So, one may ask, how does one “accidentally” become an ultra runner? It certainly was the last thing on my mind that day when I took my first running steps. I never thought to myself “I’m going to become a runner so I can go on epic adventures and run crazily long distances in exotic places”. I just didn’t want to be fat anymore. That’s it. That’s all I wanted. It was a means to an end. But, as they say, a funny thing happened along the way. First of all, running didn’t magically make me not fat anymore. That was, and still is, a journey in its own right. Certainly it helped me along that journey, but really it was just a small part of it. That’s a story for a different day. The funny thing that happened was this little thing called “maybe I could”. Like, maybe I could run all the way from home to the top of the hill. Then much, much later, maybe I could run a marathon. Just maybe. So, I tried, and I did. Was it easy? No. Did I love every minute of the training? Really no.. I think one thing people think about runners is that we love running all the time. We don’t. Sometimes its really hard. Sometimes we feel lazy, we feel tired, its too hot out, its too cold out, I’d rather sleep, whatever it may be. Running is not fun all the time. It is fun and good just enough of the time to keep us coming back for more. I have a real love/hate relationship with running.
Anyway, back to the marathon. I persevered. I delayed it for a whole year because I got injured, but in the end, I did it. It was awful and wonderful all at the same time. The minute I was done, I was like, “what’s next?” So, I had heard about this thing called triathlon. A little seed was growing in the back of my mind. “Maybe I could do one of those” I thought. I knew nothing about it, but I was intrigued. So, I dusted off my 20 year old mountain bike, went to the pool a few times, and signed up for not one, but two sprint triathlons on back to back weekends. Well, those were also awful/wonderful. I felt horribly intimidated by all the fast people in their fast wetsuits and by all the slick, fast bikes in the transition area, but whatever, I did it. And when I finished, the first thing I thought was “What’s next?”
So, with a little bit of “maybe I could” and a lot of “what’s next?”, my journey began meandering its way through road races and triathlons, I did ½ marathons, half-irons, full irons, and a lot of
stuff in between. The “maybe” part always starts with a little seed. Hmm, I heard about this race. No, I couldn’t possibly do that, its too hard. Who would even want
to do that? I’m too slow, I’m too fat, I’m too old, there’s no
way. But wait, maybe I could. Maybe, I might be able to do something like that someday. I actually think that might be possible. Ok, well I guess I will sign up, but I’m still not sure I can. Actually, I think I can. And, for the most part, I did.
Then, one day I said, I wonder if I can do a trail race? I think I can, maybe. So, I signed up for one, “just” a little 30k one, and I did it. And so it went, until, quite by accident, I became an ultra marathoner. And it has taken me on epic adventures running crazily long distances in exotic places. And I love it. And sometimes I hate it. But mostly I love it. Just last week I got home from an epic adventure in the amazon rainforest called the Jungle Ultra. I’m working on a race report, I hope to have it done sometime soon.
When that little seed of a “maybe” gets planted in my brain and starts to grow, I usually listen to it. Even when it scares me. Even when it pushes me far, far out of my comfort zone. Because how do you know unless you try? Maybe you can’t do it, but just maybe you can. When people say “accidents happen”, it is not always a bad thing. Sometimes its aweome. Just keep moving forward.