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Am I an ultra runner?

A question I’ve asked myself a lot lately is: Am I an ultra runner? A long distance runner? Or do I prefer shorter trail runs?

I get bored very quickly. It’s part of who I am. Yoga philosophy has a nice explanation for it, which I will share with you soon. When I’m running for 3 hours, I’m done with it. In the beginning it’s fun, but after a couple of hours running gets boring.

I had it during the Brabantse Kluis Trail (32 kilometers), during the Run Forest Run Ommerland Trail (44,5 kilometers) and I have it during my long runs. I mean the trail races I just named were beautiful. All forest, but after a couple of hours a forest is just a forest. So my answer to the question: Am I an ultra runner? would be no.

 

Running euphoria

However, when I was doing my long run in the Ardennes in Spa (33,3 kilometers) I wasn’t bored. Last week I ran the Endurance Life Sussex Ultra (53,2 kilometers) and I wasn’t bored either. Okay, my legs didn’t want to run anymore, but my mind was happy to go on. The scenery was spectacular. If I would have asked myself after the race; Am I an ultra runner? I would have said yes.

RELATED: Mud wrestling at Endurance life Sussex

If you ask me the question today, I am not so sure if I am an ultra runner. The euphoria of last week’s run is still there. I loved every minute of it. It took me 7 hours and 34 minutes to finish that race. That’s 454 minutes. That’s a lot of love.

However, this week I have to start training again. I am looking forward to it, and I am not looking forward to it. I love going out for a run, but I am not looking forward to those training runs of 3 to 4 hours. To be an ultra runner, to be a long distance runner, they are a part of preparing for a big race as well. An important part. Without those long runs, no ultra runs.

 

Keeping it fun

I am trying to keep the very long runs fun, by doing them at races. The Sussex ultra, for example. I am preparing for the Dolomiti Extreme Trail (55 kilometers) in June. Sussex was a test. A training run. Next month I will run the Mighty Marathon at the MUT Trail Festival. That’s a 45 kilometers race, with 1.300 meters of altitude. In May I will run the Eryri 25 kilometers trail at Ultra Trail Snowdonia. That race is only 25 kilometers, but it has 1.300 meters of altitude as well.

RELATED: No Zegama for me, Snowdonia it is

Racing every weekend simply isn’t possible. Just like going away to the Ardennes for example. So I have to find a way to make my long, very long runs fun. If I can’t, well the answer to the question; Am I an ultra runner? is simply no.

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