my time. Soon after feeling mastered at that distance I increased to 2 mile runs. The next logical step was to try my hand at a 5k. My first official 5k was the Race To Wrigley I finished in 29:02. The logical progression would be 5k, 10k, half, marathon, ultra? In each of the race distances I wanted to improve on my previous time. One winter on a whim A running buddy talked me into doing a 50k event. It is only 5 loops of a 10k course. Easy enough I thought, 8 hours and 17 minutes later beer and chili on a cold winters afternoon never tasted so good. After that I felt like I could label myself as an ultra runner. But every time I run 27 miles or more is that the only time one can truly call themselves an ultra runner?
In a few weeks I will be running 31 miles for a training run and hope to get good time on my feet but still better my last 50k time. After I run 50 miles will I want to better my time, or increase distance again? Who knows, maybe I will not want to ever run again. I like to push my body and see what it can do. I run for the high and to improve myself. I want to find a distance that my body cannot succeed at. I failed at my first marathon 20.8 miles and I was done. But I didn't let that stop me. The next year I came back and finished. I finished a 50k in the snow that seemed easier than 26.2. So this year I am on a quest to finish a 50 miler. Who knows what is next....till next run!