I’ve been saying it since I read “Born to Run.” I kind of wanted to do an ultra. Then, I read Scott Jurek’s “Eat and Run” — and wanted to even more. But…then I change my mind. And then I change it back.
I happened to be browsing local races in coming months — looking for both marathons and ultramarathons — when I found a 50k scheduled for December 15th in Virginia Beach.
See, the thought of training for an ultra always sounded like…too much. But, this actually lines up perfectly with my fall marathons. When I looked at a 50k training plan, it has two 26-mile runs scheduled. Well, how gosh darn perfect is that? I can use my marathons as those!
Now, I know it’s not exactly the same as training because I will be running those marathons as a race and will certainly wear my legs out. However, the 50k will NOT be a race.
If I run a 50k, it will be all about going slow and steady and finishing — time does NOT matter to me as long as I finish without dying.
But of course, a couple of fears abound.
1. It’s December 15th — will I be freezing? You honestly never know! It’s VA Beach, so it will be warmer than DC but it could be icy snowy, raining or…sunny. If it happens to be like freezing rain or snow, I will not want to do it.
2. Will I regret it in the middle? The “middle” being mile 26 when I’ll probably be saying, “why did I ever think it was necessary to run more than a marathon?” Will I quit?
3. Will I get lost? It’s on a trail. Maggie is faster than me and it kind of freaks me out to think of running by myself. It’s not a super small race but people can get really spread out.
Those are the main three fears I have. I am fairly confident I could finish but I’m really worried about how miserable I will be. However, after reading Kristin Armstrong’s experience with her first ultra, I felt empowered. Because she was focused on “slow and steady,” she came out of it wonderfully. I think that could be the case for me as well.
If I sign up, I must commit. I spend a lot of money on races — and sometimes I sign up too quickly and end up losing money (ex. Chicago Marathon.). I also need to make sure Maggie is committed because I am certainly not going alone! I would feel bad dragging Rick to another race after he watches me at Marine Corps and goes to Philly with me. I’m sure he won’t want to endure another marathon but…maybe he would.
Lastly, I always have the grand example of Jeff Grabosky, who I interviewed about his book, “Running with God Across America.” He ran up to 50-60 miles per DAY for months across the country focused entirely on praying for thousands of people. Enduring 31 miles one day doesn’t sound all that bad compared to his amazing experience.