Well… I must either be nuts or stupid.
Just last week I signed up for a new race called the Bloop (Bayview-loop). It’s a 1 mile loop around Humboldt Park in Bayview, WI. There were three options, a half marathon, full marathon, or a 6 hour ultra-marathon endurance run. So you run this one loop either 13 times, 26 times, or as many as you can do in 6 hours. It is a legit race with chip-timed bibs, shirts, medals, the whole production.
The nuts or stupid part is that I signed up for the 6 hour ultra-marathon!
Just typing that sentence kind of makes me laugh. But anyways, I’ve been really pumped about this run ever since I heard about it and here’s my reasoning; I would like to run a full marathon at some point. However, at this stage of my journey the longest distance I’ve ran is 6.2 miles (10k). If I were to jump into a full marathon I know how far behind the other runners I would be, I know how “bad” my time would be, and if I couldn’t finish, as spirit lifting as it is to say it’s ok as long as I do my best, I would have still not finished.
However, with the Bloop, since you are running the same 1-mile loop over and over again, nobody knows what loop everybody else is on. With the 6 hour run, I don’t have to worry about what my pace is, where other runners are, or if I finish… because there is no finish line. It literally is, go as far as you can. So if I can only get through 18, 22, 24 miles in 6 hours… so be it. I can be happy about doing my best. Even if I can’t get to 26.2 before the end of the 6 hours… that’s ok… because that’s not really the point.
Now comes the reality check.
On my normal runs throughout the week, I usually go 3-4 miles. For the Bloop, it’s cool to say, “oh yeah, go out there, pace yourself, and do the best you can”. But as my wife pointed out, with a very realistic viewpoint, the Bloop is in 5 weeks! I plan on doing at least 20 miles. Even if I walk a bunch, my body is not now, or ever been capable of doing 20 miles. So in short… I need to start training hard and conditioning my body to last for that long. Not to even worry about what my pace is… I just want to be on the course at the 6 hour mark and to not get injured.
So this morning, with a new, more realistic viewpoint, I slowed my pace and pushed my distance further than I’ve ever gone before. I ran 8 miles! My previous longest distance, as I mentioned above, was only 6.2 miles! My pace was actually pretty good to boot (11.22 pace). I was super proud, and my wife was super impressed… which is always a nice perk 😉 But once again it dawned on me, “that was really hard and long… now just go do that two more times!”
So am I nuts or stupid? Or have I just learned through running that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to as long as you have a great attitude and you are always pushing yourself to improve? I know it’s the latter.
Well, I am going to be slowly ramping up my runs over the next 5 weeks to condition my body for the big event. I will certainly be posting along the way with my progress and will share my results after the race.
Wish me luck! (you can get more info or register for the Bloop: here)
~ Jay Cunningham