If you remember reading my blog two years ago when I did my first marathon, you may recall that it was a horrible experience. I had put in months of solid training, done almost everything “right” and still somehow managed what I refer to as the worst race ever. Nothing went right on race day (especially the weather) and I told myself I would NEVER go through that again. Never. Ever. Ever. But somehow those words have come back to bite me.
For the last few years, I have volunteered at a local ultra event, The Pistol Ultra. Unlike most ultras, this race takes place on a greenway instead of mountain trails. In my time volunteering, I have worked registration, handed out medals, worked aid stations, and greeted finishers. I’ll be honest when I say that volunteering at an ultra gave me no inspiration to do one whatsoever. The runners were SO inspiring, but seeing the pain, dedication, and pure willpower that it took to be out there did not interest me at all. Especially for the ones who were doing ONE. HUNDRED. MILES. Holy cow, those people were awesome! Add in the fact that the race took place on a super cold December day, I definitely had no interest.
A few months ago, it was announced that the race would be moved to March and it just so happened that the date fell the Saturday after my school’s Spring Break. Perfect timing. I have been in a bit of a fitness rut lately. Of course I am loving my Orange Theory classes, have loved walking every week with my Momma, but I honestly just needed a goal to work toward. When I saw the date change, it jumped at me. Here I was, screaming from the rooftops that I would never do more than a half again and all of a sudden I was contemplating doing a 50k. What is wrong with me?
I talked to my Momma, husband, running bestie, and some other close friends about it, and they were super supportive and encouraging. So, I did what any normal person would do and signed up. My stomach knotted up the second I hit “submit registration” and I felt sick. BUT, this race is now on my calendar and is holding me accountable. It is terrifying and I’m trying to to think *too* hard about it because I don’t want to psych myself out, but I’m willing to work for it. People have asked why I’m doing an ultra and my answer is simple: to prove to myself that I can.
You may be wondering why I chose this specific race instead of just picking another big marathon. The biggest reason is the location of the race. It takes place less than 30 minutes from my house so I won’t have the added stress of traveling for a race. The race is also ran on a 3 loop lollipop course, meaning I pass by the “home base” area 6 different times during the race. This is crucial because I can have my family there to cheer me on, I can get refills on my drinks, I can use an INDOOR bathroom, take a rest if I need to, and do pretty much anything I need to do that I couldn’t do if I was on any other course. It is perfect. It is also on the local greenway so you are seeing people out there the entire time to keep you motivated and encouraged. Another key factor is time limit. Since the race is hosting a 100 mile option, all race participants have 30 hours to complete their respective race. This means that I literally have 30 hours to complete 31 miles. Surely I can do that! I really could not have chosen a better race for my first (and probably last) ultra.
Right now the plan is to walk the majority of the race. During training, I may implement a run/walk interval that I could sustain for the race, but I know that for the time being I am okay with walking most of the race. In the coming months I will be updating the blog with how training is going, what is working for me, and what it is like training for an ultra as a walker or a run/walker. Stay tuned!