Sunday, June 30, 2013

Why Ultra?

I have  had a few good weeks of running and boy does it feel good to string them together.  It feels good to have running goals to work toward again.   I stepped back for a while when I needed to and now it feels fantastic stepping back into the run.

I ran 20 today and 16 yesterday. It has been a long time since I've run back to back longer runs and have felt so great.  

Yesterday I drove to Lebanon Hills to meet Maria for 16 miles. As we were making our way out of the parking lot, we saw Travis was putting on his shoes near his truck.  Hi Travis!  He told me he reads my blog. I haven't updated it in a long thought I would.

We waited for Travis to get ready and headed out on the trail. It was a beautiful morning. I have been out to Lebanon a few times now this year but just never pay attention to the trail. I allow Maria to lead the way. I need to pay attention. I for sure will  .. next time!

As we were closing out 10 with Travis I saw something up ahead on the road to the lot. A little dead something. We ran past and could smell the rot. Maria plugged her nose and went back to see what it was. A poor baby raccoon!  It looked like he was flooded right out of his nest. As we ran on we really smelled a stench. I suppose it was the rest of the brood? Sad. 

We ran Travis back into the lot, Maria and I headed out for another 3.5 before she had put in her mileage goal. After a nice visit in the lot I went on my own to run another 2.5 around Jensen Lake. I made sure the lake was always to my left and didn't get lost once :)

16 miles and I was feeling very very good. It was a beautiful morning. Thanks Maria and Travis!

Today I had 20 on the schedule. I felt well recovered this morning, no aches or pains. Now, last week I was real achy. I felt tired, my feet and legs ached. I had 600 miles on the latest pair of Inov-8s so this is probably partly why I felt so achy. I also haven't been real careful with recovery. I've been winging my shorter runs for a good year and had been winging the longer ones recently as well.  It is time I snap out of it and get serious.  

I have been watching the Hokas for a few years now. Some friends who are amazing at the 100 mile distance swear by these shoes. They state you can run right over rocks and roots. Superior 100, hello! I decided to give them a try and bit the bullet last week. I bought a pair of Hoka Stinson EVO.

Wow!  What a difference. Sure, they are brand spanking new so that is one reason they feel so fabulous. I've only worn them this week and can't believe my feet and knees are not tired or achy at all. AT ALL.  In addition to the new shoes I was diligent this week about nutrition. Gel every 3 miles, Ultragen every post run, stretching, soaking in ice, drinking plenty of water, electrolytes, the whole nine yards.

I went out and ran 20 on the trail and didn't feel fatigued until mile 16. Amazing. Really!  I couldn't believe it. I am feeling super excited. It's been a while. The mileage this week didn't wipe me out. After the 20  I cleaned house, buzzed to REI, grocery shopped..welcome back Running Julie!

I find myself very excited about Voyageur Marathon, Voyageur 50 and Superior Sawtooth 100.

A few days ago a friend asked on FaceBook 'why do you run ultras?' I'm asked this often and the reason changes for me, depending where I am in life. The reason I ultra now has changed from when I first began. It depends on the day that I am asked.  I received many messages about my reply and then questions about the journey I have taken. My response on FB was:

I find that I yearn for goals with solid deadlines such as a race date or a mileage goal. I like to be able to measure my progress in more than one way. Pace, distance, measure of health. The outcome must be challenging with self-discipline, nutrition and scheduling a priority.

My goal must stir a passion inside of me,  engulf me fully, 24 hours a day be on my mind. It must allow me to feel uncomfortable, to step from my comfort zone so that I will experience personal growth. It must include physical activity but provide an emotional challenge as well. It must bring me great joy and allow me to be in the moment.

That is what ultrarunning is for me, at the moment. I just really really am loving it.

It began with a single idea:  to lose weight and to stay sober.  It has morphed from there, as have I.


Londell said...

When you know the feeling from training and running an ultra, that is an easy answer. However, for those who have never had the pleasure, I am not sure there is anything I could say to make them understand.

Olga said...

Great answer.

Unknown said...

Nicely stated! I see that you live in my hometown of Big Lake! Not much for technical trails out there, but plenty of places to go.