An 100 mile ultra is extreme, exceptional, excessive and immense in its undertaking. This is the nature of anything "ultra." An ultra is humbling. It has the potential to break one down in ways that are difficult to explain or recreate in day to day life. An ultra is energizing. The days before a 100 miler are nerve-wracking and exciting and over the top bubbly. The potential of an ultra sends powerful, palpable energy coursing through your veins. Goosebumps appear at unexpected moments. I find myself singing at the top of my lungs and cursing unnecessarily for emphasis. An ultra is a challenge-so many what-ifs, questions, details, logistics and worst of all UNKNOWNS. This is probably my greatest challenge and lesson in undertaking 100 milers- letting go of the fear and the desire to control and just move forward with trust and confidence.
The ultra community I find myself in blows the ultra in 100 miles out of the water. I am surrounded by incredibly exceptional people whose support is excessive and immense. The 100 mile ultra is NOT POSSIBLE without the ultra community. These folks have accomplished extreme achievements of their own- far beyond 100 miles. They inspire me in their ultra actions and the way they reach out to whole-heartedly to support my endeavors. Ultra friends guide you in from 91 miles and tolerate your incessant complaints and hallucinatory descriptions. They get you off the mountain when you are totally and completely bonked and give you candy and take you to coffee and cheeseburgers. The ultra community shows up on run day to give you a good-luck hug at before 5am. They volunteer to travel with you and support your race day efforts. They read your blog. The immense interest and extending of support is humbling.
The ultra community is energizing. Emails, texts and phone messages of support motivate me to give it all I've got. Goodie bags of race day treats, handmade paper medals, "Go Mom" posters and a cd of energizing music get my heart beating a little faster and start the butterflies of anticipation flitting in my gut. The healing treatment of a skilled and caring practitioner invigorates my legs and my confidence and I feel rested and ready. The ultra community really brings it all together.
The challenge of the 100 mile ultra seems do-able because of the ultra community. The uncertainties floating around my brain are quelled by the exceptional support of my ultra family. The advice and good wishes remind me to just put one foot in front of the other- relentless forward progress- and 100 miles is within reach. I know my community will be willing me forward and keeping track of my progress. I am humbled and inspired and extremely grateful for such a gift. This gift will be reciprocated in my involvement and support and participation in the ultra community as an ultra runner and an ultra supporter.
Most of all, this ultra community lifts me up. As corny as it sounds, all of these extremely, exceptional people believe in me... ME? Their kind words and supportive gestures enable me to trust in myself and move forward-one step at a time- in confidence. THANK YOU.