To be successful in ultras, you need to know your why. Why do you want to run long distances? Why explore your limits? Knowing this why will help you push through the dark moments and reach the finish line. To enjoy ultras, I think it’s also good to know why you don’t do ultras. Acknowledging what you don’t want to do will help steer you away from events and adventures that will be less fun and may sap your stoke for running long.
Case in point.
Old Dominion is my second favorite race that I’ve done to date. I love everything about it. From the history as the second oldest hundred to the course layout to the awards breakfast the next morning all the way to the little red book. My run in 2017 was the epitome of a hundred miler with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I’ve been meaning to go back and run it for years, but the early June date has conflicted with a ton of other races on my bucket list (MMT, LH70, CBU) and I haven’t quite been able to fit it into my calendar.
Well, I was talking up the race to another runner at Capital Backyard and I convinced myself that next year was going to be my triumphant return. But then I started thinking about one of the race’s little quirks: buckles are only awarded for sub-24 hour finishes. Knowing how I’m wired, this would be a huge focus for me. I’m fairly confident I could finish inside 28 hours, which is the cutoff to be an official finisher. I wouldn’t really be happy with just a finish though. It would be all about that buckle.
It’s more than a little weird that I don’t really care about my finishing time for other races, but I know I would be hyper focused on this at OD100. After a ridiculous number of races, I’ve finally realized that not focusing too much on time/pace in races is my key to enjoying them. So as much I enjoyed the race and would like to run it again sometime, I would be constantly be thinking about time (aka my why not) if I go back. So I need to say no.
Maybe I’ll just go run the 5th oldest hundred in the US instead.