The first ultra-experience, Jemez 50k 2010
January 2012 was a turning point. It was time to all-in, or continuing in that middle-area, of “OK” at lots of things, but “good” at none. I had just completed a 6-week strength training block in the studio, working up to a 40 pullup max, and 5×315 deadlift. This was great, but in the end I didn’t feel accomplished. I was now weighing a solid 165, but was that the goal? Train in the gym to be better in the gym? Was I another “crossfit guy”? Did that motivate me? The answer to that question was no. The gym is a modality, a tool to make you better at Sport. It is not Sport nor can it substitute for it. Thus, my energy turned toward my real passion… endurance. Specifically, competitive distance/ultra-running.
Endurance is a strong word. It says a lot. When a person has endurance, to me, they are tough, strong willed, dedicated individuals. See, you can’t fake endurance. Profound, lasting endurance is earned day in and day out. An endurance athlete has the ability to recover quickly, relentless pursuing the next goal or event. Training through fatigue, learning how to actively recover and envision a future of breaking through barriers.
It was at that point, when others had begun their new years “resolutions” that I decided to make 2012 the year I gave endurance my focus. Being a fairly impatient person, enough time had passed without giving this effort 100%.
Let me summarize happenings thus far. I’ve competed in 9 events with 2 more coming up soon, from trail and road 10k’s to 50 mile endurance races. My season will culminate in the Flint Hills of Kansas at the Heartland 100. I’ve begun the process of building an endurance “base”. This will take years, but the ball is rolling. In each event I am a competitor and am racing. The goal is no longer to finish, but to push my limit, or to out what and where that limit exists.
To say that I’m excited about the process would not do my emotions justice. I’m thrilled to be in this position athletically. Having a goal is key. The mind needs to experience the urgency of competition and deal with the limitations of time. Each day is a day to improve, take charge, devote energy to, focus on, and make that deposit towards accomplishment. Confidence is gained when you feel satisfied with the sacrifices made the previous day or week. A bit faster, longer, harder each week.
I have a long road ahead. Sport specific fitness for ultra-running takes time. The human body transforms slowly, but nonetheless steadily.
Ask yourself if you are ready to commit… to be all in. Give it 6-weeks, address the goal, want, or need and devote a portion of each day to it. It’s like flossing, if you can floss every day you can make progress in the gym. Don’t have the time or discipline to floss? Good luck changing your body or accomplishing a goal. Be honest. Give it 6-weeks. Assess where you are at, what was hard, what went well. Make changes and keep moving forward.
Embrace the suck. It takes guts to change.