Just a few weeks in the past, I ran my first ultramarathon since 2019. It was the Path 100 Andorra by UTMB, a 105-kilometer race via the Pyrenees in Andorra. The final extremely I had began earlier than this one was the UTMB, a race I failed to complete. The final extremely I had completed was the JFK 50 Mile in 2018. The final extremely I had received was the 2016 The North Face 50 Mile Championships.
Toeing the road after a reprieve of such size comes with a number of query marks. How will my physique maintain up? Am I adequately ready? Am I pretty much as good as I as soon as was? All are legitimate questions.
When the beginning gun sounded at 7 p.m., I leaped off the road and commenced my journey towards the end. Over the subsequent 14 hours and 20 minutes, I hunted down some solutions to these pre-race questions. Luckily, I discovered a whole lot of good ones. The physique held up, my preparation proved sufficient, and my efficiency was stable. However of all of the issues I used to be reminded of that day, one actually stood out, and that was this: ultras stinkin’ harm.
It appears apparent. A race of such distance is sure to be painful. It’s one thing I’ve recognized full properly for years. I’m no stranger to the ache. But, within the midst of the race, it felt overwhelming. Not that I couldn’t navigate it, however that it inundated my thoughts with drive. For miles and miles, I used to be caught on the next thought, Why does the factor I’m so good at have to harm a lot?
Certain, the primary half of the race was very fulfilling. My physique felt good, and the terrain was wonderful. It was assorted and playful. The views have been astounding, and the climate was nice.
About midway via, issues began to get troublesome. It was nothing loopy. My wits remained, however it was sufficient to make me squirm. Round mile 40, I discovered a groove and rode it for some time. It was good, however, someplace towards the tip of the race, perhaps 45 or 50 miles in, I discovered the distress.
The ache was immense. I needed so badly for it to subside. Stopping would have been the treatment, and but I continued on. It’s attention-grabbing to consider these moments, those by which the answer to our affliction is at our disposal, but we do nothing to assist our trigger. Why will we behave in such a approach?
The solutions differ. I feel oftentimes we do it as a result of on the opposite aspect of the ache lies a reward that we worth that rather more. The satisfaction that comes with profitable, setting a private finest, and even merely ending is price excess of the ache we should push via to get the consequence.
When priorities are saved in verify, I feel this is usually a wholesome observe. If out of verify, issues can go a bit sideways. However what does out of verify appear to be? Personally, I feel it seems to be like not having enjoyable, doing one thing solely as a result of you must, and doing it on the expense of every little thing else in life. Out of verify is the place households, pals, and companions get uncared for. It’s the place objectives not really feel thrilling. Primarily, it’s the place the enjoyable stops.
To be trustworthy, there have been moments throughout this race that didn’t really feel very enjoyable. It felt as if the enjoyable had stopped. However, this was largely, if not solely, as a result of ache that I used to be experiencing. And the ache, in my thoughts, was justified. Justified as a result of I needed to be there. Justified as a result of I used to be stoked on the course. Justified as a result of I thrive on competitors. And final, however definitely not least, justified as a result of I really like operating.
Take away the justifications and you’ve got a complete lot of ache with little or no cause for it. And this, my pals, is an issue. That is the place DNFs occur (although not at all times for that reason), burnout happens, and other people develop resentful towards the game of operating. However all that is avoidable if we take a step again and have an trustworthy have a look at our objectives and motivations earlier than chasing after them.
So, subsequent time you set a objective or choose a race, take a while to investigate your motivations. That approach, when the ache units in and the enjoyable has turn into un-fun, you recognize what you’re struggling for. The explanations don’t must be overly deep. They are often so simple as the truth that you merely take pleasure in operating.
However, in the event you don’t verify your motivations on the door, you possibly can end up within the depths of the ache cave not understanding why you’re there. That’s not a great place to be. Save your self the difficulty and verify your self earlier than you step to the beginning line. That approach, you may make it harm so unhealthy, and nonetheless be good.
Name for Feedback
Do you’ve gotten any methods for dealing with ache throughout ultras?