Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Why I am Not Running Ultras | What Are My Running Goals?

I value all my running friends.  They have held me up in my lowest of moments (injury and other personal losses) and celebrated all my triumphs since I began running in 2010.  
My running friends come in all shapes, sizes, ages and lifestyles.  We each have found a place in this vast canyon we call “racing”.  Each of us have found goals, PR’s and distances we enjoy doing. Many of my friends are Ultra marathoners.  Not the casual FB friends, but authentic friends whom I speak with on the phone and spend time with, away from the laptop and race course.  When each of them set out to achieve an ultra goal or record, I have many sleepless nights, as I am pacing around the house waiting for the live feed to post their next lap or split.   No matter how many buckles they have, I worry like a mother hen, at every race. When each of them receive their coveted award, I cry at the photo they post on FB.  Every time.   Several of my running friends, carry good luck charms from me.  While I cannot be at their race, they can have a part of me, with them. 
Photo:  Coldwater Rumble 2009
One would think, that with that much ultra influence around me, I would venture into ultra’s.  I am not.  In fact, every time there is a major 100 miler taking place, I am bombarded with implications from many, that I need to try for the belt buckle.  
Please allow to share with you why I have no plans to run an Ultra, in the near future. 
While I am flattered that other athletes believe I possess the skill to run an ultra, it doesn’t interest me, at this time in my life.  My goals are very specific for the next 2-3 years:  

Photo:  BAA
      1. 2014 is my rebuilding, post injury year.  Rebuild both mentally & physically.  My goal is to qualify for Boston in 2015, so I can run the marathon in 2016.  I am 30 minutes away from my BQ time and that was without focused, marathon training, ever.  I want to see how my body will react with dedicated marathon training.  Since I began running in 2010-11, I set a goal to run Boston in 2016, the 120th anniversary.  That goal has not changed.  If I don’t make it in 2016, I will keep trying until I get that unicorn around my neck.  
2    2. Increase my USTAF Masters Ranking from Regional to National. Currently, I am in the top percentage for the 5k, 10k and Half, in the Southwest Region for my Age Group.  My goal is to be ranked in the National Level by the end of 2017, in those distances.  

    3.  Qualify and participate in an USATF Masters Championship race by end of 2017.  I have not decided on the distance. 
These goals, are my personal goals that I will be working towards for the next few years.  That is what makes my heart pound and tick.  Any race, any fitness activity any training is for the achievement of these goals.  Of course, I have to work these goals into my life of family, work, friends and other activities.  I believe I can do it.  If I don't achieve, I will know I have given all I have with no regrets. 

People ask me all the time, “but what about having the fun?
Why do runners think that running fast is not fun?  I don’t understand.  Why must a runner chose between running fast and having “fun”?  I think they go together.  They do for me. 
Ask any person who is working towards a PR and they will tell you that achieving that PR or putting all you have on the course is a blast.  We would not do this, if it was not fun.  Increasing one’s speed is hard work, very hard work.  Months and years of speed work, tempo work, long runs and more.  You can do all the right things and still not achieve your goals.  Just like an Ultra marathoner.  I have a close friend who had two DNF’s in a 100.  It crushed her and I was devastated for her.  She came back with a focus, like no other and is now successfully not only finishing 100’s but placing Overall. 
Running IS fun for me.  Running fast as I can on race, is fun for me.  I do not believe there is only one way to have fun on race day.  Please don’t believe the misconception or lie that running fast is not having fun. 
For those who continue the pursuit of a buckle or other Ultra Marathon goal.  I will be with you in spirit, sitting at my laptop and cheering for you all the way.  I will cry for you when you achieve your goals and as my schedule permits, I might even be at the course cheering you on. 
Running is personal.  Enjoy your personal choices and journey, I know I am.  For now, Ultra’s are not on my radar, but thank you for asking.   That may change, but right now – I see nothing but a unicorn waiting for me in Boston.  

I hope this clarifies and answers everyone’s questions about why I am not racing Ultra’s, at this time.   

(c) C. Ragsdale 2010-13
Run F.A.B. & Boston Strong,

Charlene L. Ragsdale - Las Vegas, NV
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1 comment:

  1. Lots of people tell me to just run for fun and I tell them that I'm having fun but "faster is funner". :)


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