You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘ultramarathon’ tag.

Back in January, a knee injury forced me to preemptively drop out of what would have been my first ultramarathon.

At the time, I didn’t write too much about it because I was crushed. I feared I may never realize my dream of running an ultra. Worse yet, I worried my doctor might tell me to quit running.

That’s why I’m happy to announce that I’ll be running an ultramarathon later this month in Colorado.

Well. Sorta’.

I’ll be pacing my buddy Ed Roberson for the final 10 miles of the San Juan Solstice 50 Mile Run, a grueling race featuring more than 12,000 feet of climbing that tops out at 13,334 feet.

Considering that my runs in Raleigh rarely reach higher than 480 feet, I will definitely be out of my element. Fortunately, those last 10 miles only have 2,000 feet of elevation gain and I won’t have to climb higher than 11,500 feet.

Then again, by the time Ed makes it to the 40-mile mark, he might be walking and talking gibberish. Therefore, there’s a good chance I might have to push him up a few hills. And if that’s nearly as tough as pulling a donkey up a Colorado hill, I could be in trouble.

I realize that this isn’t something just anyone can enter. But someday I will run an ultramarathon (that anyone can enter), and I see this as part of the journey towards that goal.

In these final weeks leading up to the race, I’ll be looking for any and all advice I can get on the topic of pacing ultra runners. If you’ve been a pacer or had a pacer, I would love to hear from you. Especially if you have practical and/or funny advice.

I’ve been living in a state of denial for the past two months.

Despite a nagging knee issue (notice how I still refuse to call it an injury), I’ve kept telling myself that I’ll be able to compete in the Uwharrie Mountain Run on Feb. 4. Even though it’s a 40-mile run. Even though it’s on a hilly trail. And even though I haven’t managed to complete a single run longer than 13 miles since November. None of that mattered, of course, because I’d simply gut it out on race day.

But it’s time to face the reality that I have no business running that distance through the woods in my current condition. Today, I finally e-mailed the race organizers to let them know that they should give my spot to a lucky person on their waiting list.

Sure, it hurts a little to finally admit it. But it’s also a relief. During the past year, I’ve fallen in love with running for its stress-relieving, worry-zapping powers. Recently, however, I haven’t been able to run more than 5 miles without stressing and worrying that my knee won’t be able to carry me 40 miles. Now, without that fear clouding my thoughts, I’m willing to bet that this 5-mile run I’m about to take will be a breeze.

Plus, I’m comforted by the fact that my dream of running an ultra isn’t dying. I’m just putting it on hold. A wise friend of mine recently told me about an injury he endured while training for an Ironman a few years ago. He had to stop running for a while, but he eventually healed up and ran a 50-mile race last summer. “The way I look at it,” he said, “is that an injury every now and then is the price of admission for doing cool stuff.”

I couldn’t agree with him more.

In the mean time, I should probably be on the lookout for more cool stuff with less impact on my knees. Pillow fighting, anyone?

This February, I’m taking a flying leap past my usual requirements of competing in offbeat, obscure, wacky, or just plain ridiculous contests.

Instead, I’m entering a race that’s just plain insane.

I’m running an ultramarathon.

The Uwharrie Mountain Run is a 40-mile trail run billed as “a true adventure that requires intense concentration.” That’s probably because the course promises treacherous hills, ample opportunities to fall down, the potential to easily get lost in the forest, and numerous stream crossings, which depending on the weather, could be freezing cold.

Of course, it could also be raining.

Or snowing.

Fortunately, I’ll probably be far too insane to care.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 38 other subscribers