So I had a lot of time to consider this question today. I ran my first ultra marathon today – 51 miles, running time was 7 hours 58 minutes; total elapsed time was 8:58. The race was held in Lanesboro, PA and was on an old rail trail. I started at 6:48 am and it was a perfect 51 degrees, the day was actually just about as good as one could hope for. The race consisted of two out and back 25 mile segments. Out was uphill and coming back was supposedly downhill (never really felt it). Having never run for eight hours I did not know what to expect and I had also never done a long trail run (very different than running on the road). As a result I had to stay vigilant through the run so as not to be able to navigate, rocks (lots of them), roots, and obstacles.
It was definitely a long day, the culmination of a year of training in the spirit of THPL – I decided last year (the Dream) that I wanted to run an ultra marathon and from there I worked the Plan it, Practice it, Do it. And it all seemed to work out quite well. I am still smiling many hours later.
So the question is: Was the 50 the hardest race I have participated in? I did think about the question while on the course. And in spite of my quads screaming at me to stop the pounding I soldiered on and continued daydreamed about the question. I have no science to my answer. However, what I realized is that the races are all as similar as they are different. The bond is THPL - each race has a purpose, each has a defined goal (finish), and each has a plan and a proscription for succes. And so, I let my mind wandered, was it harder than Leadville? The Ironman? Ragnar? Riding 230 on the Max/Max day? And after much reflection I realized that there is no true point of comparison. It actually makes us miss the core reason we do any of these events. We use the events as a technique to keep us focused on goals and to bring THPL together in a mac book pro. To make sure that we stay on the journey.
The themes of THPL (dream it, plan it, practice it, do it) came alive today. And so it would be expected that we can rely on it and leverage it as we get connected to our next set of goals/objectives/dreams. Mission accomplished.
Loving Life because I am not still running