My First Ultra

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I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.  -Eric Liddell (Chariots of Fire)

Tomorrow March 10th at 6am, I make my attempt to become an ultra-distance runner. I can hardly believe it.  Running an ultra is something that for years I thought I would never want to do, and I often wondered why anyone would want to run for 50 miles or more. That all changed when I listened to the book “Born to Run” in 2010.  You may be familiar with this book that almost single handedly popularized barefoot running and ultras.  The challenge started to seem tempting.

My first Ironman Finish in 2007

Then in early 2011, we moved to Tennessee and a number of things came together which seemed to point to me in the direction of ultra-running.  One, I found myself running 2-3 times a day for no other reason than I had people who wanted to run with me.  Two, we met our friend Travis who was doing his first ultra, a 50 miler in Nashville which made it seem more attainable.  Three, the Land Between the Lakes Ultra was only an hour away, eliminating any travel concerns.  Finally, I ran the Huntsville full marathon in December where I had one of the best races of my life.  Not my fastest, but a strong effort and fun. This race finalized the decision and so here I am ready to give this ultra thing a try.

In my mind, this race is no different than most marathons. I go back and forth in my mind thinking, why did I think this was a good idea? Or, I’m not so sure I can do this very well.  I just keep coming back to this one thought: When you bite off more than you can chew, how do you handle it?  The answer, one bite at a time.

So now that I’ve signed up and paid (which makes this endeavor seem even crazier) to run 50 miles, how do I finish it?  The answer, one step at time.  Really that applies to everything in life.  It’s about the steps, the forward progress, the present moment.  This is why I love running so much because the lessons learned on the road correlate back to life.

Life becomes so much clearer when all you have is the sound of your feet hitting pavement or trail, the cadence of your breath and possibly a friend sharing the joy of running. So with the support of my family, friends and prayer, I will toe the starting line with confidence knowing I will finish my race.

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