Sunday, December 06, 2009

How Much is Too Much?

I remember 6 years ago, when I first started running, thinking a half marathon was nuts. An insurmountable distance. A friend of mine was training for one in Memphis, and I was in awe. I was in St. Louis and thought I could only run 3 miles. The first time I completed an entire lap around Forest Park (about 6 miles), I was exuberant. My fishpond had just expanded.

Then, I did my first half marathon. Me! 13.1 miles. All by myself. What an incredible feeling. I started doing sprint triathlons. I could wrap my head around the Olympic distance but that was it. Those people that did Ironmans? Nuts! Jump ahead to 2008, and there's Rachel, doing her first Ironman. Me! 140.6 miles. That's crazy!

After 2 Ironmans, the distance doesn't seem so crazy anymore. My threshold has been bumped up. My fishpond? Now, it's an ocean. Anything seems possible. So now, I'm thinking ultrarunning is in my future. I dream of doing 100 mile trail runs one day. When you do an Ironman, you get to see the sunrise, and then the sunset. After it gets dark, I feel rejuvenated. The stars come out, and the moon rises, and the Milky Way glows, and it's spectacular. But in a 100-mile run? You get to see the sunrise, then the sunset, and then the sunrise again the next morning. Now, the normal reaction would be to cringe and say, "Ugh!" But if you're like me, and you get chills and think to yourself, "That would be an incredible experience!", then ultrarunning may be in your future. My Moby Dick? The Great Western States.....one day, one day.

Meanwhile, David Horton, who set the world's fastest record for running the entire Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada in 60-some days (www.extremeultrarunning.com/dhhist.htm)? Now HE is crazy!

17 comments:

Jack said...

Diary of an amateur 100-miler has a nice ring to it, you can do it Rachel!

Diana said...

Isn't it nice to be able to get so excited over this stuff?! To keep bumping our lives up just one more notch. I can't wait to read about your first ultra run!
Reading your IM reports were awesome to say the least.
Good luck on your next endeavor!

Ordinarylife said...

Isn't it amazing how your views change. I remember when I was training for my first 10km race I had a discussion with a few girls that did ultra distance. They said a 10km was how it started for them. I just laughed and said I would never do more than that. They smiled knowingly... So now 2 Ironman races later I am also looking at doing an ultra. I want to do the Comrades Marathon (south Africa) in 2012....

good luck with your plans.

Rafael Pina Pereira said...

It happens the same to me. What seems impossible or crazy by now, turns to be normal and we are always dreaming running longer and longer !!

Regards
Rafael

Southern Cernock said...

I started 10 months ago. I was going to compete in my first half marathon in March but breaking my foot has delayed that, but only for a little. RIght now my goal is an ironman.

Laura said...

This was great to read. I am breaking out of my small comfort zone and am focusing on my longest distance yet for this running clinic which will be a 30km race in March. The distances are still scary right now....

Xavi Garcia said...

"Where is the limit?"...I am selling some bracelets...if you want one, I can send it to you...you are clear example of that sentence!

Good job!!

"XTB" Xavi from Hong Kong!

Wes said...

never say never :-)

teacherwoman said...

Aw, what a great post. Isn't it amazing how our perception of things change after we push ourselves a bit further! You go girl!

Marc Petrine said...

I'm with you on the sunrise, but just once I'd like to finish while the sun is up!

dsw126 said...

anothern great post...

On a side note I am looking at the Garmin 405 Forerunner wanted to get your input if you ever owned this watch or if you know anybody that does and how accurate they are? What do you recommend?

Thanks,
David

jennifer said...

Hi Rachel (lurker here). :) I say go for it! You seem to have the mindset for ultrarunning. I'm an ultrarunner, and have run over 100 miles 4 times now (including Western States), but I'm starting to get into tris due to a slow-healing foot injury. Anyway, you just need to have patience - something you've no doubt learned from IM. It's a pretty zen thing. And you're right - seeing that second sunrise is pretty darn amazing.

Take care,
jennifer

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Alisa said...

I can totally relate to this post. I thought 5 miles was so far when I first started doing 5ks. Then I did a half, then a couple of marathon, then a few sprint tri's and I'm all signed up for a half iron. To me, half iron still seems so far but I bet once I'm done I'll be looking for an IM!

Blood...Sweat....and IRON - My Triathlon Journey said...

Just getting started on my journey myself so this is really inspirational stuff!! Thanx for the post!!

Luke Bream said...

Our personal concepts of ultra change over time so much.

I bought a bike after doing no exercise for 15 years and ended up 3 months later riding the entire route of the Tour de France one day ahead of the professionals.

I came back from that trip and began training for ultra endurance events. They just seem to suck you in whatever distance you ride.

I end up thinking that maybe I could go just a little bit further!!

I now work with inexperienced cyclists helping them through the satges of Century Training to ride their first 100 miler and it is amzing how many then immedietly decide to start training for a longer distance.

I guess the endurance bug is hiding within us all !!!

Caroline said...

A 100-miler sounds literally, "ultimate"! Can't wait to live vicariously through your experiences :)