Tuesday, April 22, 2008

How did you become an ultrarunner?


As I get ready for Badwater, my thoughts always turn to the fact that Badwater was my first ultramarathon – back in 1995. I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into…but I can say that after that, I was hooked. Here’s my story about how I started ultrarunning.

What’s yours?
How did you become an ultrarunner?

I’d love to know!

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lisa you are the one who got me into running and instilled in me that I can anything and everything.
I will look forward to my first 50 this summer.

Mel

Anonymous said...

My first desert ultra was the Sahara Race in Egypt in 2005. A friend forwarded the race website to me and I got very intrigued reading about the racers' journals talking about how they trained. I wondered how I would do, how far could I push myself? And although I went through hell during the race (it felt like it at 53C!), I came away amazed at how much the human body can take, and inevitably, as it happens with every race, you make lifetime friends, who share their knowledge of other races they've done. And before I knew it, I signed up for another race, and another...I've now done six!
Lisa, I only wish I trained with you right from the start. Looking back now, I can see how ignorant I was about training and looking after myself!!
Tess

olga said...

I just ran first marathon when joined a running club in the Brons and met a guy who ran VT100. I got curious and asked questions (I already knew about Badwater and WS), he subsribed me to ultralist and Ultrarunning magazine and then 2 months later to first 50k in Central Park, saying on a loop course I can drop at any point. I finished the 50k and went on to pace him in 50M (in conjunction) for his last 12M and felt I could go even longer. I was sold due to awesome volunteers and camaraderie!

Jacqueline Florine said...

I became an ultrarunner through my friends, my curiosity, and all of the experiences & adventures my life had already exposed me to. Like almost everything I have tried to accomplish in my life I was afraid to try the unknown. But the thrill of trying was greater. Thanks to you, Lisa, I was able to start off on the right foot. Your mentorship has enabled me to be successful right from the very first one.

angie's pink fuzzy said...

i loved to hike and had just lost 50 lbs on diet alone. my ex ran long distances on trails (just because - we hadn't heard of ultrarunning yet), so i decided to run trails - hey I got to see more, faster!

then my ex kept running into the same guys out on the trails, and they invited him to join the local tucson trail running group. they were all ultrarunners and clued us into the sport (more like egged us on).

my ex signed up for zane grey four years ago; i crewed and got bit by the ultrarunning bug! i decided i would give it a try, even though the longest i had run was a 5k.

i trained the following winter and completed pemberton the next february :)

Joe said...

I got into ultrarunning when my friend Will convinced me to go with him to JFK in 2001. I remember very clearly the circumstances. It was the first week of October when he called me after work and told me I should run with him at JFK. Mind you, at that point, I hadn't run a step in years. Will and I were on the same cycling club, and all my exercise was on the bike. Will, on the other hand, was training for a triathlon and other endurance events. So, I pretty much laughed at his invitation but, to be nice, I told him I would think about it. I only had seven weeks to think about it so I decided to go running one day. I ran for one hour and then turned around and ran home. I was amazed that I needed only two minutes more for the run home. I repeated this once more with the same results. I then said to myself, "I'm fairly certain I can finish JFK 50. It might take a while, but it'll be fun and besides, Will said we would run together, pushing each other and enjoying the camaraderie." And so, as soon as the gun went off, Will wished me good luck and took off. Never saw him again until I was about four miles from the finish when he and Lisa drove by in a car and started cheering for me. After that day, I started to run more. I enjoyed running. I was hooked.

Trail Goat said...

It all began at 5 a.m. one morning with me standing alone on a street corner waiting for a guy I'd never met to pick me up in his truck to drive 90 minutes out into the mountains. The rest of the story is written in the blood, sweat, and tears I've left in the dirt since then.

Trace said...

With just one 50-miler and no marathons, does that make me an "ultra runner"? If so, well....

I did three 1/2 marathons in the past 2 years (I just started running 2 years ago), have a history in ultracycling, and then got a wild hair up my rear one day during a 25-mile walk last fall to do a 50-miler. I chose one that had a 5-mile loop, so I knew I was always only 2.5 miles within "help".

I never ever looked at the whole 50 miles - I just had a goal of doing as many sub-one-hour 5 mile loops as possible until I couldn't go anymore. And, I knew not to stop at the aid stations or else I wouldn't get going again. So, I wore a hydration vest and stuffed it with any food I would pick up while in motion thru the aid stations. I completed 50 miles in 10:16 and now I want to do it again! Lisa was my encouragement and said that I could do it, so I never had a doubt!

It was a strange experience, as I didn't know anyone and did not even have a marathon under my belt. I sure felt out of place! But, that buckle sure holds a special place on my shelf! :-)
-Tracy

Kay said...

Why did I think I could finish MdS? Because you told me I could!

The jury is still out on whether I count myself one of the amazing tribe of ultra runners. When I finish GTR, I think I will know.

That being said, MdS was a life changing experience for me and definitely has propelled me into the "could I?" mode on running more than 42.2 K.

Great thread, Lisa!

K

Anonymous said...

Lisa,
Your friend Aran here, when I read that I knew what I was about to read...knowing you...but by god I must tell you that your story just doesn't end there! We all, and I don't want this to come across the same way, but I am sure that deep down in peoples hearts, they must imagine who and what you are...I think I have an idea...but only an idea...someone who deserves the highest of recognition...someone who truly exemplifies what it means to be coach, runner and oh yes mother and spouse...you epitomize it and it must be known....So, perhaps through my writing we can all begin or perhaps start to think again, what it is that we can do to provide Lisa and Jay with the platform they deserve that is higher than the the great platform they have constructed...why you may ask...well...there are so many others out there that will gain and train, or begin to retrain and both are equally important...and Lisa does it with a gift that only a select few will ever know...so thank you Lisa.

Your friend always, Aran

rambn said...

hopefully I am writing that story right now. Although I haven't been able to run in over a year, due to a knee injury, I have been patiently rehabilitating. It's a dream of mine to run ultras, especially Badwater. I currently live in a similar desert climate, so it'll be good training when I'm able.

Good Luck!

cathy said...

A friend who was a massage therapist was crewing for someone who ran Leadville in 1992-1994. The runner she crewed for never finished, but my interest was piqued. It sounded impossibly hard and something I would like to try, but I was not much of a runner and had never even run a marathon. Around 1995 I "gave up" trying to run at 9000ft. A few weeks later I started running 50 yards, then 100 yards, gradually worked up to trail runs close to 20 miles and hoped to do a run from town, 7500ft, to the top of the West Peak, 13600ft, about 26 miles, the next year. I had an accident that fall and knee surgery and was told not to run again. I didn't for several years. Then I decided, to celebrate finishing my second degree I wanted to run a marathon even if it wrecked my knee. I hired Lisa as a coach in early 2006 because not-so-subconsciously I really wanted to do 50 and 100 mile races. Within a few months I ran two marathons and my first 50.

Anonymous said...

I went to crew for a friend, his first 100. It was Vermont 100.
I did not want to crew after about 30 miles, I wanted to run. The next year I ran my first 100 at Vermont and have been running ever since. Such a great sport with some of the best darn people.

Scott

Anonymous said...

I was dared to run a race by my advisor because she wanted me to quit smoking (cigarettes that is). From one addiction to another.
Moogy

Anonymous said...

Lisa you told me I could do 50 miles 50 and I did 50 miles. Still not so sure how in the world you talked me into doing this close to 8 years ago but I have been doing it ever since. You have a way about you that just makes us all feel like we could run to the moon is this is what we wanted to do.
One of my heros you are and always will be.

Keith

Christopher said...

I always liked running, having grown up surrounded by road runners, but ultras were a different story. I kinda assumed I'd end up doing marathons 'cause that seemed "normal" and what everybody did. There was a 100k ultra that my parents and their friends did as a relay, I never gave the solo runners more than a passing thought. Then a spent a couple seasons working at Grand Targhee where the rumors about Lisa's endurance feats would float up from the pool area. The more I heard, the more I felt comfortable running out on the trails before work. After a couple of years of that I tried a 50k trail race to see if I could finish it, and it went really well. From there I really got the bug and decided to run that 100k that my parents used to do on a team even though it was 12 days after my next marathon. That proved to be even more fun, and even though I haven't run an ultra since then, rest assured that I'll be headed down that road once I take care of some 'unfinished business' at the shorter distances. . .

Lisa, thanks for the incredible inspiration and support--without your influence and the way that you've helped expose me to the ultra running community having dreams of races like MDS and Badwater would simply never feel as normal as they do right now.

Becky said...

Lisa, Jay, and Marshall Ulrich tricked me into this ultra running thing! :-) (And I'm very thankful for it because it has truly given me such a different view on life in general).

...It was at the camp in the Tetons a couple of years ago. I had never run more than a marathon, but they believed in me and convinced me that I should run the GTR 50 that was about 3 weeks away. One of the hardest, and most rewarding things I've done. Now, with Lisa's coaching, I've finished a 100 and have new dreams and adventures planned for this year!

Mark "The Naked Runner" said...

My addiction started after doing the Buffalo Springs Lake 70.3 in June of 2006. I had quit smoking after 15 years and my father had had a heart attack. So I got to wondering what would be the best way to out-run a little family history plus the history of smoking. So in 2007 I ran 5 marathons and that distance got boring. So I ran my first 50M at Rocky Raccoon in 2/2008. I have four 50M races on the schedule this year plus a possible 100M at the end of this year. I must have an addictive personality! I love this and the people I've met!

Anonymous said...

Hmm.. well I did my first Ultra (Diez Vistas 50k) on April 5. The weather was variable. As I live in Vancouver, BC and this was one of the worst April's on record, need I say more? The race itself is one tough SOB with the first half of it basically a deer trail. Extreme slopes on severe granite cliffs, roots and rock, etc. We encountered snow falling in the beginning, messing up the trail markings, then freezing rain and the last half of the race was a solid wall of hail making the route very tough.It took me 6.5 hours with 25 mins sitting in the back of a van shivering from the cold as many did. the good thing, 200 entrants (some very notable runners from the Ultra running community in the USA), and 132 finished. Some of those elites quit. So, let me tell you about what kept me motivated while I was out there. I thought about each MDS Dreamchaser as I ran, sat in the van and pushed myself up every freakin hill. If they could do 7 days in the Sahara, so could I do this little race. I'm realising the more I push, the more stuff I discover about myself in ways I never dreamed. I wonder sometimes, are the endorphens a drug or do I just find out a little more of myself each time. It's the latter. My goal is MDS in 2010 as part of the dreamchaser team. I can honestly say, I hope I can can do this, but deep inside, I know I can do it. My next big race will be a 50 miler. Watch out.

Marc Brmner

Vicky said...

I watched Badwater 130 on DVD last week. Although, I don't think I will ever be able to run do that run due to the heat, I do think I have some 50 mile runs in me. My goal is to do 50 miles when I turn 50 (2 years), if not sooner. New to running, but seem to have an unknown ability to go long distances. I have had Crohn's Disease for 18 years (18 feet of intestine removed) and cannot "prepare" for runs as other runners can do. No food for 24 hours before run, NEVER any carbs, fiber, vegies, or fruit (brutal on the intestinal system). But I can RUN...GO FIGURE:). Somehow running makes me feel "normal" and "healthy" if just for a few hours. Did half marathons last season (5) (PR 2:10:32), doing full marathons this season with the occassional 10K thrown in there for giggles, then I will see how the body takes adding milage.

M said...

I got started in ultra-running completely against my will. I was abducted by capri-wearing fanatics and dragged to some town in Texas where everyone's kidneys were destroyed.

Watch out. It could happen to you.