My ultra mentality by Farra K.

With the Hardrock Hundred Lottery last Sunday and ultra season kicking off soon in the spring (and me shamelessly trying to soak up every bit of knowledge I can from our community because my first ultra is only two months away), this week and next we’ve been focusing a bit more on the ultra scene. Our guest blogger today is Farra K. otherwise known as Ultratrailchick. She’s not new to the blog, remember her stunning debut as the dailymiler of the week a while back? She’s the mastermind behind the dailymile gangster sign, and a wealth of information about running in general (not just ultras).

Below, Farra lets us in on her ultra mentality.

The first question I’m ever asked about running ultramarathons, is typically “How is that even possible?” The only answer I can ever come up with, is that you just keep moving forward and we are more capable of things than we really think if we want it bad enough. Things will happen. Everything will hurt at some point. You will want to stop. You might start asking yourself the big question, “why?” But in the end, you have to have the right mindset going into these things if you plan to finish.

I’ve run three 50 milers, to date, with one more this coming weekend. I think it’s the perfect distance for me. I can recover well, and it doesn’t set me back as far as a 100 miler. Though I have only run one 100 mile race so far and it really kicked my butt when I tried getting back into the swing of things. No doubt, it’s simply because it was my first. I just think back to my first marathon and how much that hurt. Everything is possible, it just takes time and patience. And patience is the key to ultrarunning.

Knowing that you will be out there for hours—10, 12, 27 hours of running—you have to remind yourself of this when it feels like the finish line is so far away. During a 100 miler, you will see the sun rise, you will see the sun set, and you will see it rise again—unless you are fast enough to beat it, which is the goal. It’s an insane feeling to be moving for that long. When people question how this is even possible—I have a very good example that I am able to give, personally. I was in labor with my son for 27 hours. I ran an ultra for over 27 hours. It’s much easier to run for that long than to give birth—and it hurts a hell of a lot less, too. In my particular case, I had an emergency c-section at the end and my anesthesia didn’t work. Yes, you read that correctly…it did not work. I felt every cut and slice, my body being jerked around on the table because he was stuck, I felt it all. I screamed and yelled in pure agony, and experienced the most pain in my life I ever want to remember. I would never wish it on my worst enemy. Long story short—I know what real pain is, and running ultramarathons are not painful. They will hurt, but it’s a good pain.

This may be what makes ultrarunning so appealing to me. Knowing what myself and others are capable of and being able to endure the high of the accomplishment that comes with it. Those buckles are so much more than just an award. They are reminders of what had to be done to accomplish the ultimate goal. You reflect back on all the training and the lost sleep to make it happen. In the end, it’s about finding out what you can endure.

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