Many of you know that I’ve wanted to run an ultra marathon since the day I found out they existed. Back in 2013 I set a big goal for myself: run a 50-miler before I turn 30.
When I set that goal the longest race I had ever run was the 5K, but I was envisioning a long-term plan like this:
- 2013 –
finish first half marathon
- 2014 –
finish first marathon
- 2015 – finish first 50K
- 2016 – finish first 50-miler
I could sign up for and complete a 50K this year. I’m sure I could drag myself to the finish line the same way I did last year in Portland for the marathon.
I may not have the leg speed of a champion, but I’ve got a decent amount of mental toughness. Plus I’m stubborn as hell, and if I start a race then I’m going to finish it. Those are actually the traits that make me think I’ll be a better ultra marathoner than a half marathoner or 5K’er.
The thing is I don’t want to drag myself to the finish line. My first ultra is going to be a really big deal. I’m looking forward to running a 50K, and I practically salivate when I think about running a 50-miler.
The way many of you feel about Shalane or Meb is how I feel about Jen Shelton or Anton.
For me, finishing a 50-miler is the holy grail. I want it the way other people want a BQ or an olympic trials qualifier. I want it bad and I’m not afraid to work for it.
In order to make my 50-mile dream really come true, I have to take care of unfinished business with the marathon first.
I’m proud to have finished the Portland Marathon last year, but I’m not satisfied with it. I need to run a strong race in Chicago this year to propel myself on to the next distance (and I’m going to do that).
Right now my plan is to run the Chicago Lakefront 50K in April of 2016. Part of the reason I want to run the Chicago Marathon this year is so I can scope out the 50K course.
I’ll turn 30 in August of 2016 which means if I want to run a 50-miler before I turn 30 I will need to get it in during the summer. I have no idea if that’s realistic or not. I think it will be impossible to know until after the 50K has happened.
I do know that after Portland I starting training again in earnest just one week later, which means if I use the 50K as a stepping stone to the 50-miler it could happen during the summer. It’s not out of the realm of possibility. I just have no idea how I’m going to feel mentally or physically at that point.
When I set the goal to run a 50-miler before I turn 30 I was naive. I had NO IDEA what running a marathon would be like. Heck, I didn’t know what running a half marathon would be like. I think I have a much more mature way of thinking about racing now.
Not only do I now understand what a beast the marathon is, but I have different goals and expectations for myself as a runner.
I would LOVE to finish a 50-miler before I turn 30. That’s still my goal. However, if it doesn’t happen in that time frame I won’t be upset.
Running a 50-miler is going to happen and when it does I want it to feel right even if it doesn’t exactly feel good.
What is your BIG pie in the sky running dream?