Friday, May 3, 2013

Why Run an Ultra?

When non runners find out I've run 50k and plan to do it again (and again-and maybe even further) they usually ask "Why?" with this expression of uncertainty-maybe they are trying to figure out of I've lost my marbles? I am usually caught of guard and fumble with a sane-sounding answer. Saying "it's fun" doesn't seem to make any sense to people since how can running for a full work day or more actually be fun? What I realized it that I should be explaining why I decided to try in the first place.
The social anthropologist in me tends to look at life in terms of societal levels-the bigger picture view so to speak-in North American society we live pretty cushy lives. We sleep in comfortable homes, with big tvs and computers to entertain us, ample food to keep us from starving or dehydrating, walk 20 steps to sit in a car that takes us from A to point B. Yeah, we don't really have much in our lives that really challenges us on a physical level any longer. Running Ultras gives me the chance to do something epic. How many people can say they've done something epic? To test my physical limits, go beyond what I think is possible and achieve something few other people manage to do makes an Ultra an epic adventure. You learn alot about yourself during an Ultra; make no mistake there are tons of ups and downs emotionally and physically. This is such a universal feeling that there is a common saying in Ultras "if you're feeling good, just wait a minute." The same goes if you're feeling bad, eat something or drink something and in a few minutes you'll feel better again. It truly is a roller coaster ride. Sure you're sore after the race and the days to follow but at some point a runner will realize the shear magnitude of what they have completed and let me tell you, it is an amazing feeling of pride, confidence, happiness, and personal satisfaction that can last for a few weeks if you're lucky.

Staying Positive: Key to Success

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