If you're like me, Jan/Feb is the time to finalize your race schedule. Every year I get both excited and nervous just thinking about the races that I can improve on and the distances and terrain that will ultimately challenge me. Mitchell Naufell once said, "Set your goals high because what a person accomplishes is in proportion to what they attempt." That has been very true for my running the past couple of years and has propelled me to run faster and longer than I thought possible.
Ultrarunning Magazine published data showing the growth in popularity the sport has been gaining over the past many years. What I love about these stats is that they demonstrate how many of us are testing our own limits.
I'm not suggesting every runner go out and sign up for a 100 miler. If you've run a handful of marathons, try a 50K. If you've been successful at the 50M distance, try your luck at the 100K. Not all races are created equal. One can't compare the flat Elk Beaver 100K with a challenging Lost Soul 100K. Same can be said for Gord's Frozen Ass Fifty and the Knee Knacker 42. So, knowing your limits and general fitness when it comes to elevation, time on your feet, aid station distances, race day temperatures, month the race day falls in, general expectations and what you want to get out of the race are all super important.
Is 2014 going to be the year you raise the bar? If so how high? Is it a realistic goal? Are you setting yourself up for failure? All are important questions and need to be considered and discussed with fellow ultra runners during a run or over a beer. Feedback from others can be more helpful than weighing in on the answers on your own. I believe we all have a little defeatist devil in each of us that feeds on mediocrity, wanting us to stay in the nice and comfortable situation we are in. Some would say it's a survival or preservation method. Others might say it's just plain ol' not living. In discussion with fellow ultra runners you'll find that when they took their leap, the fear didn't match up with what really happened that day. Sure it was probably hard but anything worth doing is hard.
Anne Transon was quoted "It hurts up to a point and then it doesn't get any worse." In my opinion the 10K distance is the most painful of all distances. I think people think that a 100K run must hurt 10 times more than a 10K because you're grinding for 10 times the distance. This is simply not true. Everyone on their race day will expend their maximal effort not withstanding the distance they are running. So it's my belief a runner shouldn't be any more wiped after running a 50M than after a hard half marathon. The fear of the expected pain, knowing very well how tired you were after completing a 10K and multiplying that by 8 would make even the strongest runner quiver. If this were true, no one would sign up for these races but the evidence suggests otherwise. More people are extending their limits and after doing so, realize that the human potential is great…and if that is not bloody empowering, what is?!?
|Ultra distances completed in 2013, Ultrarunning Magazine|
All of this 'Go People Go' stuff has got me excited and motivated to go harder and run faster in 2014. It's my belief that putting it out there for the world to see is a positive when it comes to goal setting. So here goes….In September 2014 after completing all my other goals (Blackfoot 100K, Sinister 7, World 100K championships) I will try my hand at a 24 hour race and try to run well past the 200K mark!