Kind of odd to be speaking to the internet. I've been debating starting a blog for probably four or five months now, going back and fourth on the pros and cons. Pros: I get to write, share my musings, I like reading other people's race reports, and I have somewhere to put my thoughts. Cons: Everyone can see it, and I feel like I'm joining the bandwagon of blogging runners.
What really made me decide to click the mouse on this one was what happened yesterday. Yesterday I ran the 2nd annual 50s For Yo Momma (50k not mile). From last year's results, the field seemed slim and like It'd be a small local ultra (it was). With the race only two weekends after Promise Land 50k+ (more like 34.5 miler), I was a little wary of running another 31 miles. Recovery after PL was pretty rough. I'm quite sure that race was the hardest I've ever ran. I loved it: the almost 9000 ft of vert, the LUS community, driving to the race with VT ultra, the 5:30am start, the course. I ran a super-quick 5:12 and destroyed myself in a great kind of way. As for recovery, I don't think I ate enough the following two days after the race. I only ate a regular Chipotle chicken burrito for dinner then went to bed and didn't focus on eating protein on Sunday or Monday. Super sore. Anyway! That was an incredibly fun race but I was so toast I didn't feel like running at all in between that and 50sforyomomma. I felt like I had to run but I didn't want to run, you know? All about the learning experience (I didn't need to run). I listened to my body and scratched a 12 miler on the following Sunday and instead ran 5 really really fast miles which was odd. What was my body doing? I had read some stuff about how your endocrine system (hormones) are all messed up after you race really hard. I think that's true. Not to mention my body was so messed up from Terrapin Mtn 50k back in March paired with PL a month later and some decent miles inbetween.
So Friday before 50sfoyomomma and I didn't feel like running. I got a massage on Thursday which realllly helped my ITbands out and I was super thankful for that. I'll write a race report on the actual race here later. The point I'm getting at is.....drum rolllllll...thoughts and things I saw/heard after 50sforyomomma:
What's your motivation? Specifically I'm talking about running, but it applies to all. How'd you get into Ultras and why do you like it? Why do you keep coming back for more? Why do the guys (who I hope to be) that are 60 and still running crazy distances still do it? How do they do it? There are a million reasons to run, but running to be tough/cutthroat/to brag is not a reason to run.
I don't want to assume anything about this specific person I'm thinking of. I don't know anything about him really. He was actually pretty nice when I talked to him, but he got me thinking. He's a young dude around my age and a fast dude, but from my impressions he's running ultras for the wrong reasons. I heard him post-race brag about his PRs. How he's really fast and really young and up-and-coming. He's talking to this really nice fully tattooed 40 year old man that's massaging him for free. And the kid is talking about how he wasn't pleased with his day (although he blew the competition out of the water) and how he's won a million smaller races. I'm sitting beside him thinking, dude, just enjoy it. Who gives a fuck if you didn't reach your extremely lofty goal. (Am I allowed to cuss here?)
It might be that I'm slightly jealous of this dude living in Colorado and that he's super fast. But that doesn't really matter. I'm pretty sure I could go on and on and on about what rubbed me the wrong way but I won't. His demeanor was very "me" focused. (I acknowledge that running is selfish and so is blogging, perhaps a post on that later. Races should be about community though, not about the self)... I run trails because I like running trails. I like running trails alone and I like running trails with my friends and with strangers alike. I like talking about running and reading about running. I like the outdoors (a lot, if you know me). I like the elements and the challenges that are thrown at you while running up mountains, physically and mentally. Getting out of our comfort zones to push ourselves to be better people. (John Butler Trio chimes in my head, "life's not about what's better than")... After Promise Land where my good friend who I coaxed into running ultras got out of the race mentally and just lost it, I said, "You can't not have a good time if you try to smile the whole time. Just enjoy it." I hope after the summer he'll get the fire back in him to run another ultra. Immense potential. Seeing other people happy makes me happy. Shout out to Rachel Corrigan!
I didn't want to run a 50k this past Saturday, but after 5 miles of it I started loosening up and ran with a couple good dudes. I started smiling and enjoying it. Even though I told myself I wasn't going to race, I started pushing it and got to the low points where I walked and ate and said, "alright, lets do this." And it felt so epic. Of course it wasn't epic. Like Dakota Jones says, "it's just running people." But I conversed with about 5 new faces during/before/after the event, and they were all great, smiling people. That's the ultra community.
So that's my main point. Whatever you're doing, make sure you're smiling. Make sure you're doing it for the right reasons.
See you round the mountain :)
(Phrase stolen from Steve Mooney, the best English professor of all time!)