I ran 50K for my first ultramarathon!
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
A few years ago, my town was hosting a marathon, so i decided to go out and cheer—having no idea what to expect. As I watched the runners cross the finish line, I was overwhelmed with emotion. I left the race knowing that I wanted to feel the sense of accomplishment I witnessed those competitors experience. The next day, I bought my first pair of running shoes and began training with my sister-in-law.
At first, I didn’t understand what it took to be a runner. When I couldn’t live up to my unrealistic expectations, I wanted to give up. But I decided to sign up for a half marathon knowing that having a goal would help focus my effort. While training for that race, I learned to be patient. It was okay that I couldn’t run 13 miles right away. Eventually my consistent training paid off and I finished that race ready to sign up for the next.
Then last October, I decided to push myself well beyond my comfort zone and registered to run the inaugural Oregon Coast 50K Ultra. I wanted to put myself in an uncomfortable position to see exactly what I could do and how I would survive. Little did I know, getting to the finish line would prove to be the toughest challenge of my life.
There was nothing easy about race day. If something could go wrong, it did. Between 35 mile-per-hour headwinds, rain, flubbing my nutrition plan and fighting on-and-off nausea, I doubted my ability to finish. Though my fiancé (a seasoned ultra runner) ran by my side, I struggled so severely with the conditions, at one point I broke down with panic, feeling too far away from help. In that moment, I reminded myself that even though I was struggling, I was lucky to be there and able to run. I focused on being grateful for the trails beneath my feet and the volunteers who were supporting my dream. By changing my mindset, I was able to push forward and continue my journey.
I’m pretty sure I cried the entire last two miles of the race. I crossed the finish line in shock, but thankful to my body for carrying me the distance. Knowing that I mentally adapted to the changing conditions and ultimately accomplished my goal was one of the most empowering feelings of my life.
I LEARNED to remind myself how much I love running. Recalling this passion helped keep me centered when doubt crept in. Dig deep when a new goal scares you and let your heart carry your legs when your mind’s not sure. You’ll be surprised just how far you can go!