I am totally stoked and completely thankful to have such a great opportunity to share my experiences and thoughts on ultrarunning with other individuals who are also slightly insane, irritatingly persistent, and somewhat sadomasochistic. Major thanks to Epic Ultras founder, Eric Steele, for not only this opportunity, but for inspiring and motivating me to be the most ass-kicking epic athlete I can be.
Just in case you are reading this blog because you misspelled “Epicurus” or “epidural” in your Google search bar and have NO background in running, an ultramarathon or “ultra” is any event where you cover a distance of more than a 26.2 mile marathon on foot, under your own power – no roller skates or pogo sticks allowed. Lots of times an ultra will take you up and down trails, through the dirt, bogging through mud, climbing rocks, tripping over roots, and even pounding some pavement. Blisters and blood are common, as it is a pretty tough thing for most humans to cover this kind of distance. You already know this, of course, that’s why you are here on EpicUltras.com.
One truth that I have learned is that almost ANYONE can run an ultra. Completing an ultra starts with the decision to complete an ultra. In less than two years, I went from running a 5k to finishing a 50 mile road race that started at midnight, in Oklahoma, in July. It was not because I am some kind of gnarly physical specimen of nutrition and athleticism. It is not because I have been running all my life. It is because I decided to. I decided that I wanted more of that elusive feeling of accomplishment that I got after crossing the finish the first time…I was like a crackhead trying to recapture the feeling of his first high. What I found out was that each time I added distance or difficulty it was amplifying that feeling of accomplishment, and, for me, this explains the addictive nature of ultrarunning. According to Wikipedia only about 70,000 people per year out of the nearly 7 billion people that make up the entire world’s population participate in ultras. I am more runner than math whiz, but if my calculations are correct that is 0.001%. Even if you toss out all the babies and those physically incapable of running (not literally of course), that is a pretty elite group. We are the .001%, and you can be too!
Do not let the fear of failure keep you from taking the next step. If you can run a 5K, you can run a 50K. It just takes the right level of desire, commitment, and crazy. It is in you…trust me. You wouldn’t be on EpicUltras.com if it wasn’t.
So if you are already a runner who has completed distances of full or even half marathon distance and want to become an ultrarunner here are the three steps you need to take.
1. Find an ultra that interests you. If you like hills, pick one with hills. If you like mud, pick a muddy one. The point is that there are all kinds of ultras available for all kinds of runners. Epic Ultras puts on events that reinforce and reward everything that it means to be an ultrarunner. In fact the Prairie Spirit 50 would be a perfect first 50 miler for a motivated individual ready to take the next step and plunge into a whirling sea of personal awesomeness.
2. Sign up. You will be more motivated. For me it’s like “putting my money where my mouth is.” Especially if you are broke as shit like me, then this capital outlay is a good motivator.
3. Train appropriately. There are no shortage of free plans and resources you can find online. Figure out what works for you through a series of trial and error, practice, blood, sweat and tears. Ask questions from those with experience. Make like Forrest and start running.
The hard part is now done. If you do these three things I have just discussed, race day will be a reaping of the rewards for your sacrifice and effort. But first, now that you have metaphorically grabbed your manhood (or womanhood) and registered for your first ultra – it is time to get ready. I will warn all of you burgeoning runners who make the leap to ultrarunning; get used to being called a lunatic. In my next post I am going to throw down some of my personal experience and sage advice about what you can do as a mere mortal to get your ass to the starting line, locked and loaded, and ready to propel yourself across the finish line into personal glory.
Until next time…Be Epic!
If you think I am totally full of bullshit, please let me know! Most importantly though, I would love to hear your own stories of badassery, along with any creative questions or constructive comments you may have. However, please remember that any whining, insults, rude remarks etc., will not be posted/responded to, as this has “no place” in Epic Ultra culture!