It had to happen sometime.

Every runner gets the question “when was your last marathon” or “what was your fastest marathon time.” I get this question too. Frequently. Now you want the answer right? Because I tossed it out there.

My last marathon was…never and this makes my fastest marathon time really super fast. Like faster than yours, considering I was at the finish line before you as I did the half. You know that ‘other’ race that is usually held at the same time. When I respond that I’ve never done a marathon I get the inevitable, “Oh, well when are you doing one?”

Never.

To this, I either get a really confused “Why not?” or a head-shaking “Oh, you’ll do one someday.”

No, really. I’ve never wanted to do a marathon. I’ve been to many many marathons now due to my half marathon participation. I’ve never had the urge/want/whatever to join in and do the full. I’ve never had the feeling that I’m missing out or that I’m less of a runner not doing the full. I run a lot. I participate in a lot of races. I’m not less of a runner by not doing marathons.

Here we get to what is happening. Where something had to happen. Where something DID happen. Runners all have a bit of a screw loose, they have to in order to keep getting out there continuing to sweat, breathe heavily, and sometimes injure their body parts.I’m no exception. I have multiple screws loose. Perhaps some bolts missing also, I don’t know.

Way back in May of 2012 when I ran the Down and Dirty 8k I started to question the whole road racing thing. I fell in love with the trail and wondered what I was doing. I had done so many 5K/10K/Halfs that I was getting bored and the 8K trail race was invigorating. Why weren’t there more trail races? Well, there were but they were all at distances that were beyond me…you know- the “ULTRA” distance. Ah, but the trail. It felt like I could go forever. Everything felt good.

I brought up the word Ultra for the first time that day to an ultra runner who happened to be running the 8k grilling her for her beginning, her strategy “the way.” I went home and scrapped plans of ever doing one. It sounded way out of my league. I mean apparently you had to eat a lot…and get leg muscles…and run far.  Call me lazy (true). For the next year I would keep working at maintaining an interest in running through road races at the 5K, 10K, and Half distances.

The Down and Dirty 8K came again this year and I of course showed up with bells and whistles. I went a little slower this year as my training had fallen to slim pickings for awhile. I still had an amazing time on the trail and once again my love for trail running was renewed. Once again I started looking for more. The shorter ones were on weeknights (class) and the others were…Ultras.

This last weekend I finally got another trail race in. The Harmon Farms 10 mile. In road races, I frequently battle negative thoughts and have to create a mantra like “three yellow chickens” in order to distract myself. On the trail, I’m flying over hills, rocks, past trees, trying not to fall. There are bugs and squirrels. If I’m going slow it doesn’t matter, if I’m going fast I can hear my breathing and I love it. It’s absolutely indescribable.

What happened after this last race? I decided that since I handled the challenge I had set for myself (to do a 10 mile trail race) that I would find a new challenge to keep the love of running alive. What type of challenge could I find? Duathlons were out…it turns out while I kick ass on a stationary bike, I’m a bit phobic when I get on a bike next to city traffic. I’m afraid of crashing and not being able to run! That also throws out triathlons. They don’t make just “Swim/Run” (bummer- somebody get on it!) so what’s left?

I know what you’re thinking! SHE’S GONNA DO A MARATHON- I KNEW IT!

Wrong.

I’m skipping that whole bag and heading straight for the ULTRA. My plan is to do the Yellowstone-Teton 50 Miler in October 2014.  This gives me a year to train under the expert guidance of a good friend- Dan as well as some other ultra running friends.

What’s up with that? Well, even thinking about doing this makes me excited about running. That’s the goal of a running challenge. Keep the excitement alive. The course for this race looks absolutely gorgeous- a bonus. I get the chance to run next to buffalo, who can turn that down? Really.

I may love it. I may hate it. I won’t know unless I try it.

You’ll now get to watch though as I figure out some things that I haven’t done before. Want to know what they are?

EAT before and during running. Yep. I’m a bad fueler. As I don’t currently run extremely long distances I’ve never had to worry too much about the whole fuel thing. That backfired on me at Ragnar (see that report for evidence) so I’ll have to get a handle on eating and running. Right now I run on “E” frequently just to avoid the stomach issues. Can’t do that I suppose if I’m going 50 miles. I’m ready for some schooling.

Uh, this one’s important. I have to figure out how to run past 15 miles. You read that right. I’ve run farther in split up stints in one day but my farthest stretch at one time is 15 miles. I actually attempted to go over that once and ended at 14.8 due to mental fatigue, not body fatigue. The reality? I get bored! I get bored at 10 miles. I’m wondering how you train for this without getting bored. How can I continue to love running …and not get bored. Remind myself of the goal? Vary my route? Run with friends? HELP.

I think that’s it for now. The two ultra friends I told were both “YOU CAN DO IT” supportive. Husband was “What?” and then “You can do it” supportive. I’m a go.

There are still race reports coming but now mixed in will be training too.

This post has been brought to you by one of my bent screws.

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