Friday, May 15, 2015

Let's start at the beginning.

I know, I know. I started a blog about becoming an accidental ultra runner with freaking ultra race. Do you want to know how the madness started?

I hated running as a kid. Just hated it. Phys. ed. running, is there anything more awful? I ran my first 5k on the campus of University of Knoxville as part of a summer trip for the Junior classical League Latin program. Yep, I was a bit geeky in high school. Hey, geeky is cool, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.  My first 5k was hilly, green, beautiful and hot (um, summer in Knoxville....). I thought I was going to die. Die!  I didn't, but that didn't kick start a love of running either.

My 'running' started in my 20's. I was working 65-80 hours a week as a norm and trying to go out drinking and partying with friends. The freshman 15 didn't have anything on this weight gain. Not that I ever lost the freshman 15. So, now I'm a pudgy and busy 'business professional.' Lovely. I worked 3/4 of a mile away from Piedmont Park in Atlanta, Ga. The park had jogging paths ranging in distances of 0.70 mile to 1.68 miles and a 0.52  mile jogging track nestled in the center. Perfect for a lunch break run.

And that's all I ran, because I still didn't like running. Running sucked. You get all sweaty, it's hot, it's hard and you can't breath. For the love of Pete, why do people run for fun. They must be cracked in the head. 

Then my fiance was offered a job in San Diego. Holy cow California. What a change.  California is a place where people are meant to be outdoors. There isn't a green haze of pollen that lasts from late February to August. You can walk outside without being eaten alive by mosquitoes. It's not 95 degrees with 99% humidity. 

Hello beautiful.

But even with the ideal climate and abundance of time on my hands after moving west (I was unemployed, oh the fun times...)  I did not enjoy running. That change came after my first marathon (yes, that is correct, I don't like running and I ran a marathon. It was a bucket list thing I guess.). It was awful. I trained with a local running group and made lots of friends. I felt ready. Hell, I was ready for all 26.2 miles. Everything was perfect until mile 15, then stuff started to hurt. I mean, ouch. I finished and swore I would never run again. But..... I had invested money in running attire, and as long as I wasn't running 26 miles, it was doable. 

It helps that I totally made the spectator guide! 

Next year rolled around and I decided I was not running Rock 'n Roll. I was getting married a few weeks before and just couldn't commit to the training. So that was the plan. And I'm not really sure what happened. I went to the expo (because expos are awesome and I apparently didn't have anything better to do on a Friday night) and I freaking signed up for the marathon. Two days before a marathon, I signed up. It wasn't sold out or obscenely priced. I ran the race, shaved 15 minutes off my previous time and it didn't kill me. Something clicked and I was hooked. I think the thought process went something like this: 

Me: Wow, I took 15 minutes off my time from last year. That's pretty cool.
Evil me: Oooohhhh, I wonder how much you could take off if you actually trained for it. 
Dumb me: Hmmmmm, I do wonder.
Me: I'm in!

For the next 8-9 years I ran half marathons and the occasional full. They were my mini vacations. I ran Nike, NYC, Marine Corps, Chicago, RnR, and Carlsbad.  

On New Years day, 2013 I talked M (remember M from the PCT post? He's a frequent participant in crazy, so don't forget him.) into a new challenge. I decided that it would be kind of neat to run 2013 miles in 2013. That's cool, right? (I did mention I'm math challenged. And impulsive? Definitely a leap before I look kind of person.) So, M agreed, and then told me that 2013 miles breaks down to 5.53 miles a day. Every day. Every bleeping day. Pushing either a single or double jog stroller 5 days a week. Gack. That got old real fast. Skip a day and now I'm trying to do 11 miles, heaven help me if we want to take a family vacation or two.  Forget about getting sick, just run through it. 

In the midst of crazy #1 challenge for 2013, M had a wild hair idea. A race director he knew was planning a timed race around a 5k course. You could do 6, 12, or 24 hours. Sure, why not. I'm in for 6 hours.  M got sick the week before, and I'm far too cheap to not run this thing.  This will literally be the longest I have ever run. 6 hours of running. I've been running nearly every day for half a year, but no long miles. Definitely nothing longer than a half marathon. But in for a penny.... 

My first 50k. The seed has been planted.

And boom, there you go. From occasional marathoner to ultra runner. Simply because I can't say no to a friend. Therefore, I am an accidental ultra runner. I'm a firm believer that if you can run a marathon, you can run an ultra. But the fact that I keep doing them is something completely different.

1 comment:

  1. Fun story Nartaya. Even though we share a running history I still do not know what moves you into this craziness! :)