I made mention in my “About Me” page that I was an “Ultra Trail Runner” — what’s that mean? An “Ultra” is any distance longer than a marathon. A regular marathon is 26.2 miles – no small feat by any stretch of the imagination. Usually ultra-marathons are 50k’s, double marathons, 100k’s, and 100 milers. Yes, you read that correct – 100 milers. I entered my first 50k in January 2011. It was the “Winter Run for Regis”. I DNF’d at about 19 miles. It was 4 degrees out and I didn’t train properly. So, I ran this race again this year. Temps were much better still cold.
I purposely grew a beard, just for a photo op such as this, lol. So I finished this race, my first 50k in a time of 7hrs22min.
My second ultra this year was O24. This is a 24hr trail race put on by one of the running groups I am a member of – Outrun. This is the event in which I completed my first 100k. My only real goal for this race was to complete 50miles within 12 hours. The nice thing about ultras is, walking is perfectly acceptable and there usually is plenty of food at aid stations so breaks are necessary. My close friend BMO and I planned on doing as much of this together as we could.
I told him that at marathon distance (26.2miles) I was going to take a break. He convinced me that we should at least take a break at an ultra distance (50k / 31.1 miles). We made it to this point, felt pretty good and decided that at 40 miles we would break. The 40 mile mark came and I grabbed a PBJ sandwhich and looked at the standings. I was only a few minutes out of third place in my age group, so off I went. After another 10 miles I stopped again and was still just out of third. Another 10 miles, check back in and noticed that third had escaped me — damn that guy was fast! So I stopped at 60 miles (oh yeah – my goal, 50miles in 12 hours? I ended up doing it in 11hrs47min 🙂 ) So I sat around the fire with some great friends
and overheard someone talking about how 100k was their farthest distance, then to further explain that a 100k is 62.1miles. My ears perked up and I realized I had another 2+ miles I needed to run so I could complete at least a 100k. So I did – well… I walked almost the entire 2 miles but I don’t think I could have run it if I wanted to. My hands swelled so much so that I couldn’t even spin my ring, my toe nails were black and blue, and I was beat! I finished it, went home, got some sleep and decided to head out for a 20+ mile bike ride followed by gentle yoga the next morning. I try to do yoga at Harmony Studios after all my long runs — so relaxing and amazing.
At this point in my running, ultra distances are just part of training. Two weeks ago we ran a 36.x mile training run, and this weekend we are running a 40mile training run on Saturday, followed by a 20mile training run on Sunday.
I am really hoping to get some yoga in there some time this weekend as well.
All this is building up to my next race – the biggest race of my life, The Burning River 100 Miler. This is a 100 mile race following the Buckeye Trail, starting at Squire’s Castle in the Metropark’s North Chagrin Reservation in Willoughby and ending in Cuyahoga Falls (course overview).
Why do I run so much? Three reasons – because it gives me a chance to; 1 – get lost in myself and my thoughts. I’m either completely blank minded and the miles just pass without me knowing it, or it gives me a chance to put life into perspective, 2 – I’ve met some of the most wonderful people running. Runners typically are a tight knit group. Ultra runners though share a special bond..
And 3 – I like to eat and drink. Running burns a crazy amount of calories – allowing me to eat food and drink beer – all the food and beer I want 🙂