by Lewis Carlan in Stories, image by Frédéric de Villamil

Ultra Running Madness

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I was in a local bookstore recently and I was asked by a sales associate if I needed help finding anything. Curious, I asked him if they had any books on ultra running. His response was, “what is ultra running?” So I gladly explained what ultra running and ultra marathons are. He responded by saying – “why would anyone want to run a race longer than a standard marathon?” Honestly, I couldn’t give him an answer because I didn’t know!!!!

So it got me thinking, why does someone want to put their body through the agony of an ultra marathon? Why does someone want to battle super sized painful blisters, extreme muscle aches and pains, very possible dehydration and hallucinations, very possible extreme puking, loss of toe nails, great potential for injury, and the list goes on. Why would anyone want to do that to themselves? I think it comes down to two choices:

Passion or Insanity.

Okay, right away I am going to rule out insanity and go with passion. People fall in love with the idea of challenging themselves and the really passionate ones never seem satisfied. For example, many people love to swim, so much so that some even attempt to swim across large bodies of water such as the English Channel. Are they insane for attempting that? No, but they are passionate about it.

Look at Dean Karnazes; a man who never seems satisfied and keeps striving for bigger challenges. He ran 50 marathons in 50 days in 50 states! Currently, he is attempting to run across America! Is he insane? No, but extremely passionate and very inspiring!

I feel with the proper training ANYONE can run an ultra marathon. Ray Zahab said it best when he stated, “Running is 90% mental and the other 10% is mental”. If you think you can do it then you can do it. Plain and simple. Running a marathon is a huge challenge, running an ultra is an extreme challenge.

I have decided that I want to take on the extreme challenge. Yes, I couldn’t finish my 1st marathon race due to a calf injury that occurred during the attempt. And yes, I got down and depressed about it. And yes, I thought about whether or not I can do this running thing, and blah, blah, blah. Bottom line – I can be an ultra runner and I will be an ultra runner.

Mark my words. By the end of 2012 I expect to have 2 to 4 ultras under my belt.
Holy cow! Did I just type those last words? I must be INSANE!




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