Sunday, January 23, 2011


I ran my first ultramarathon on Saturday, the so called "Pigtails 50K".  For cross training, I ran the Portland Marathon and Seattle Marathon this year.  A real runner, Mike Lynes, horse traded with me and I agreed to try an ultra.  In return, he agreed to do a bike race this year.  Mike, of course, won the 50K, beating the course record by 4 minutes.  Anyone who knows Mike will not be surprised that he held the course record from the previous year. 

The ultra crowd is cool.  Far fewer people are interested in running a distance greater than 26.2 miles.  Those who do show up have low resting heart rates, protruding cheek bones and carry their water with them.  The pace is slower.  I have no idea but maybe all ultras are on trails?  This one was.  It was a glorious day but muddy from Friday's rain.  The tempo was deliberate.  

I noticed that fellow runners seemed encouraging and not competitive.  The competition was with the body, not other runners.  

I ran just fine.  My body rebelled several times but I beat it into submission.  Hill after hill took it toll.  My calves cramped over and over.  Then the stomach complained. I forced it to take gu, blocks and even a brownie ever ten miles. I drank three full water bottles at ten miles each and finished the race dehydrated.  Just as the pain started to get the best of me, I looked up.  The sun was out.  The trail at the point was cut through the woods and light flickered all around me.  I have not seen the sun for awhile and I was happy to have it along.  The sun is a very good athlete.  It never talks too much on runs and I am always sad to see it go. 

It turned out that this was enough.  I commented to the forest that I thought it was glorious and trudged along in my trance.  26.2 miles came and went and I didn't care.  

When I got home, I found this video on youtube about ultramarathons.  These dudes are different than bike racers but I kinda dig 'em.  

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