Thoughts

Recently, I’ve discovered something invaluable about the sport of running, particularly, in disparity with the term “training.” Yes, when we run, we train our bodies to become better at running and better overall athletes. However, being an aspiring ultra runner with each race spacing months and months apart from each other, ‘How does one maintain some level of motivation throughout “training” for these spaced races?’, I thought.

For me, with my first real race about 7.x months away, it’s actually been easy. Motivation and positive personal feedback don’t have to come in the concrete/tangible form of results from a sheet of paper. Running is much more than that. My motivation seems to lie within the actual physical movement of gliding over the dirt and through the woods and natural terrain in my minimalist shoes. That, in itself, is motivation for the next day. Each day is motivation for the next because of how pure and supernatural the sport of running can be. I look forward to going to sleep each night so I can wake up the next morning to run on the trails. I don’t need racing (for now) or results. I am motivated by my surroundings combined with the internal “flow” and peace and oneness and continuity that running provides me.

Spacing out these large scale ultra trail races is nice because of how important each one will be when I make the weekend trip to these locations. With that being said, I am very anxious and confident to be racing the IAT 50 for 6-7 hours this upcoming Spring. May 14 can’t come quickly enough.

Seeking New Challenges

As I sit here with a nagging ankle/foot injury, I find myself day-dreaming about the trails and getting out on long training sessions. For the time being, I am saying “no” to running until this foot thing heals (hopefully sooner than later). Recently, I’ve been on mapmyride.com and strava.com looking at course records that circumnavigate/transverse the Michiana/New Carlisle area on the bicycle. With luck, I found a ton of fairly intriguing rides that fit this criteria.

So, while this injury heals, I am going to do as many long rides as I can. Most sessions will last a few hours. I have to get used to working and moving my body for LONG periods of time, continuously, to aid in my training for the Ice Age Trail 50 in May. The good thing is that these types of long, hard efforts do not intimidate me at all. They excite me and I look forward to doing them every day. This is going to be fun.

na

A Good Omen

As fall approaches, I naturally get excited about leaves, campfires, Chicago Bear football, hoodies, weather in the 50s, and, of course, the bulk of the Fall running season, leading all the way into Christmas. This fall, I have something else to be excited about, among other things. The Cubs are probably going to be Playoff bound for the first time since ’08. Every true Cub fan knows how precious this season has been and what a joy it has been to witness.

Among other things, I am no longer enrolled at Valpo U. I decided to come home and take online courses as I have switched my major concentration from exercise science / human biology (physical therapy) to journalism. With that being said, it has ended my official collegiate cross country / track journey, although it has been a struggle ever since I started in the fall of 2013, due to major injuries, among other things.

My goals have changed drastically. Over this entire summer, I have been unintentionally attracted to the life of professional sponsored ultra / mountain / trail runners, running races from about 31.1 (50k) to 100 miles in the mountains, with Anton Krupicka (among others) being my biggest inspiration and influence. I have decided to use cycling, swimming, running, hiking, and strength work to become an ultra runner to the best of my capabilities. Training will be long, hard, thought out, diverse, and, much to my desire, alone. I have the freedom to be my own coach throughout this process.

Where my excitement lies in this process is in the process itself, the day-to-day happy grind of things while following my own schedule. Along with training (HEALTHY), I will be continuing my education degree online in the comfort of my armchair, with access to all my normal necessities. On top of this, despite waking up at 5:30am to train every day in the dark as the sun rises, the late morning and early afternoon consists of “teaching” elementary students. I’m a substitute teacher until I become an actual teacher.

With this process going as smoothly as it has been, I hope it continues to stay this way. If my training works out the way I plan for it to, I hope to achieve some sort of support/sponsorship from a running shoe / apparel company and, ultimately, become a professional. Those are huge goals but I have never been more excited about a process as I have been for this one.

My first ultra will be a 50k or 50-miler in LaGrange, Wisconsin, in the South Kettle Moraine State Forest, during the Ice Age Trail 50. It was ranked the 7th most competitive ultra marathon in the United States by Ultrarunning Magazine in 2014. Bend, Oregon’s Max King ran it in 2014 and set the course record in 5h 41m. Max was 6th place at the US Outdoor Nationals Track and Field meet in the Steeplechase, with a PR of 8:33 in the event. He has multiple ultra course records and has run sub 2:15 for the marathon. Many other pros have also competed at Ice Age in the past. Race day is set for Saturday, May 14, 2016.

For me, it will be my first ultra and I’ve never been more excited, other than the fact that the total cost of everything will be a couple hundred bucks (hotel, fuel, fees, etc.). I really thrive on the day-to-day consistent hard work, preparing on the trails and roads, either on foot or on my ol’ Trek Rig.

With all that said, dealing with running, school, and work / my future, it’s just life and I find great joy in the whole process!

Thanks for reading about my current life and I hope this find you all doing well! Go catch yo dream.

na