Sunday, September 25, 2016

North Face Endurance Challenge 50K...I'm Pretty Sure I Won (Part 1)

Wow, I haven't written a race report in a long time. I guess that's what happens when you just start running marathon after marathon...they all begin to blend together. That is actually why I decided to sign up for my first ultra marathon. I needed a challenge. The last marathon I ran was in Austin last February. I had a hectic winter, moving out from George's, house sitting for a month, going to Tahoe a bunch to find a home, and then 2 weeks in Brazil and 2 weeks in Austin. Needless to say I didn't have time to train. I was kind of worried...I'd done over 12 marathons but I'd always trained for them. I didn't know what was going to happen since I hadn't trained for this one. But being the stubborn bastard that I am, and also not wanting to waste the money I had spent on the race entry I decided to try it.

I thought the best strategy would be to run 1 minute, walk 1 minute, and I actually finished the race surprisingly fast for not having trained at all. That's when I came to the conclusion that I needed to do something more than a marathon. I had just realized I could run (well run/walk) a marathon with no training, and I needed something to push myself, to challenge myself.

I would say probably at least 70% of my friends are crazy triathletes who after they finished doing as many Ironmans as they could (2 to 5) all decided to switch to ultra marathons. They have now all run 50 miles, 62  miles, or 100 mile races. I had never jumped on that band wagon as I had never finished a marathon and thought "hey, I feel like running more." But now I was faced with a dilemma. I am the type of person who has to have something that they are striving towards. When I started doing triathlons and marathons in 2010 I realized this joy that I had never experienced before. The joy was the ability to pour my heart and soul into something that I could completely dedicate to myself. I almost wrote that sentence as "something that I could completely dedicate myself to" but besides being worried that I am not supposed to end a sentence with a preposition, I realized the real reason I loved triathlons and marathons and physically pushing myself beyond what I ever thought possible was that I was dedicating that time to myself.

I am a people person, as anyone who is going to take the time to read this probably knows. I enjoy being around people, I feel more energized after spending an evening sharing stories with a group of close friends. I am pretty much 100% extroverted (at least that is what the tells me). But I found that even I, a quintessential ESFJ, can like alone time. Running has become the time when I get to hang out with myself. I contemplate life, worry about poor decisions I've made, contemplate the poor decisions I plan on making in the future, think about the things I am missing in my life, and pray a lot that God will help me accept the life I have been given, help me be content, but also give me the strength and fire to make positive changes in this world. I also spend A LOT of time giving myself complements, telling myself I can keep going, and reminding myself of all the times in my life when even when things got difficult, I did not give up. You can't keep your body moving forward for 9 (the amount of time it takes me to run 50K) to 16 (the amount of time it takes me to do an Ironman) hours without loving yourself and supporting yourself, and being your own cheerleader. Well maybe negative criticism works with others, but not with me. In the last 7 years since I signed up for my first Olympic distance triathlon with Team in Training, I have come to truly love myself, and I know a lot of it has to do with my running time where I tell myself all the good things about me to help me keep going.

Anyway, this post was supposed to be my race report for my first ultra marathon, which I did yesterday...but I haven't even started that! Since I know I have a short attention span, and I am sure in today's world of sound bites, and 140 character tweets hardly anyone is even going to get this far. I'm going to be nice and start a different blog post in order to tell you about how I think I won my first ultra marathon. Thank you for your patience! It is coming soon.

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