ultra runners

all I want is to find a nice, tall, handsome, ultra runner who wants to go on runcations and runventures and road trips to Canada and Vermont and PNW for trail running festivals and races and we can crew for each other and eat all of the snickers and flat coke and have a race team and be that wicked awesome sponsored ultra couple who takes on 50k and 50 milers every weekend and make it look easy and also just run together all the time but also apart because i feel like independence is super important but also having real, genuine support from someone who cares deeply about you and your shared passions and I don’t feel like I’m asking too much here tbh, like I can’t be the only one thinking like this.

Hi. I’m Chelsea. Wanna go for a run sometime?

10

22 Miles on Saturday

Maine is neat. I live in a neat place. I live in a place where I can run across a series of islands with incredible views and I think that’s neat as hell.

Overcast for most of the run, but still beautiful. It was about 40ºF. Took my long sleeve off 2 miles in, and ran in a singlet+gloves while wearing my Salomon vest.  Really surprised with my splits. To be honest, there was a hell of a lot of stopping and walking. I wanted to go out, enjoy my long run, and not feel like I was on the verge of death, so I walked, and I’m okay with that. 

3 weeks out from my first 50k race of the year. Glad to get the miles in, but really need to spend some time on the trails. It’s still snowy out which makes it tough, but I’m going to have to find another way to suffer through it, because that 3 weeks is coming up quick. Woof.

the psychology of ultra marathons

Running ultras has changed my outlook on life in a lot of ways.  When you transform from a sedentary lifestyle and the inability to even run a mile on a treadmill to going 50+ miles on foot through the mountains, you remove the concept of “impossibility” from your thinking.  When I first moved to San Diego 9 years ago, a half mathon was impossible.  Then a full marathon was impossible.  Then 50 miles was impossible.  Now I have a dozen ultra-marathons under my belt and I’m a month away from trying 66 linear miles and 2 vertical miles of climbing at 8000-12000 feet in the colorado mountains.  And while the numbers still seem crazy, nothing about it seems remotely impossible.

This new outlook applies in a lot of areas.  When I was cripplingly afraid of heights a couple of months ago, I still felt pretty confident that I could work my way through it (and I did).  When I was doing parkour last winter, I was confident that with a little bit of practice I could do flips - something that I’d never come close to doing in my life (I did).  And while I don’t really have time for it, I have no doubt that with some work I could learn to play an instrument, speak a foreign language, or just about anything else.  Maybe not at an elite level.  But if I really wanted to climb Yosemite someday and wanted to devote the effort to training for it, I could do it.

Along with this is knowing that failure is required to get better.  I spent most of my young life afraid to try new things in front of other people because I didn’t want to fail in public.  I never once was on an organized team of any sort in school because I didn’t want to fail and let down my team.  I sat out of baseball in PE because the thought of striking out was too much.  I still struggle with trying something completely new in front of a crowd.  But I’m forcing myself to do it.  Both because I know that it takes effort to succeed at anything worth doing and because I want to set an example for my kids.  I sometimes feel like I wasted a big portion of my life taking the easy route (and playing too many video games).  I really want to see what my kids are capable of if they’re fearless and know that hard work can get them anywhere that they want to go.

I don’t even have time to get into the concept of what running ultras does for your pain tolerance and the ability to keep pushing when you’re uncomfortable and deflated.

I’ve had a lot of people ask me why I subject myself to that kind of punishment.  And I’ve never really had a profound answer (other than I like being outside, I like the level of fitness require for ultra endurance sports, etc).  But the psychological impact is huge and lasting and a real benefit to everyday life.