Becoming Ultra

You might call me an ultra runner. I have run ultra marathons. But I consider myself just barely qualified for the designation. I probably never will run 100 miles. But as I have mentioned in the past, I fully intend to figure out how to reel 50 miles closer into my training envelope; so I can do them without total body destruction. I don\’t know if this is possible.

This weekend, starting with a 3 hour workout on Friday night, I ran 48.25 miles plus 2 hours of cross training. I spent 12.25 hours total. I did do some suspended crunches and planks and v-ups on the TRX also. I\’m hoping to increase the time cross training next weekend.

Today\’s run was on the levy. It was flat and windswept, so I ran on frozen gravel. Out and back 4 times. Just me and the geese. No other people. No turkeys. No deer. No cars.

As I was running I thought: in the entire world, there are very few actual ultra runners. There are very few women ultra runners. I happen to be one of them. Most people think I should stop pretending I\’m an athlete, and treat my career as the most important thing in my life. Or, stop running as much and do something more productive for society.

If it is not your thing, I can\’t really explain why spending most of the day on Saturday and Sunday running is a good or desirable activity. If it was hiking in beautiful mountains, you might understand. But no, my scenery is very boring. I realized today that I am living in a different world: the ultra realm.  Its not just that I have no friends or family or responsibilities. It is inconceivable to most people that running all day is what I LIKE to do. I think my whole attitude about endurance is different because I\’m not aiming toward a goal race and I have no schedule. So I don\’t do speed work. I don\’t go by proscribed mileage. I just go as long as I can and have time for.

As I approached my 52 birthday, I decided that this year would not be the year I lay down and die. And suddenly I found that I can jog all day every day if I want.

It takes me over 2 hours of running to get to the ultra consciousness. When I get there, my body has no pains. I\’m jogging at a low impact pace which I can carry on for hours. Sometimes I am repeating a spiritual phrase. Sometimes I am empty minded. I sense that my thinking about myself an endurance is changing, growing, going deeper.

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