Sunday, January 5, 2014

Ultra Marathons Are Easy

That's right, ultras are easy. Trivial. Formulaic. Combine the right training and a dash of stubbornness, with an insouciant attitude towards suffering, and anyone can run an ultra. Hell, if a broken down 40 something dude with middling running abilities can finish an ultra (or TWO ultras within TWO months), absolutely anyone can.

You are nodding your head, screaming at your screen, politely disagreeing or totally confused at this point, but don't worry, I do have a point to make. For those of you nodding your heads - internet high five! For the screamers out there - settle down, it's only a blog. For those who politely disagree - I politely disagree with your disagreement. For the confused - read on.

Easy?!
Ok, perhaps "easy" isn't the right word. But in the grand scheme of the ultra marathon achievement, and in hindsight of my own ultra runs, it's close enough. Hindsight is the key here. I've "done" it, so I can tell you that all your doubts about achieving a distance milestone, be it a 5K, a half marathon, a full marathon, or an ultra marathon, should be laid aside. You CAN do it. The only difference between you and the zombie hoard of naysayers out there is your decision to actually get off your ass and do the training to achieve the goal. If this seems simple, it's really only because it IS simple.

There Is No Try
I know what you are thinking. There are a million different reasons (injury, disability, age, laziness, etc.) that would prevent an individual from running an ultra marathon. And you are correct. But I'm not writing to those people. I'm writing to the person who is reasonably healthy and actively running. The person that looks at the half marathoners, or marathoners with incredulity. The person who thinks ultra marathoners are super human, alien life forms. Yeah, you. If you've really ever considered, even for a split second, running an ultra marathon, but immediately dismissed it as some endorphin fueled brain fart, here's your virtual face slap (SMACK!). Now, sign up for that 50K, or 40 miler, or 50 miler, or even 100 miler. Put together a reasonable plan and get out there and become an ultra human.

6 comments:

  1. Ha! Did you write this post for me? Or my friends who think I'm nuts? [my running friends...b/c I learned the hard way...post about a marathon on your regular FB page and you get unending praise, "you are such an inspiration..." blah blah blah. Post about greater than marathon distance and you get radio silence, with echos (if you listen carefully) of concerned "gosh, what's going on with Steph?" I'm just a few weeks out from Uwharrie 40 and feel pretty good about it. I don't feel like I've been working that hard, but my mileage is probably enough. Unless I do something monumentally stupid (as Danny said, "it could happen"), I'll finish. The question is only, how much will it hurt? And, BTW...my only caveats to your advice are 1) not if you are injured, 2) I'd apply this only for the 30-40 mile range. I do think that anyone can run a 50K and that they are easier than marathons--just a different mind set. Thanks for the motivation today! [feeling a bit broken down after a very high mileage week!]

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    1. Unless you plan on doing some speed work up Dennis Mountain, you will do just fine, Steph! Just keep moving. Don't linger by the aid station fires. Grab your aid station goodies and eat them on the trail.

      The more I run the blurrier the line between a 5K and a 50 miler becomes. With good health, dedication, and the right training, any distance is possible. Will I succeed on the first try at a new distance? Absolutely not. Will I succeed if I persevere? Hell yeah! Are there caveats? Of course. But I'm not going in search of more reasons to fail.

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  2. Love this! I plan to come back and read this as I gear up for the Black Mountain Monster this spring.

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    1. Thanks, Fred! I was hoping it might be useful for all my friends running long this year (or in the future).

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  3. I agree, i tell everyone its all about the 10 feet in front of me. I don't size any race or long run bigger than the 10 feet in my view. If I can keep moving and do that 10 feet. I'm going to finish.

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    1. That's exactly how I ran Uwharrie, Bryan. Just thinking about the next few steps.

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