Sunday, July 07, 2013

Ultra Running

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!

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