Ultras and Death-Not in That Order

I love having a new computer. It’s a blast starting it up each morning and watching it start to work within seconds. No more loading for 5 minutes before I can get to any workable page. Makes me happy.

Yesterday, I ran right by a dead body. No lie. OK, it was in a coffin, but still:

How bizarre is that? I was running through a beautiful, large cemetery and there at the back, lay this poor lonely soul with no one in attendance. That’s a little like parking your deceased Grandma beside the Coke machine in the hospital until someone has the time to wheel her on down to the morgue. It’s just all kinds of wrong. They were getting ready to bury the casket across the way, but no one was around. Why leave it in the cemetery road? Deeply strange. Also? Don’t you know the family paid a bazillion dollars for the cemetery plot and all? And this is what your money buys you? No thanks.

I had a great run yesterday, one of my all time favorites to date, dead bodies aside. It was a perfect day. Today, I’m doing a rest day, which I still resent, but am starting to get into. I get now, that the rebuilding of your muscles happens when you’re resting, so rest days are just as important as your running days. So I’m resting. I’m doing “resting” better now, much better. I’m kind of proud of that.

If people learn nothing from my experience with all of this weight loss jazz, I hope they can see how even if you swing one way and then wildly the other way, as I tend to do on a week by week basis, as long as you don’t quit, you’re all good. I’ve been through bouts of despising exercise, obsessing about exercise and learning to step away from exercise, all in the same year. That’s what growth is all about. Sampling, trying, screwing up and learning what to throw out and what to keep, no? Right now I’m in a grown-up, moderate phase. I think I get it.

That said, I’ve begun training for a really big race. I’m training for a 50K Trail run, time, date and place as yet to be determined.

You may remember me saying that 10 years ago when I was running madly, I was training for an Ultra Marathon. Well, I’ve decided to stop fighting my tremendous desire to go that way again and I’m simply starting the training. I’m not going to ask: “How could I ever do it?” “Will my body let me do a trail race that’s 31.07 miles long?” Not going to ask those questions. I know that I can go out and run and I know I love it, so I’m going to train to do a race in about 12 months. The training program I am working with has me in a pre-training program for 16 weeks and then the actual training program is 18 weeks. I’ll be repeating the 18 week period at least twice.

Why an Ultra? I started out with the idea to run the Albuquerque marathon next Apri,l but then I thought, road races? Really? The only thing I don’t like about road races is that they are ROAD races. They usually run through town and alongside traffic and they’re just not pretty. Ugly, in fact, often. That’s not how I like to run. If I’m going to run, I want it to be on trails, because oh, how I adore the trails. I just do.

So, I’m training for a 50K but am going to start looking around for ANY trail races, in any of the states we spend travel time in over the next year. I’m finding races that are 12K and 18K and up, totally doable races!

My longest trail race was a 7 miler I did in California, while my husband did the 12 mile portion of the same race. We ran alongside the ocean at points, through tall waving dried grasses and through the trees with the birds flying overhead. It was simply divine. I want more of that. If I’m training for a BIG distance, the smaller races will be easier for me and I’ll stay “race ready”. I feel like I’ve finally come home.

The thing about Ultra training and Ultra racing is that you don’t run, flat out, unless you’re the champion, I suppose. In general, when you train and when you race, you run 5 minutes/walk 1, or some other ratio that works for you, including run 1/ walk 1 if it gets really rough. You walk up the hill and run down the hill, saving energy for the long distance ahead. You sometimes start out running in the middle of the night and run into late the next day. Doesn’t that sound like a blast? It surely does to me.

You can choose from difficulty levels of 1-5 when you choose an ultra race: 1 being flat and level, 5 being mountainous and climby. I’ll looking for a level 1 50K right now, and am going to start scouring the internet this summer to see if I can find some shorter 12K’s out there.

Can I do it? I don’t know. But why the heck wouldn’t I try? That’s the great thing about training for something. You just begin. That’s all. Just start. Who knows if you can really DO a 5K or a 10K or a Marathon or an Ultra Marathon? Just begin. Maybe I’ll never run a 50K. Maybe I’ll run a 50 mile race. Who knows? But I do know that running that 7 mile trail race was 100 times funner than any 5k road race I’ve ever done. For me, it’s the difference between having dinner in a 4 star restaurant or a picnic outside under the stars. I’m a picnic type of gal.

One of the principles I learned in going through some life coaching training years ago, is that if you have something to achieve, couch it in the grandest of big pictures, IE: If you want to lose 100 pounds, don’t just make it be about the calorie counting, consider something mad and crazy like, losing 100 pounds and then taking yourself on a tour of middle schools across the country, talking about healthy eating and exercise and about what’s possible, to kids who might really need to hear your message. If you want to stay fit and you adore being outside in nature, begin training for a crazy long race and see what happens. You just might find yourself in the mission. I like waking up in the morning to knowing that I have big plans for myself. It excites me. It gives me a reason to eat well and to train and to REST. I like having that vision to orient me and delight me and I move forward.

This, by the way, is one of the wonderful things about getting old. I have TIME to do something nutty, like take a long run of 3-4 hours once a week. Not working anymore, it’s awesome.


About Fit Living Daily

I love healthy living! I've been married for 35 years and have 2 grown children, one in Albuquerque, NM and one in Washington state. We are currently living in Washington for my husband's job---until he FINALLY retires, but our house is in Albuquerque.
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2 Responses to Ultras and Death-Not in That Order

  1. Jennifer says:

    That sounds wonderful Katie! For you, not for me, ha ha! I’m envious of the TIME that you have now. Sometimes I feel like so many more of my personal goals would get accomplished if I didn’t have a three year old in the house or a 10 and 12 year old that wanted to be driven everywhere, etc. But, I’m trying to remember that this is my station in life right now and I just have to be a little more patient until the time when there is more “me” time. 🙂

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