Ready For My Next Ultra Race Or Am I?!

IMG_8088“Appreciation is born through struggle.” – Unknown

A week to go, then I’ll run my third trail Ultra. I haven’t trained like I planned, life got in the way of it all. But does that even matter?

Lately I’ve been talking and heard people talking more about running than probably ever before. I am surrounded by passionate people who have goals and races they want to conquer and push themselves to. They are about pace and times, they love the things that make me cringe.

I’ve also felt at times like I am on the defense side of talking about how I run. Or why I even run. Why don’t I want to be faster? Or why don’t I want to run more road races. In another way it’s been really interesting to hear other peoples views about this whole thing. We all have our reasons, we all have gone through different paths to be where we are now. And to me, the person who is the last in the race is even more amazing than the one winning or able to run crazy fast time. Do you know what it takes to be the last? I do.

After Fyr til Fyr, I wanted to do better, I wanted to be better, I wanted to be stronger and figure out the things that went wrong there. I had a plan, for the first time ever. I started it, while knowing that I need to move my life to Copenhagen for myself. I was excited and terrified at the same time, still am. But then life started happening, more and more, and my free spirited self didn’t want to have a plan to follow and take the enjoyment out of the one thing that keeps me sane in the time of confusion. So in a way I threw that plan out the window and just enjoyed the ride.

This past week I’ve been asked about my race next week a lot, and I’ve kind of been just like yeah all good, I’m ready. Until last Monday I checked my calendar and realized that oops, it’s next week. Oh well, that’s me. That also shows how I’ve been happily just living my life, with all the ups and downs, and running on feeling. But then it came, that feeling of what I am doing in a week? I hadn’t checked the race or anything to do with it in a really long time. I just knew that I had a little run to do on that one Saturday on that small island.

I started questioning myself and what I’m doing, am I really ready, or have I done any of the things I wanted after Fyr til Fyr? Have I? Hmmm, I have no idea.

Well, that’s not completely true. I know I’m ready, mentally I’m really open and strong, even stronger than I was at the last race, that ripped me open and cleared my head. I think that’s something I’m really waiting, the ripping even more open and showing me what’s inside of me and what I really want from myself and my life. Physically I’m way stronger than I was last time, really, not because I’ve been doing what I was supposed to, but because I’ve given my body the time it needs to get better and stronger. I’ve ran with crazy tired legs and embraced the discomfort. And I know that it’s only temporary, if I do it all smart. Not over. I’ve also face planted twice in the last week, with good amount of cuts and bruises covering my body. So whatever is coming, I’m pretty much ready. Lovely, tanned girly summer legs are gone already… The ones that show that I’ve lived and hopefully learned are here :).IMG_8019

I’ve been reading a lot about different runners lately, how so many amazing Ultra runners have burned themselves completely out with having the pressure of their peers pushing the level higher and higher. I’ll attach this amazing article about over training in the end of this piece.

But the thing is, what I’ve learned the hard way, that if we really don’t listen to our bodies, they will stop us, one way or another. I injured myself with over training badly about two years ago, and I was out from running for a good three months. A time that made me face myself in a whole new way. I could either collapse under it all or I could learn what’s going on in my body and be smarter in the future. That was also the time when I promised to myself that running is what I do, not who I am. Something that I think is pretty crucial, even though without running I wouldn’t be here anymore. But it can’t be this lifeline for us.

“If you’re disappointed by running, then it’s not running that you’re actually disappointed, it’s yourself. You have to love who you are, because it’s what you got, it’s all you got. And you have to be grateful for that as well, I’m learning.” – Anna Frost  

The runners that I look up to, or feel kindred spirit to, are the ones who’ve struggled with something in their lives and came from that with a new view on this all. Anna Frost is definitely one of them. There’s a video from Salomon about her and her search for home, something I know quite well. The way she speaks about the search and how her over training got her in such a bad place that she didn’t know how to get out and didn’t want to run at all, makes me cry every time I see that clip. Sometimes someone can explain exactly how you feel, and it hits you so hard and deep that the tears just fall.

In the same way as I felt when I watched Sally Mcraes Western States journey, one of my favorite running films. The way she’s gone through things in her life, makes me feel like I’m not alone. And that’s really important. Both of those inspirational ladies talk about way more than just running. And that is the thing that is important to me.

Also the fact that they both look like me, in that sense that they are muscular and curvy and real woman without looking too dry, and for me to see women like they are is super important.

So the same gut feeling that I had when I knew that I need to move back to Copenhagen, it’s exactly the same about running Ultra distances just when I started running. I knew back then that I have that kind of tenacity in me, a side that’s willing to dig deep and go to those places where it’s not too nice, but so very real. I might never be as good as some people doing those, but I do not care. I’m doing it for myself, to peel those layers off and be open to who is under all of them.IMG_8077

The me that I have been after that last race, has been a lot to take. I’ve really been so honest and open and loving as I was straight after the race. It’s a state of being that is not the easiest all the time. In the little time that I’ve been in Copenhagen, I’ve gone through things and emotions, that make this time feel so much longer than it’s really been. I still wouldn’t change any of them away, I rather be willing to get hurt than not live. I am willing to feel the discomfort of uncertainty than be in control. I am willing to still love until I know that it’s not right. I am willing to miss the ones that I love the most, to show myself that I am filled with good and love. I am willing to get mad and let it all out, but I am also so very proud of myself for being me to the fullest. I am definitely living like I wanted, with all that I have. That’s how I’ve been running too, with all those emotions rushing through me. From frustration to anger to blissfully happy to exhaustion that makes you realize you’ve gone way over your own limits, and ending up being so proud of it all.

Next weekends race, I have no idea how it’s going to go. I don’t have a time goal, I learned from the last that anything can happen. I do want to finish the race, under the 9 hour cut off time. I do want to have fun and see what’s around me. I do want to enjoy what it has in store for me. So I am ready for it, when I really think about it, I am ready.

“If you wish to be a warrior, prepare to get broken. If you wish to be and explorer, prepare to get lost. If you wish to be a lover, prepare to be both.”

PMA ❤

Running on Empty – Over Training article on Outside Online

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