Any idiot can run a marathon. It takes a special kind of idiot to run an ultramarathon.
With the Inverness Half Marathon and Rome Marathon well and truly run, my attention is now naturally turning towards my next target race. In principle, this is all business as usual: I flirt with an event, research it a little, enter it, contemplate/freak out about what I’ve just done, plan the training, and proceed to throw myself at it with bestial vigour. When it’s all done and dusted, I brush myself off and it all begins again. Only this time, I fear that my head might just explode.
You see, my next target run happens to be a 55 mile ultramarathon. I’ve got thirteen weeks to prepare myself for the
ordeal fun. Here are just some of the thoughts which are currently haunting my head:
- The distance is more than twice as far as I’ve ever run. I’m trying to imagine running a marathon, but instead of limping across the finish line, I’ll just keep going and run: Another. Whole. Blooming. Marathon. And then, instead of limping across that finish line, I’ll still keep going to stagger on for another 3 miles, just for the laugh. After that, I can hypothetically limp over any line I like, but I’m pretty sure I’ll just drop dead instead. Seriously, this is a distance that most people would refuse to cycle.
- This ultra-distance-I-can’t-comprehend will all be run on the trails. Sounds really lovely, doesn’t it? It will be, I’m sure. Especially the bit where none of it is flat. My quads hate me already.
- I’ve worked out that I will need to consume around 6000 calories during that run. I honestly can’t even being to comprehend how I’m going to achieve this. Presently, the mere thought is enough to provoke my stomach into staging a dirty riot. It’s like eating the equivalent of a Christmas day dinner on the run. I’m beginning to suspect that ultramarathons are basically falsely advertised binge-eating contests with a little bit of running in between.
- I’m actually paying money so that I can spend a day eating obscene amounts of sweets, lose all my toenails and pee/poo/vomit repeatedly in the bushes. Whoever markets these events is a genius.
- There’s a good chance that I’ll start the run in the best shape of my life. There’s an equally good chance that I’ll finish the run in the worst shape of my life.
Still, I have got all these overly romantic visions of spending many wonderful hours on the trails as part of some spiritual journey in which I find myself by running away. Clearly, there is a seriously masochistic aspect of my personality that is longing to be discovered.
My training plan is ready. So am I. I think.