Every single race I have trained for has taught me something valuable about myself or it has helped me work through something major going on in my life. Now add a few more hours of training a week and things start to change up quite a bit. Call it hysteria, exhaustion or hunger but shit starts to get real when you are going out for a 35 mile training run on a Saturday and 26 on a Sunday (dont forget the miles earlier in the week). So without further delay, here is my list of things I learned while I trained and ran an Ultra.
1. As kids, we are always taught to use our imagination. As adults, we tend to stray away from that very simple thing because wellllll we have to be adults. Now become an adult ultramarathoner and you are now back to that awesome 5yr old mindset. There is only so much to think about during your runs, so I can honestly say I have been a backup dancer, the winner of American Idol, the winner of SYTYCD, a cage fighter, a movie star, ive been skydiving, ive won the lottery, I married Adam Levine and The Rock, I became a transcon runner, some poor bastard gave me my dream finish line proposal, ive told people things ive always wanted to say and I finally got that hammock on the beach on my own island. All that happened on my training runs, so one hour quickly became 5 hours. So stop being a adult sometimes and fall in love with the magic of a cool imagination.
2. If you gotta go potty do it now or you may not get another chance. Accidents do and will happen, so dont be "that" guy. Then again, shit happens...literally!
3. Sharing is important. Dont be the asshole hoarding all your water and snacks. Offer them to other runners so when you are out there dying, that same runner will be the one to stop and be sure you are okay when you are struggling. In case you are wondering, cold watermelon makes friends.
4.Watch out for traffic. People are assholes and dont care that you are out running. Pedestrians never have the right of way. So like momma taught you, look both ways.....if your neck is too stiff from holding your shoulders up high (you know what Im talking about), then be "that" guy and turn your whole body.
5. Warm cookies and milk are good for you....well warm , cold, old....you really dont care at this point. Eat like a child and be proud. You earned that large pizza and eat it like a savage. Pizza sauce all over your face...the end.
6. Napping rocks! Make up for the ones you didnt take as a child.
7. Play fair. Always congratulate all runners or highfive/thumbs up them when you pass them on your route.
8. Clean up your own mess. I think this goes with the potty section.
9. Kids stink and for the most part its acceptable. Running for hours on end makes stinking acceptable. Bring sanitizer for your hands though cause shoveling pizza in your mouth with dirty hands is poor form.
10. Have fun. Through the struggle find the silver lining and laugh, even if it is that you peed a little on that last mile. No one else has to know, but if you do tell your friends about it just know they are not gonna let you live it down. It will be next weeks bar convo. "Hey Addie, tell everyone about that time you peed yourself!" Secrets dont exist.
My first steps as a baby according to my parents was actually a run. At 5yrs old my dad took me to the NYC Marathon, but truth be told I had no idea why people were running down the street. All this was foreshadowing for what was to be a life of running almost 30 years later. "If opportunity doesnt knock...build a door."
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