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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.

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.

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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