There are several questions that come up when someone hears that you’ve run an ultra marathon. Perhaps the most common one (after “are you nuts?”) is about motivation. How exactly does an ultrarunner get in the zone before such a long race?
This question usually bring me back to the day before the Lone Ranger Ultra, sitting in the movies and waiting for Toy Story 3 to start. A preview came on for Legend of The Guardians : The Owls of Ga Hoole. It’s a kid’s movie about owls. I’m not sure who decided that owls would be fitting protagonists for a Lord of the Rings rehash, but that’s not the point. The point is, this movie looks epic; take a moment to watch if you don’t believe me:
The song they used, Kings and Queens, gives me goosebumps every time I hear the ending, when the instrumentals fade and the chorus kicks in. Hearing it in the theater, with the giant 3D owl in flight before me, I wished that I could do something epic.
It took about a minute to realize that, in 24 hours, I would begin a 50-mile run.
So the next morning, when it came time to psych myself up, I turned to music. I don’t usually use music to prepare for a race; I run better given time alone in my head. But this song connected my upcoming race to the adventure I craved. This would be my chance to do something awesome. With that in mind, how could I wuss out?
After that I found this. I’m kind of a sucker for sappy stuff; it made me well up. The clip of Derek Redmond hit especially close to home. With this video looped in the background, I read articles on past greats– not Pre or Bolt but rather Terry Fox and Cliff Young. Inspirational figures who put my 50 miles into perspective. A heady dose of techno topped off the emotional overload.
And so it came to be that, as my brother drove me to the race (thanks again, Chris), I was already emotionally drained. But my spirit rose all the higher for it, unfettered by tangled emotion. My mind was sharp and my body energized. It was a new way to prepare for races. And a good one, I think. It got me through a challenge that was truly epic.Share on Facebook