Congrats on busting out that six mile run! Doesn’t it feel nice to hit a PR? It doesn’t matter whether it’s during a race or not, that’s an awesome accomplishment. It was only a couple months ago that you couldn’t even do a 5k without walking half of it. And guess what? You get to enjoy that feeling all over again in 2 weeks when you step up to 7 miles. And then again 2 weeks later when you run 8 miles. One month and you’ve managed to increase your PR by over half. Simply amazing.
I know you’re pretty excited about your buildup to your first half marathon, but I want to give you a heads up. Your world of possible is about to be rocked. You’re just about to the point where you start looking past November and decide you want to run a full marathon. You know, the race to end all races. This is the distance that you’ve read about, but is so incredibly far that you don’t actually know anyone that has ever run that far. A distance where people actually die trying to run it. The ultimate in hardcore running. I have a bit or a surprise for you though.
There are longer races.
Like, a lot longer.
There are these races called ultra marathons or just ultras for people in the know. These are races longer than 26.2 miles. Some of them are measured in kilometers for some reason. You’ll soon learn that 50k = 31 miles. That there’s a bunch of rural Mexicans who run them in sandals. And that there is a race in death valley. In the summer! You’ll learn that there are races that people do (on foot!) for 100 miles. And if it was just one race and a couple dozen people, that would likely have been the end of it. I mean, there are always the kooks and the crazies. Right?
But when searching for “100 mile races” on the internet, you’re going to stumble upon a website called run100s.com and it’s going to blow you away. Not the graphics, mind you. The website is more basic than public access TV (did I just date myself?). But the information is unbelievable. There are 106 different 100 mile races spread across the US! And the site links to dozens and dozen of race reports of people who ran these races. Turns out not everyone finishes, but a lot of people do. The stories that people tell about these races are like an unabridged car crash. There are blisters and vomiting and peeing blood, for crying out loud. You won’t be able to look away.
Warning: you’re about to become obsessed. You haven’t even run 13 miles (and need to lay down for a half hour after your current long run), yet all you’re going to be able to think about is running 100 miles. But you can’t tell anyone about this . . . dream isn’t quite right. It’ll start out more as a fantasy. Seriously, it’s so far fetched you can’t talk to anyone else about it. They’ll give you worried looks and start mentioning counselling. You can’t even tell your wife. You’ll have to bring her along slowly over the next year before you are brave enough to mention it to her. And it’ll be even longer before you can tell your friends and family.
But here’s the thing. You got this. You don’t have to know how to get to the end in order to start at the beginning. Lots of others have done it. If they can figure out how to run 100 miles, then you can as well. You’re not going to do it tomorrow. Or next month. Or next year. You’ve got plenty of time to prepare yourself physically and mentally. So start reading everything you can on running and trails and ultras and nutrition and anything else you can get your hands on. Knowledge is power.
And so are dreams.
P.S. Also, you should totally start a blog. But not right away. Give yourself some time to make sure this is definitely 100% your thing before taking that plunge.