The time off has found me (re)exploring the beautiful town of Santa Barbara. I've also had a lot of time to read. Currently, I'm reading a book about diet, a book about coaching, and, you guessed it, a book about running. I love having the opportunity to learn new ideas from experts in these fields; some of their ideas I'm adopting into my own life, and others I'm throwing away as soon as my eyes pass over the words on the page.
Today's post comes from thoughts I'm developing from combining reading and the exploration of Santa Barbara. I'm looking into local races in the future, reading about the great trail runs that are so close, I'm seeing beautiful photos like the ones on Scott Jurek's Instagram, and I'm seeing race updates from iRunFar. I want in on this ultrarunning thing.
Nothing in my background indicates that I'll be super successful at it. In high school I was an all state sprinter, and my time running in college saw me go no further than half a mile on the track. Not once did I complete an 8k (our standard distance) race in my lone season of cross country. But I still want to do it.
Am I being irresponsible? I have somewhat of a "gift" in running shorter distances of 5k's and 10k's. I tend to place towards the top of my age group in local races, so why would I "waste" what I have to go on and try something that, on paper, doesn't look like it'll work out?
I do have a history of making decisions that don't make sense on paper, and finding that they were great decisions. I moved abroad for 10 weeks with a group of people I hadn't met before; I moved to Santa Barbara (the first time), enrolled in a school I couldn't afford, and joined the track team after not competing for two years. My last two moves (the current one included) I signed a lease without having a job or much money saved up. So, it's a thing I do. I take dumb chances, and they always end up going great for me.
Do I make the dumb chance to begin ultra running once I'm back from this Achilles injury? I was 5ish weeks into my twelve week training plan for a half marathon in October. Now, I'm not sure I want to do it because I'm missing so much time. I know I won't be at my best, and If I don't hit my goal, I'd be bummed.
I'm not set on one way or the other. This fascination with ultrarunning could wear off before I'm even able to put foot to pavement (or trail) again. But the idea of it sure is exciting.
What are your thoughts on choosing which race distance to train for? I suppose that this ties in with my post from a few weeks ago. Do you make your choice on what to train for because you're good at it? Because you can win races? Because it's a challenge? To be social? Or because, on paper, it's not realistic?
I'd love to hear your thoughts.