So how did I get here? My husband will confirm statements that I have made in the past about how I have no interest in doing an ultra, that “those people” are crazy, and why would you want to run all day anyway? That was my former opinion about ultras. This opinion was formed really knowing nothing about them or the training required to prepare for them.
I guess the progression to “here” (having just signed up for my first ultra) would begin with doing longer training runs for my last few marathons (Boston–April 2011, Space Coast–November 2011, and 5 Points of Life–February 2012). I had several long runs over 20 miles including a few of 26.2 miles during the past year. I enjoyed my training for these races and really enjoyed those long runs over 20 miles, especially the 26.2 mile ones!
So good training plus better hydration and fuel during the marathons, yet I still could not break that darn 3:30 barrier. What is up? I thought I would rock the 5 Points of Life Marathon because I had figured out I needed Gu and used it in training. I had done the hill training, the long runs, the GMP runs, tempo, speed, everything! And I tapered.
That is the beauty and the heartache of the marathon. You train for months and months and then when the big day arrives you can have a great race or you can walk away disappointed. I think because it is such a big physical and emotional build up, such a commitment and investment of time and energy that if it does not go perfectly, it can be such a let down. If you bomb this weekend’s 5K or 10K it’s no big deal. You can go out and do another one next week or the week after. But not with the marathon.
So with the disappointment from the last three marathons, I thought maybe I need to get away from the marathon for a while and stop obsessing about breaking 3:30 and do something else. But what? Maybe I would try my first ultra this year. Maybe a nice 50K or something. Then an opportunity, a race, presented itself and I could not pass it up…
It is a six person relay race (similar to Ragnar or Keys 100) where each person runs three legs of varying distances of 2-6 miles and they pass through relay exchange zones where they find their vans full of teammates and take turns covering the 50 miles. The course follows the path of the tornado that ripped through Western Massachusettson June 1, 2011. This event even benefits all the towns affected by the tornado, including my hometown of Monson, which was hit the hardest. I had to do this! But I knew there’s no way I could get five people plus a crew/driver to Massachusetts to do this thing with me. So I emailed the race director asking if I could run the whole thing myself.