You can expect for a lot of great things to happen when you run and race. You might lose some weight, improve your BMI, increase your endurance, and gain confidence. But lately for me, I’ve been thinking some crazy thoughts – I want to run ultra marathons (any race longer than 26.2 miles) and finish triathlons (races that involve swimming, cycling and running).
After finishing my first marathon (Chicago 2007), I vowed to never run more than one step beyond 26.2 miles. I met several great people through the CARA marathon training program and we talked mostly about running. Back then, I saw swimming and cycling as cross-training options. I also thought ultra marathons were for older runners who want to take their time or type-A crazy people looking for an adrenaline rush. One of the women in our training group is lovingly nick-named “Ultra Jen” because she runs marathons as training workouts for races between 30 and 100 miles. Yes, ONE HUNDRED MILES!
Now let’s fast-forward to 2010. I was day dreaming about a vacation I want to take in about three years – when I turn a certain age. While I was mentally making a list of exotic destinations, I also thought “I want to run an ultra marathon. I think it would be fun to run a 50k (31 miles) or maybe 40 miles to commemorate my birthday.” I actually Googled “40 mile races” and got really excited! I knew the tough part wouldn’t be who would join me but rather which ultra marathon we would run.
I’m still warming up to the triathlon (or “tri”) idea. I haven’t been on a bicycle in several years and I don’t know how to swim. But I won’t let either excuse stop me! Riding a bicycle will be – well, like riding a bicycle. I plan on taking adult swim lessons. Just thinking about the new gear and apparel I will collect is giving me goose bumps! I’m looking forward to getting a new bike and asking my friends (namely Sue, Andie, Katie, Sheila, Tara, and several others) for tips and advice for a new triathlete.
For now, the ultras and triathlons will have to wait until 2011 or later. My primary goal this year is to run the Chicago Marathon in 3:45:59 or faster to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Three years ago, I would’ve thought I was crazy for thinking I could run a 3:45 marathon. But with some experience, consistent training, and support from friends, family and social media, I feel this goal is within reach. Plus, a little day dreaming doesn’t hurt.