Running your first ultra marathon is no easy feat. As I learned, it is hard on the body and is a challenge that takes an unbelievable amount of commitment.
The First Ultramarathon
My first Ultra Marathon was in Wales during 2014.
It was a 65 km (42 mi) run through the Brecon Beacon hills ⛰️ — a narrow mountain range in South Wales.
I was nervous about the event.
I had never taken on such a run before, so it was a bit outside of my comfort zone.
Nothing Comes Easy
The Brecon Beacon hills are no easy feat. Within the landscape, you will find unpredictable rocky hillsides, steep terrain, and the Pen-y-Fan peak. The peak is southern Britain’s highest point
In fact, it is so wild and rough that these hills contain some of the routes used by special forces for training in operations missions. 😓
Again, no easy feat.
After 10 Marathons, What’s Next?
I booked the ultramarathon because I was looking for the next step beyond what I had already done in terms of running. By this point in my life, I had done about 10 or so American marathons. Now, I was looking for a new challenge.
So I took on the challenge… Even though I wasn’t quite sure how to prepare for it other than simply running longer distances. 🏃
Early Morning Risin’
I was living in Northolt at the time of the booking and immediately went out to buy some training Nikes I could use for longer runs.
I began charging around on the grass and doing about 3 to 4 hour runs at least a couple times a week. My days started early at 6:30 AM and I would run until 10:30-11:00 AM.
Yeah, it was tiring.
One of the biggest challenges with an ultra marathon is trying to cross this great distance in a relatively short amount of time. The problem with undertaking a challenge like this is that training for the event can be monotonous and boring.
To be honest, it’s something that you have to have to put a lot of effort into managing just to get through.
Bottom line, it takes commitment. 💪
Dealing with the Toll it Takes on the Body
When committing to something of this magnitude one has to understand the toll it takes on the body.
This type of running can really, and I mean REALLY, wear the body down.
In order to stay in proper health, you have to make sure you’re giving your yourself the right care during training. This means being diligent about right kinds of nutrients you’re consuming. It means having a high caloric intake to equate to the amount of running that you’re doing. ✔️
In training for the ultramarathon, I was attempting to push my body into unknown territory. So, the care I needed to put into my health during this time was another challenge all it’s own.
Time to Prep
The prepping didn’t stop at early mornings, hours of running, and nutrition.
I remember looking at the instructions for the ultra marathon and it saying I needed:
- a headlight 💡
- a map 🗺️
- a whistle ⚠️
- and other things to prevent your body from breaking down
The purpose of these instructions was meant to account for some of these worst case scenarios during the event. Given the terrain and the stain on the body, things can go wrong.
This was yet another thing I needed to take into account during training: there are dangerous variables to consider.
After months of training, calculating and considering– I was ready.
Ready. Set. GO.
It was a great experience heading on the train to the Brecon Beacons– I couldn’t help the excitement. And it was a thrill checking in to the hotel where most of the people running the event were staying.
It was a 5 AM start the next day for the run.
There we were, all gathered around and ready to go– 100 of us in total.
I remember it being a cold, chilly morning. Which isn’t surprising because Wales in winter is not a nice place to be, especially in the Brecon Beacons.
It ended up being a 68K run. 🙀 And I am happy to say I completed it without anything going the wrong