In the last three years I’ve learned a lot about myself, my body, and what we’re all capable of. I’ve witnessed people achieve some amazing transformations, milestones and accomplishments, and I’ve had my own fair share as well. With each success I have, each wall I break down…I can’t help but want to see what’s next. What ELSE can be accomplished that was previously “impossible”?
I kind of threw this out there at the end of the year…but didn’t really get into it. This past November I decided to leap off the edge and see, once and for all, how deep the rabbit hole really goes. I decided to see just how far I can come from my starting point of 305 lbs. I decided 2016 is the year of the Ultramarathon.
Yeah…like I said, I more or less announced this in a post last December. I realize now, though, that I kind of just used the announcement as a means to make a point (and frankly, looking back, I sounded like an ass doing it). Maybe I was going for shock value…maybe I was drunk on coffee…who knows. Point is…I didn’t explain the whys and wherefores of what really is kind of a momentous thing. I most certainly did not do the thing justice, that’s for sure. I owe it to myself, those supporting me, and to the thing itself to explain what the hell this is all about…and why on God’s green Earth someone would choose to do it.
So…yes. My latest challenge…perhaps the final, top rung of the achievement ladder left to climb…I am delving into the world of the Ultramarathon.
Yes, I’m not making that word up. An Ultramarathon is a running event longer than marathon distance (26.2 miles). There are two kinds – either time-limit (as far as you can go in 6, 12, 24, 48 hours) or the traditional “distance goal” (50K, 50 Mile, 100K, 100 Mile). So…what have I chosen to do?
50 and 100. Yes, Miles.
Those are my two big goals this year. First I’m running the Pineland Farms Trail Festival 50 Miler on 5/29/16. After that…October 22nd to 23rd 2016…Ghost Train Rail Trail Race, where I’ve got 30 hours to achieve my goal of 100 miles. As my prize, I’ll bring home a big green cowbell (Pineland 50) and a rail spike (Ghost Train 100).
Am I, though? Earlier this month I had my last big training weekend – Saturday 4/30 I ran 18 miles. 12 hours later, on Sunday morning, I ran the Providence Marathon. I only slept 4.5 hours in between the two…and I finished Providence in a new personal best marathon time. In the two days after…aside from a slight twinge in my left shin (which we’ll talk about another day) I felt fine. Literally hopping up and down. That’s exactly the kind of shape I want and need to be in with a 50 mile race just weeks away. As insane as it might seem…I’m actually ready for this thing.
The initial decision itself…THAT was a leap. It didn’t happen all at once, either.
At first I registered for 50K. I was nervous. It was DEFINITELY a big deal for me. But once I got over the initial shock I realized…if I can do a marathon, I can do a 50K (so I felt better). And if I could do 50K, I could do 50 Mile (so I upgraded my registration). And if, at that point, I can finish a 50 Miler…well, just keep training and I’ll have the best shot possible at finishing my first 100 mile race. It’s all about the training and trusting the process.
That training, though, HAS been insane.
Those who follow this blog may have noticed…I haven’t written a whole lot lately. It wasn’t really on purpose…its more a result of my free time being completely consumed by training for this latest undertaking. In case you haven’t figured it out on your own yet…training for an ultramarathon means one thing…
You run. All the time. Forever.
Honestly though, I feel like all I do is run. I’ll spend a good 10+ hours a week running (half of that on the weekend alone). I have to get up at the crack of dawn to get it done so I either get to work on time (weekday) or don’t blow half my day running (weekend). The downside is obvious…but on the bright side?
I can go run 10 miles without even thinking about it.
My body has reached a point where I could nap through a 5 miler. That intense weekend of Providence Marathon? I was fully recovered in just a couple days. It’s incredible to stop and think about how much I’ve improved my fitness…and sometimes I still marvel at the fact that I really am an athlete. I’m training for a thing that such a small percentage of the population even considers doing…even knows exists. I’m not the fastest guy out there…but when you’re taking on 50 and 100 miles…simply finishing is an accomplishment.
That is why I choose to do this.
Because I can. And years ago, as far as I or anyone who knew me was concerned…it was impossible. Now that I know what I know and have achieved what I have achieved…I want to see just how far I can climb. With my friends and family behind me, and with the support of awesome sponsors like Cape Cod Nutrition Corner, I know…
This Is My Time.
I’m gonna get that cowbell. And damn it all…I’m coming for that rail spike. And if I can…anyone can. Go get it – I’ll see you at the finish.