Ultramarathon: The Decision
written in April 2017
The decision to train for and run 50 miles came from a slump, honestly.
Last summer and all fall I trained my butt off for the November Two Cities Marathon in Fresno. (Note: Fresno heat is no joke and training for a marathon our first summer here was an adventure.) The Two Cities Marathon was my first terrible race. I made all of the rookie mistakes that they tell you not to make. It was my 7th marathon, I should have known better.
- I didn’t eat a good breakfast.
- I didn’t plan my outfit well.
- I started off too fast.
- I didn’t pack enough snacks.
- I ate Gu which I didn’t eat at all during training.
I cranked out the first 13 miles at a 7:52 pace which I didn’t even know my body was capable of. I was cruising. Then I just completely ran out of gas due to lack of a solid breakfast and poor on-the-run fueling. My vision started to go completely black and splotchy and I felt light-headed. That’s never happened before. I grabbed Gu packet from the next aid station because I knew it was probably my blood sugar making my vision go. The Gu helped my vision and also wrecked my stomach (which is why they tell you to never eat anything on race day that you didn’t eat during training…). #facepalm
I got moving again long enough to see Colin at mile 14. I cried a little (okay, a lot), handed him my extra jacket that I was carrying with me and my hydration pack, collected additional snacks and forged on. He ran for a few minutes alongside me and told me I could do this. I was only halfway.
I hardly remember the out and back stretch on Friant. Hills. Sun. Pain. Cramps. Nausea. I just kept thinking about how this would be my 7th full marathon but the first one that has just gone all wrong. We’re all allowed a bad race. I guess I have been lucky to get through 6 pretty smoothly until now.
I finished with blisters galore. Finish line beer earned. My dream of Boston never felt so far away.
Colin was there for me at the finish line and reminded me that even though it was rough I still finished another marathon. I hit up the beer tent and put the race behind me (or so I thought).
The next few weeks were spent recovering (a little) and focusing on the next big thing (a lot). I know that I didn’t give my body enough rest time before I started training for my next race: The Modesto Marathon in March. I jumped into a training plan that was more intense than the last because that was all I could think about: doing better than my November race and qualifying for Boston. Everything hurt in a way that I don’t usually hurt.
I was frustrated with myself. Tired all of the time. Achy. Cranky. My way of coping with the disappointment of my fall race was to overtrain for the next one. Bad move.
I felt like I was failing. It was my body telling me that I needed rest.
I deferred my March marathon registration to 2018 instead. I spent time reflecting on what my body and mind needed after November’s race. Another marathon so soon wasn’t it.
I needed a new goal and that’s where an ultramarathon came in. I spent a long time doing my research and decided on the LOVERS LEAP OF FAITH – STRAWBERRY on July 1. I am 4 weeks into training and I’m totally <insert every emotion you can think of here>. But hey, that’s what it’s all about, right? #allthefeelings
I run for a lot of reasons. Running shows me every day that I’m capable of more than I imagine. The rest of this year looks like this: Run my 50 mile race on July 1. Take a few weeks of yoga + recovery and then hit marathon training hard for the Two Cities in November.
After all, 26.2 will feel like breeze after 50, right?