I’ve had some crazy thoughts running through my head lately, so I figure I might as well share them with all of you.
I’ve been toying with the idea of running an ultra marathon. For you non-runners out there, an ultra marathon is any distance longer than 26.2 miles. Most ultras (the ones considered “legit” in terms of bragging rights) are 50 or 100 miles.
Try to stay with me here.
Any normal person would be thinking, “Is she NUTS??” Yeah I know it’s crazy. But over the past few years as I’ve run each of my marathons, the little voice in the back of my head keeps getting louder and louder, saying: “Could you go farther?”
In some ways, it seems like the next logical step. I’ve run 6 marathons, never DNF’d (DNF = did not finish), and in my last two years of training I’ve greatly reduced my susceptibility to injury. I’m no doctor, but I attribute this to lots of cross training and choosing listening to my body over listening to a training plan. I love running long and I relish the feeling of pushing my body to the limit… part of me wonders if maybe I haven’t reached my limit just yet.
Another part of me feels guilty for wanting to do it… greedy, almost. I’ve been blessed with legs strong enough to carry me more than 26 miles without stopping… multiple times! Isn’t that enough?
I read this Runner’s World article, which provided great perspective as well as a 50 miler training plan:
“DO. NOT. BE. INTIMIDATED. If you have completed a marathon or two, you can–in 16 weeks–add an ultramarathon to your running resume. Really.”
Hmmm. Well, I’m going to be intimidated no matter what, but the other day I found a race that will allow me the opportunity to attempt an ultra without the opportunity to fail. It’s the 20in24 Ultra Marathon in Philadelphia. It’s in July every year, and it’s one of the few urban ultra marathons out there. You run loops around a designated portion of the Schuylkill River Trail, and here’s the beauty of this race: There’s no set distance! You run as many miles as you can in 24 hours! Special recognition is given to runners who reach 50 and 100.
Now there’s no way I could do this in 2012 because A.) I won’t be ready in time and B.) I’m in a wedding that weekend! But I think trying for 50 miles is a reasonable goal for 2013. It’s also a great “starter ultra” because it’s on a flat, clearly marked course. Many ultras are on trails in the wilderness, and I have very little trail experience.
So runners out there, any words of advice? Am I really nuts? Has anyone done 20in24? What do I need to do to prepare?
I’m pretty sure Papa Dish doesn’t read the blog, but if he did, I can just imagine him saying, “Just sit down and eat a donut already!” (Fat chance!)