How does that affect your race. How does that affect your motivation.
When I started running three years ago, I had a pretty good idea what my physical limits were. I should be able to complete a 5k, and I might be able to muddle through a 10k. But a Half Marathon was something that only “real” runners could complete. I could “never” do that.
Well, I could, and I did. I have done it 21 times (so far)…
Ever since then, I have wondered where my physical limits would be found. Whenever I thought that I have pushed myself to the brink, I found more reserve in the tank. I still don’t know where my limits really are.
I think that I am about to find out.
There is one thing that I wanted to add to my running resume. I wanted to complete an ultramarathon. I consider that to be at least 50k (31 miles). Looking at the ultras around here, all were longer, trail runs with limited support. That isn’t what I had in mind. I came across the FANS 24 hour run. It is multiple loops around a small lake. Each lap is 2.1 miles with two aid stations. Your “finish distance” is the total that you completed in 24 hours (whether or not you were there the whole time). You can leave anytime. I figured that this would be perfect. I would have no time limit (I literally have all day and all night), and lots of support. If I logged my 50k in five hours, I could pack my things and go home. Alternatively, I could try to sqweak out a little more if I felt up to it. Either way, I would have an automatic PR at the 50k.
Now that I am signed up, and it is almost upon me, I wonder what my strategy will be.
I cannot technically “fail” as there is no DNF in this race. If I run 10 feet, then that is my finish distance. Of course, anything under 50k would be a disappointment…but that is all but impossible (unless I get injured).
I also cannot fully “succeed”. To finish this event would be to run/walk the entire 24 hours. That greatly exceeds my training. My longest run is about six hours. My longest event was just under 16 hours (most of that time was cycling), and I was much better trained at that point.
No, I will not be there when the event officially ends. So, it will be the first time I have ever left in the middle of a race. In a very real way, that is a failure. I will leave when I can’t do it anymore. I will leave when I find the limit of my endurance.
Will this just get me to throw in the towel at 50k? Or will this push me to keep going a little further since I will hate to admit defeat. I have calculated the number of laps needed for multiple milestones past 50k. I know I will never do this again, so will that push me towards successive milestones? 75k? 50 miles? Double Marathon (52.4 miles)? 100k (62 miles)? 75 miles? Maybe…
At some point I will have scream uncle and walk away with the event still going. It will be my first failure. It may also be my greatest success…