Over the past 5 years, I started really appreciating running. I did my first half marathon with my mother-in-law and was hooked. That led to marathons and eventually I started to crave more. I realized I was not taking training seriously for marathons anymore so I found a 50-mile race to do. I love the beach and chose my first ultra of 50 miles to do at Destin Fl in February. I went to Myrtle Beach SC to do training runs and loved it. Come race day I was ready and very excited to start the race. It was a challenge running 50 miles entirely on sand but I loved every minute of it. I placed first in my age group and third female overall with a time of 8:42:09 (10:01-minute average pace). Matt and Mark were there to support me and that was the day I fell in love with ultra running. Watching the sunrise come up and running past the waves was truly relaxing.
I figured that since 50 miles was so much fun and exciting to train for, why not go for 100 the following year. So I signed up for the same race but in the 27 hour 100+ division and started training. This division meant that I had to run at least 100 miles in the allotted 27 hour time frame. All on the sand again. This turned out to be a real challenge. I drove down to Florida to do the race alone so that I could completely focus on the race and prep for it. I wrote a race report of the whole experience after the race which I will post in the next blog. The 100-mile race was the most difficult challenge I had accomplished up to that point and I loved the highs and lows it allowed me to experience. Running a long distance race takes strategy. The average person can bust through a marathon but when you get up to more challenging distances and terrain obstacles, it really takes knowing your body and ability to get through it. I have become an ultra runner without the use of a coach, running group or mentor. This has been through trial and error while I learned how my body works under extreme conditions as well as my ability. What I have learned has been great along the way and I hope to share some of it with you.
I have two 100 mile races planned for this year. Hallucination 100 on September 9 and the Tunnel Hill 100 on November 12. Next year will be a big year. I have my heart set on getting into and completing Badwater 135 so I am racing and training in preparation for getting into that race. Next year I plan on doing the Midwestern Super Slam, plus the Key West 100, Destin 100, and Badwater Cape Fear. A good part of this blog will be about those races and what worked as well as what didn’t.