March 1, 2014. It’s been about five weeks since I made my list of running resolutions. On one hand, it’s already March. Already! On the other, it’s only March; and I can already check a few items off my list:
- Increase my daily “comfortable” running pace by twenty to thirty seconds per mile.
CHECK! I’ve been feeling strong and relaxed the past few weeks, and I’ve been running faster than is typical for me lately, especially for this time of the year. I’ll take it though, just in time for my first race of the season – the Runnin’ of the Green Lucky 7K in beautiful downtown Denver two weeks from tomorrow. PR, here I come. YAY!
- Run the Bear Chase Trail Race 50K in late September.
Tentative the one time I’ve mentioned it this year, and a reality come late September. . . CHECK! That’s right, peeps. This marathon newbie will soon also be an ultramarathon newbie, and I’ve got the confirmation screen shot to prove it:
Though it was a ‘no brainer’ in a number of ways, I’ve given it a decent amount of thought. Dubbed an “excellent race for first time ultramarathoners,” the 50K course includes one small and two large loops, all of which overlap for two short ‘out and backs,’ which means that I will have multiple opportunities to see any friends that tag along to offer moral support.
That, three water crossings, only 1,930 feet of elevation gain – 3,860 feet of elevation change total - and the promise of “sweeping panoramic views throughout the race” make the Bear Chase sound like an excellent pick for a first timer.
Besides these logistical perks, I talked with someone about the idea of the leap to the ultramarathon from Runner’s Edge of the Rockies after the Great Candy Run back in November. He said – and I quote – “If you ran the Pikes Peak Marathon, you can run an ultramarathon.” Thirty-one days since I first thought seriously about the idea, here I am.
A few years ago, I stopped asking myself “Why?” when I pondered a new venture. I now ask myself, “Why not?” and that philosophy has served me well. I haven’t thought of a single reason why I shouldn’t do many things – and have learned from the experiences - ever since, and I can’t think of a single reason why I shouldn’t attempt my first ultramarathon now.
A mere five weeks after my second ever Pikes Peak Marathon attempt, I’m counting on this ‘check’ to help me out with the only item on my running resolutions list worth mentioning twice - NOT falling off the running map like I did this past year after Pikes Peak.
And last, but not at all least, is one final item. . .
- Feel like and BE a bad arse. Period.
So far, so good; but I won’t check this one off my list just yet, nor will I ever, really. I’m on my way to what I hope will be a great year of running, but I’ve got a lot of ground to cover - countless gallons of water and lots of Gu to consume on the trails, tons of sweat to wipe from my brow - between now and December to call it a successful year indeed. And that’s just for this year, not long-term ‘bad arse’ status.
As Collective Soul once sang, “I’ve got a long way. . .to run.” Maybe I’ll get there, maybe I won’t. One thing’s for sure, though – I’ll never know until I try.
Ever get that feeling while on a run that it’s gonna be a good year? I’ve had that feeling during and following every run I’ve completed in that past few weeks. Time – and checking additional items off of my running resolutions list – will tell if I’m right. . .
Melissa Mincic, Ph.D., a long-time road and trail runner, conducts applied child development research and works to influence child development policy and practice at the University of Denver. Follow Melissa on Twitter at @nerdinrunshoes.