Monday, April 2, 2012

The beginning

It wasn't until recently that I even considered myself a runner, let alone someone with the goal of running a 100-mile ultramarathon. I hated running. I did it when I was required, and being a military man, I've been required to do a significant amount. Even still, I would say I averaged maybe 4-5 "forced" miles a week. By forced, I mean I ran them because I was required, not because I chose to do so.

For some reason, all that changed about 8 months ago (August 2011). While I was deployed, confined to a ship for 10 1/2 months, I went stir crazy. As a Marine aboard a Navy ship for a deployment, I didn't really have a day-to-day job, so I had nothing but time. That's where things changed. That's right, while I was deployed, confined to a ship in the middle of the ocean for the better part of a year, I decided to take up running; not exactly the prime location, but it worked out great for me.

I'm sure it had something to do with boredom, maybe it was being confined in a small space with nowhere to go, or maybe it was something else, I'm not really sure. But, one day, of my own free will, I hopped on a treadmill for a run. It was probably only around 2-3 miles, but I didn't hate it. So I did it again the next day, and the next day. I continued doing it about 5-6 days a week since then. It's amazing, that when you don't have to do something, you actually enjoy it more if you decide to do it yourself. I found that when I could do it at my own pace, for as long or as short as I wanted, I loved to run. And that's really where it started...

From that point on, I started researching running more. I even started wearing Vibram Five Fingers to run in on some days. The more I started researching running and different techniques and styles to get better at it, the more I saw about the minimalist movement.

What appealed most to me about the minimalist movement wasn't just the lightweight, low drop footwear, but the ideology behind it. The idea to be more of a part of nature and your surroundings through running. I've always liked being in the outdoors, and the more I thought about it, I really couldn't find a better way to take it all in than on my own two feet, so it just made sense to me.

Then I started reading some books, and I have to say, the first "running" book I read was Born to Run. The book didn't get me into running, but it definitely motivated me to continue. The seemingly "super-human" feats the runners in that book accomplished was very attractive to me. It really changed my outlook not just on running, but honestly, on how I wanted to live my day to day life from then on out, and I've really been trying to do so since.

The first person I read about doing this thing called an "UltraMarathon" was Marshall Ulrich, and it was purely by a lucky google search. I read an article somewhere about his Badwater Quad, and it blew my mind that someone could run that far. Then I did more and more research, and learned about all the ultramarathons out there, and decided that I wanted to do one. I've been sticking to that path ever since. Slowly but surely, I'll work my way to an ultra, and eventually a 100 miler, maybe more.

Since I started really getting into running last August, I've logged probably 1000 miles. I ran my first 10k trail race last weekend, and I'm about to jump up to a trail half-marathon. Hoping to run a 50k at least by this time next year, if not sooner.

This blog will be my daily, or weekly updates on training, running, thinking, and family; and probably just as important, the balance between them all. I've got a long way to go, but I've come pretty far...

And so it begins...the Journey to the Ultra.

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