There are as many reasons to run ultras as there are ultra runners. But I doubt anyone does it just for the buckles. Yeah, they’re pretty cool. Some people may even display them. Many marathon runners display their metals. All of my buckles are in a wooden box and my metals are in a sturdy plastic container. Both are on the top shelf of my closet.
For me, the metal or the buckle is just a bonus. I run ultradistance for the challenge, the community, the chance to be in my mountains, the freedom, to breath and to live. I love ultrarunning for the experiences, thoughts, insight, ideas, soul searching, and the understanding. I love the questioning, self doubt, fear, disappointment and failures.
I love it all in the end, but I may hate it in the moment. Ultrarunning takes a deep love and some serious determination. It is not for every runner. It is for the growing few.
I have found myself deep in the pain cave staring at my feet as I drag them along the trail only to glance up and meet the eyes of a serene doe watching from back in the trees, ears forward facing, just watching and that is enough for me. That one momentary connection with another soul, another heart that loves the mountains, the crisp pine and sage scented morning air, and the strange blue yellow light of the early clean dawn.
So many runners have an issue with taking “rest” days. I know I do. The purpose for taking rest days is to recover and rebuild your muscles so they are stronger and can withstand more rigorous training. It allows you to build your miles and increase your speed. It is the foundation to making running a life long sport and not just an “in the good old days” sport or “when I was younger…”
My goal is to run a 100 on my 100th birthday. Maybe it will happen maybe it won’t. One thing is for sure, I will be slower and I will need a full time pacer and crew. Something I have had to reconcile is this whole concept of rest. I have read books on rest and why it is important. I’ve heard pod cast after podcast and seen many videos and articles on rest.
Even with this information being spewed at runners from every media source available, we struggle. We fight taking rest days. We push through injuries and then our bodies make us stop. Doesn’t it make more sense to just take a day off here and there or to take a week of reduced miles every so often? yes but we’re ultrarunners and nothing in rest says ultra anything. Ultrarest? hmmmm questionable.
I’ve gotten better about taking rest. Some of that is from listening to Coaches David and Megan Roche from Some Work, All Play Running. Coach David Roche often says, taking three days off when you start to feel an issue is not going to hurt your training but it may save you from having a serious injury which can sideline you for a month or more. I’m paraphrasing and saying like I remember it, but it’s pretty much what he said.
I’ve tried to implement this in my running over the last six months and I believe it has prevented little issues from becoming big issues. So I would recommend this thinking to all other runners.
My other recommendation when it comes to “rest” days, is to not think about them as taking the day off or “resting” at all. Think of them as Rebuild days or Recovery days, which every you like. You can even double them up into Recovery and rebuild days.
Sometimes just a change in the language we use can totally change the way we view an idea or training concept. Do I always take a Rebuild day or week? Let’s just say it’s a work in progress.