On April 27, 2014, I finished my first ultra. They say time flies when you’re having fun. Apparently, it also flies when you struggle in race after race (after race) wondering why you keep signing up for these ridiculous events.

Seriously though when I started out, I had a plan on how I wanted my ultrarunning career to progress and I’m happy to report I’m right on schedule. The biggest takeaway from my first decade is how this sport and community just resonates with me. I’m still as excited and motivated to get out there and run/walk/shuffle/whatever as I was at the beginning. Maybe even a little more so if that’s even possible.

Snapshot of my race totals

It shouldn’t come as any surprise that the hundred mile distance is my favorite. I’ve cut back a little on the shorter distances over the past couple years. Starting out I used them as long, supported training runs. As I’ve progressed along and gotten more experience, I don’t feel the need to add them into my race schedule for training purposes anymore. These are fun events in their own rights though so I need to include more of them going forward.

There’s a couple races that I’ve gone back to over and over again. Sometimes it’s because I love the race. Sometimes because it’s convenient. And sometimes because there’s just no other alternative for mid-January ultras.

  • Eastern States 100M – 6 Finishes
  • Naked Bavarian 40M – 5 Finishes
  • Phunt 50K – 5 Finishes
  • Stone Mill 50M – 3 Finishes
  • Catoctin 50K – 3 Finishes
  • C&O Canal 100M – 2 Finishes, 1 DNF

The Next Decade

Looking forward, I would count myself lucky to just repeat the last 10 years. But I would be lying if I said that’s all I want to accomplish. As my son leaves for college this fall, I’m hoping to increase the frequency of my racing. I definitely want to increase the frequency of my volunteering. This is an amazing community and I would like to give back more than I have to date. I’m also entertaining the idea of getting into coaching. I don’t have any formal run training so would need to add some certifications if I decide to go this route. As far as events goes, I’d like to keep rotating through a variety of formats. Maybe get into multiday races (72 hour, 6 day) and longer journey runs (LAVS, HOTS). I enjoy the self-supported format so more of those, but only in a formal event structure and not so much FKTs. Regardless, I’d like to stay open to new experiences and not get too focused on any one thing.

I’m fully aware that my longevity in this sport is not the norm. I credit it to three things: a love of running, sustainable training, and a supportive family. I think a lot of people get into ultras focused on the events themselves and not realizing that they’ll spend 20x the time in training vs. the race itself. If you don’t really love to run day in and day out, then you’re not going to last long. That doesn’t mean you have to love every single run you do. Some will suck. A lot. But the goal should be enjoy most of them most of the time. So train how you want to train, not how the ultra talking-heads tell you to train. I can count on one hand the number of speed workouts I’ve done over the past 10 years. I don’t enjoy pushing myself that hard so I don’t do them. I walk most hills, never stretch, and run every single day. Figure out what makes you happy and do that. The more, the better. The final piece to the puzzle is to get your family’s unwavering support. Whatever tradeoffs you need to make, make them. There’s no way you can stay in this sport for years on end without them behind you 100%.

Hope to see you all around in 2034!