Guess I've rambled on about this before, but I'm amazed at the mental barrier that exists at 26.2 miles!
True . . . a marathon is hard . . . really hard. For many folks a marathon is the ultimate running challenge. I definitely remember my first marathon. I trained for 16 weeks. Hard. Dealt with injuries. But still started the race with doubts about my ability to finish the full 26.2 miles. When I got a spot near the finish line where I KNEW I would finish, I started crying! Yea . . . I know . . . but I did! It was the hardest damn thing I had every done . . . by far! I didn't have another 50 yards of running in me. At least that's what I thought.
I did quite a few more and each time when I got to the finish I WAS DONE! Nothing left in the tank.
But then I joined the Mangum Track Club thanks to an invitation by Cam Kelley. After the 15 mile "shirt run" required to join the club, we all stood around and talked . . . mainly about running. Soon it became clear I was probably the ONLY person there that had ONLY run a marathon. One really neat lady, Marie Lewis, had just finished a 100 mile run, and most everyone was talking about one 50 miler vs another.
This started me thinking about distances longer than 26.2 miles. So that spring I tried my first ultramarathon . . . a 50k event called the Capon Valley 50k. It about killed me but I did it! And it wasn't the distance, it was the hills / mountains! I've done several since and I now think I understand!!
It's not the distance! No . . . It's how far you PLAN on running that really matters. If you start out thinking your going to run a 10k, its hard to keep going and do 10 miles. Get your mind set on a 1/2 marathon and a marathon is impossible. If you start out to run a marathon, any further it just too far. BUT, if you start out thinking I'm running 31 miles, its no big deal when you pass the marathon point . . . you know you still got 5+ miles to got and you are ready for it.
Basically, it's all in your mind once you pass a minimum fitness level.
I'm getting ready to test this "theory" when I try to run 50 miles for the first time. Stay tuned and see if my theory proves true. In the mean time . . . if you are a marathoner . . . try a 50k!
Godiva President's Column for March
1 month ago