My 22 mile adventure and ultramarathon dreams

The title is perhaps misleading. I did not see or do anything particularly adventurous on my 22 mile trek this past Sunday; rather it was the total experience of running 22 miles for the first time was the adventure.

One morning recently I woke up and decided I would do an ultramarathon before my first marathon. Why? A couple of reasons: To prove to myself that I can, and to enjoy the distance before I decide to start seriously racing it. If I decide to train for a marathon, I will push myself to do it fast- which, of course, is not a bad thing, but is a different sort of experience.

I know that if I decided to one day I could go out and run 26.2 miles (not today, mind you, my legs are still sore from the 22 miler). But I want to do a run where I don’t know starting out that I can finish the distance, where the worst-case scenario is not PR’ing. And that’s where ultras come into play. They make you race the distance, not the clock.

Granted, this is all very up in the air, since I haven’t even signed up for an ultra yet, but it’s a good goal to focus on. The 22 miler was just part of my ongoing theme of “let’s see how far I can run until I drop from exhaustion” (which is probably the mantra of many a runner). I won’t put you through the same agony it put me through by giving you a blow by blow (or rather a mile by mile) description, but needless to say, it was hard. Not the hardest run I’ve ever done, but it was hot out and it was psychologically difficult knowing I’ve never run that far. The 20-mile barrier is completely mental- I’ve run 18, this was physically minimally harder (race pace, of course, every mile counts more)- but it felt nice to break it.

Next up: the 30 mile barrier. Next week, maybe. Right now I’m enjoying a well-earned rest day.