60 kms Trail Ultra Marathon Race in Progress at a Hill Station....
32-33 kms completed... a.k.a ‘Hit the Wall’ Mark
Body : Please don’t move faster, just complete...knees, quads,...everything hurts
Mind : Yeah I think I should just move slowly to avoid injury
42 kms Done...
Mind : You just completed a Full Marathon and still moving strong, lets push harder now and have a strong finish...just 18 kms to go...
Body : As you say Master...FYI I am feeling great..the pain has vanished and the tempo feels good ...
Such constant tussle between the mind and the body is what makes ultra running such an exciting sport. An Ultra Marathon is a run of any distance beyond the stipulated 42.195 kms for a Full Marathon. An ultra runner transcends into a realm where the fight is within, not with fellow runners on the course, which is exactly what and how life should be – self competition and extending one’s own threshold, challenging oneself to excel beyond one’s perceived and self imposed limits.
The beauty of ultra running is the amount of mental preparation pre race and mental fortitude during the race that a runner exhibits. The preparation and the execution for an ultra marathon is a journey of self discovery: a discovery of one’s soul, thanks to the constant chatter and the self talk that happens during these long and seemingly never ending runs.
Planning and executing training for an ultra run, the ultra runner learns immensely about how the human body and mind functions, how effective nutrition and hydration boosts the race day performance and most importantly, how to squeeze out time from work schedule to train for race day, juggling between professional and social life. One experiences a lifestyle change as one has to discipline his mind and body to overcome the challenge to run an ultra marathon.
The constant support that all runners receive during an ultra marathon, be it from the volunteers at the hydration points or fellow runners is truly a humbling experience. Fellow runners who were strangers before the race started, become great friends post completion, courtesy the pain and fatigue shared enroute and the constant encouragement that one gets from all fellow runners. A realisation of humanity and bonhomie dawns upon a runner during the experience of race day of an ultra marathon.
“Some goals are so worthy, it is glorious even to fail.” This quote is very apt for some of the world’s toughest ultras like the Badwaters 135, Brazil 135, La Ultra, Berkley Ultra wherein even a failure to complete is in itself a humbling and gratifying experience and awakens the never say die warrior within the participant.
In the spiritual realm, it is said that a human being is a combination of mind, body and soul, things which are truly ours from birth till death, rest everything and everyone else is impermanent. Ultra running is a sport to truly engage these three constituents to unchartered territories to achieve a holistic growth in life. It is a form of dynamic meditation.
Wishing all readers many happy and injury free miles in their lives ! Stay Hard !
The author is an amateur ultra endurance enthusiast and has completed several Ultra Marathons & a Half Ironman distance Triathlon. Views expressed are personal. Author can be reached at [email protected]
or nikhil.laish_runn100 at Instagram