Earlier this year I made a goal for myself that I was going to run my first ultramarathon by the time I turned thirty. You’re probably thinking two things.
- Who in their right mind would make a goal to run 31 or more miles willingly?
- You’re almost thirty..
To answer these questions.
- Maybe I’m not in my right mind, but who really is?
- No I’m not almost thirty. 🙂
For you to understand where this crazy idea came from I think its important to know the background information.
It all started in the beginning of 2011. I was a member of active.com advantage due to the registration of my son’s baseball season. I had been on the active.com website a handful of times before, perusing the different races as well as articles they had to offer for runners. I received an email one day that in 15 minutes they were going to give away a free race entry to the Carlsbad 5000 taking place on April 2nd. So I thought, what the heck, I’ll try it and I probably won’t get it. Nothing to lose, right? Fifteen minutes were up and I clicked that mouse as fast as I could. To my surprise I had won a free race entry to the race!
Let’s go back. In 2006 I started running. I began with the blocks around where I lived to lose extra baby weight and enjoy time to myself. I had a pair of running shoes and an iPod downloaded with a podcast running program narrated by Bas Rutten. After building confidence and ability to run 1 mile straight through, I moved on to 2, and then 3. After 3 miles I was pretty proud of myself. People that I knew didn’t do stuff like that and I stuck with it. After almost 3 1/2 years of running 2 or 3 miles at a time, and nothing more, I figured that was as far as I could go. My feet would hurt, and blister everyday at about this point, and I knew I couldn’t run further with daily problems like that. I made myself think that I was content with that distance and called it a day. The problem was that I needed new shoes. My shoes did not fit me the right way and I was just beating up my feet every time I ran. Once I finally found a pair of shoes that worked for me, my world of possibilities opened up.
Fast forward to 2011. When I got that free race entry to the Carlsbad 5000, I was still running but the consistency as well as the distances were not all the same. Some weeks I might have run 1 time, and others maybe 4 times. It wasn’t consistent and honestly I wasn’t quite sure how to prepare for a race. I ran when I had extra time. I figured I just had to keep working hard and do my best on race day.
The day of the race was hot and I was amazed at the amount of people there. My race strategy was to do my best and actually try to run faster than I did at home. I knew I could do well. I ran the entire course and finished strong in the end. I certainly did not come anywhere close to winning the race, but got a nice shiny medal that was handed out to the first two hundred and fifty finishers. YEA ! And then I got two free beers at the beer garten 🙂 DOUBLE YEA!!
So whats so important about this story? Well that day something happened to me. I was emotionally tied to this race without knowing it, and it makes sense. This was my very first race with other people. It was a huge event. And here I was just this girl wearing a green shirt and new balance shoes. I came in faster than I had than ever during my best runs at home. Was it the race jitters that did it to me? Was it the fact that I knew their was beer at the end? Was it because my family was watching? I don’t know what it was, but the feeling of accomplishment was so overwhelming I almost started crying as I crossed the line. I was proud of myself. I did something that doesn’t seem so big, but the fact that I did it all by myself was amazing.
Days following this race I couldn’t wait to do another and signed up to run America’s Finest City 2011. Not only did I feel proud of myself for running and finishing a race, but I also developed (or maybe it was there all along) a competitive side. In my training runs I pushed myself to beat my times, and I made time to run instead of relying on extra time. And next I was going to rock a half marathon!!
So how does this relate to my goal of running an ultra before I turn thirty? So after completing my first half marathon in August of that year, (2011) I had dreams of going big. Years previous I had no idea I was capable of running a half marathon. That was 10 miles longer than I ever thought I could do, but I finished 3 half marathons after than. This only proved to me that I am going to be what I push myself to be. Running an ultra is a huge far-fetched goal and I made it mine. I have never run a marathon and I’m making a jump from a half to a 50k. Who knows how I’m going to feel after I run a marathon. I may absolutely hate it and never do it again. But how am I going to get to my ultra without running that distance over again. I’m not. So I decided to skip the marathon and go straight for the ultra!! I would much rather spend my time and experience running that distance on trails than on roads anyway 🙂
On October 28th, 2012 I will be running in my first 50k at Lake Hodges Trail Fest. http://lakehodgestrailfest.com/. It is going to be phenomenal. And what’s great about it is that I am going to be completing my goal a whole year before its due date!! I’m not really crazy, and their are a ton of people out there in the running community who do stuff like this, and now I’m going to be one of them. 🙂