The ultramarathon lived up to every expectation.
The ultramarathon was painful. Not at first; I ran at a roughly ten-minute-mile pace, which felt quite pleasant for the first 35 miles (is this what recreational running feels like?). The last 12 miles of the race were rough. The last 6 were agony. I shuffled through them on the wooden pegs that had replaced my legs. My feet flopped on the asphalt, slack after pounding so long on city sidewalks. This was not the searing pain that comes from outrunning others; this was the crushing, obliviating pain that comes from outrunning my own weakness.
The ultramarathon was fun. I was expecting three of my teammates to show their support on the sidelines. Instead I had six teammates running alongside me as pacers. They ran in two shifts of three pacers, completing a lap per shift (with a “lap” being 8.4 miles). For the last two laps of the race, I had my fiance, my big brother, and a friend from home, all running along beside me. They ran about 17 miles (A PR for my fiance– yay!) alongside me. Between all of my supporters, I spent very little time alone on my ten hour run. Their antics kept me fresh through the beginning of the race, and their presence bolstered my resolve on the last lap. They were fun to run with and play around between laps.
The ultramarathon left me shattered. After the race, my body was frozen in a running position. I couldn’t bend enough to stretch, even though I knew I’d pay for that inability later on. The next morning, muscle fatigue set in, leaving my muscles all the flexibility of petrified wood. Every move hurt in my back and shoulders, and my legs… well, I didn’t move those too much. I should, however, say that things would probably have been much worse if not for a certain darling mother’s early-morning 7-11 trip, which made an ice bath possible and thereby sped my recovery. Between that and the daily walks, my legs have gotten to the point where they can support me through a brief jog.
I had expected an extreme test of my focus, my fitness, my will. In that way, too, the 50-miler satisfied. The results of my trial, however, were surprising. I’ve realized something, something that will take more time, (and a whole ‘nother post) to describe.Share on Facebook