This year I was introduced to the sport of Ultra Running or Ultra Marathoning (not sure if it’s 1 word or 2; seen it both ways.) First, let me clarify that statement: I was introduced to the sport by reading about it, NOT by doing it. My idea of a long distance run is a 10k. Until this year, I didn’t know there were runs past a 26.2 Marathon. Ultra Running is anything beyond that amount i.e., 50 miles, 100 miles, 100k, etc. The terrain varies, but usually includes words like “severe,” “rugged” & “mountainous.”
Some of these races takes days to complete and the runners go without sleep or take sleep breaks at aid stations. No, can’t do that. I like to be in my bed to sleep and once I get sleepy, forget it. I’m not getting back up to keep running. Also, there must be all kind of porta-potty issues and other bodily concerns that I can’t even discuss. Just No.
I truly admire the mental and physical strength it takes to be an ultra runner and, possibly, if I had begun the sport at a younger age, maybe I would consider a race beyond the 10k. But I didn’t and I’m fine with where I am now, a lover of all things 5k.
Which leads me to my next little story…
I recently did a large race in downtown Atlanta, the Mercedes Benz 5k/Walk Like MADD. It was a fun course through the streets of downtown and ended on the field inside the stadium where the Atlanta Falcons play. There were about 5,000 participants and 6 waves. My husband and I were in the 5th wave, 13 minute mile (which was a stretch for me but I piggy backed on him:) There were lots of volunteers along the route cheering us on but my favorite, by far, was a gentleman with the Atlanta Track Club that was cheering “Your Race, Your Pace”…Your Race, Your Pace…Your Race, Your Pace!”
I appreciated that cheer very much, because that is the beauty of running. There are so many levels…short, long, really long, ultra unbelievably long…! It really is wonderful “Your Race, Your Pace” sport and I’m so glad I found it. I hope I keep learning and growing and maybe even tackle that 10k again!