Running is such a glorious sport and even after many years I still feel like a student learning something new every day along my journey. But today, we are going to delve into ultra running a bit and discuss a few things no one really tells you before you start exploring distances beyond 26.2! So here it goes…
1. Ultrarunning is the ultimate test of your mental will. Honestly you can train your tail off but if you go into the race with even just a drop of insecurity, not completely sure that you are capable of finishing…well guess what? It’s very likely your race will result in a DNF. Believe in yourself and your abilities. Your stubbornness is what is going to get you to that 100 mile finish line. Believe it.
2. You will learn what your stomach can and cannot handle REALLY quickly. I learned during my 100 miler that I prefer more savory/salty foods than sweet. Pickles were my best friend. And so was sausage fresh off the grill. Yes, they made HOT food during that race and in the evening when it got cooler it was the best thing ever.
3. Hallucinations are really crazy/fun. You haven’t really done a race until you see trees floating in the distance.
4. A fresh pair of socks or a change of shoes mid race can truly be a game changer.
5. Sleep? What’s sleep? When you are racing against a clock in a 100 miler there is no time for such an activity.
6. You will meet some of the most amazing people you will ever meet in your life out on the trail. The trail and ultra community will truly treat you like family. Everyone is so down to earth, laid back…and they will help you get through those tough moments when you want to throw in the towel.
7. The longer the race, the more it will affect you emotionally. After running beyond 50 miles, being out there in the dark will just take a toll on you and really mess with you. You will fight whatever demons you deal with and even the most positive optimistic person will have those highs and lows.
8. But the highs and lows are what is the most amazing part of running these distances. You come out the other side a different person. And it makes you want to go back again and again. It’s kind of like a self discovery.
Any ultra runners out there? What are some things you wish you knew before you started running beyond 26.2?