Contemplating An Ultra – Why I Am Doing It

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Should a person run an ultramarathon before they run a standard marathon? Well, I think I’m going to put that to the test in April 2019 at the Tillamook Burn 50k. Am I a nervous wreck just thinking about it? Yes. But I’m also super enthusiastic.

I have zero frame of reference for how far 50 kilometers is. The furthest run I have done so far is 11 miles, unless you count the relays I have run that could add up closer to 13 miles in a day. Either way—that is nowhere near 31 miles. What am I thinking?

Many times I have thought about running a marathon, but running 26.2 miles on a road with so many other people has kept me from committing. I get nervous in large crowds, and my hips get temperamental when forced to do too many miles on pavement.

When I saw an ad for the Tillamook Burn 50k trail run I was full of excitement. It’s in my own backyard and it’s running through the forests for hours. What could be more fun?

The main worry I have right now is training for 26 weeks with a family. Will I be able to stick to the plan with an already busy schedule? I will be writing training articles throughout my experience, so you all can keep me accountable. Maybe I will finally earn my full runner-cred and lose a toenail—who knows!

My excitement has been so great I have been devouring books by ultra-runners:

  •       Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes
  •       Born to Run by Christopher McDougall
  •       Out There: A Story of Ultra Recovery by Dave Clark
  •       Running Man by Charlie Engle

And there are still so many on my to-read list. With each book comes more and more motivation and glee over this undertaking.

One of the coolest things about doing this race is I’ve roped one of my good friends into running it with me. She is one of the most supportive and strong people I know, so I’m sure she will keep me running. The best way for me to stay accountable to something is to have someone counting on me at the end.

On October 15th, I will pay $95 and fully commit to a 50k in April. It will be about 26 weeks from race day—the perfect amount of weeks for the training plan (Hal Higdon) I have already picked out. Now I just have to find someone to crew for me.

Wish me luck, and stay tuned for my ultra training updates.

Have you done an ultra? I’m eager for tips and hints to get me through training and race day.

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About Author

Liz Ward

Liz Ward is a running fanatic, avid reader, and amateur farmer. She lives on the Oregon Coast with her husband, three kids, and a small herd of animals.

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