Why Run An Ultramarathon? To Find A Taller Peak…

by | Nov 6, 2018

I know what it’s like to fall asleep while running.

I’ve rested my hands on my knees as I trudged up a rugged trail, 90 miles from the starting line, wondering where the race had gone wrong.

I’ve stumbled around roots and rocks in the dark, praying that the sun would offer some renewed energy to my footsteps.

And I’ve ‘reached the summit;’ I ran (power-hiked?) 100 miles.

I remember crossing a wide, concrete bridge and seeing signs of the impending finish. Chalk art teased my imagination with promised relief from the Wicked Trail. Cars -civilization- hurried about in the morning sun.

I remember the emotions as I waddled toward the finish line of my first 100 mile race; it was a high that lasted for a few days.

I remember how my ankles, my feet, my hip flexors, and my hamstrings deeply ached for rest; it was muscular pain I hadn’t ever experienced before.

And I remember the awe of the whole ordeal when I saw the spectators and race crew, and my own crew, waiting. I would be the last finisher to receive my belt buckle with barely 9 minutes to spare; it wasn’t the way I had envisioned my first 100 mile ultra marathon.

We’re going to give you the tools to Go Farther, Run Faster, and Live Stronger.

All in ONE weekly email!
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I didn’t think I would have to race the clock for 30 miles, fighting pain and frustration the entire way. I didn’t think I would spend 6 hours on a technical 16-mile stretch of trail. I didn’t think I would be projected to miss the cutoff at mile 92.

And I didn’t think the finish line of the Burning River 100 in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, would offer the most incredible view I’d ever seen.

It wasn’t snowy mountains or lush valleys I saw. It wasn’t a small mountain town coming to life to celebrate the finishing of an endurance race. It wasn’t a sunrise or sunset over the fall colors of a forest.

In fact, it was hardly scenic.

People milled about, but as stragglers and the final battered who-knows-if-they’ll-make-it runners appeared over a concrete hill, the life of the party faded. The brewery where the race ended became more of a final aid station; runners laid about in various stages of recovery.

I closed my eyes and saw what I had been running for, the incredible view.

As I faded between consciousness and a deep, calm sleep, I kept seeing, or dreaming about, a Taller Peak.

When I opened my eyes, it was gone. I was again surrounded by the quiet hum of a brewery-turned-aid-station.

“Do you want a beer?”

“Absolutely not.”

I closed my eyes again and began to examine what lay before me, this Taller Peak, this incredible view.

That Taller Peak was a mountain of opportunity; what’s nextWhat else can you doYou’ve summited the mountain of your first 100-mile race. There is much more out there. Start climbing.

The Burning River 100 had been my goal, my peak to summit, for quite some time; I didn’t know that in finishing it, I would only realize how small a mountain it was.

I hadn’t before climbed such a mountain, accomplished such a feat; I hadn’t before had the view I now entertained as I lay in the parking lot.

I opened my eyes and saw a blue sky and heard the sounds of spectators and runners mingling.

I closed my eyes and again I was on top of a beautiful mountain, the peak of my accomplishment. I could look around the mountain and see many others through the clouds and trees.

There is so much more out there. What else am I capable of?

Where I sat now, the finish line of my first 100-mile race, took from me what I didn’t know I had and showed me what I didn’t know I was missing.

I was missing this view. Many people are missing this view.

In the 6 weeks prior to the race, I only ran 7 times; none of those 7 runs were over 5 miles. [Read more about this: How Not To Train For An Ultramarathon]

You can’t even call it ‘training,’ but it was the recipe for finishing the race and learning a lot.

What if I hadn’t suffered the last 30 miles?

What if I hadn’t even started, citing my poor training?

What if, when I was projected to miss the cutoff at mile 92, I had stopped climbing the mountain?

What if I had given up and left my goal for another day?

Who would I be right now?

I had a choice to make. As I lay there on top of this metaphorical mountain, this peak of accomplishment, I pondered how many people stayed here. Out of the small percentage of people who commit themselves to the mountain of their goal, how many stop when they reach it?

How many people crush a challenge, or stumble across the finish line of a monumental endeavor, and rest in their victory?

How many goal-crushing, adventure-pursuing, unrealistic-living, badass individuals settle on the first, second, or even third peak?

How much potential and opportunity is lost on those who reach a goal but fail to look around, to take in the view, to see the Taller Peak?

I didn’t miss it; I saw it looming in the distance, towering over the forest.

It was many miles away, down a dark and twisted Wicked Trail. I knew adventure and challenge lay ahead. I didn’t want to exist in alignment with those who summit their own peaks, accomplish their goals, and rest in victory.

The Taller Peak is too far away!

Look what I’ve accomplished; that’s enough!

Now life will be easier and kinder to me!

Let me rest here!

I had to get back on the Wicked Trail.

That’s what ultrarunning, especially jumping in and running your first ultramarathon, is all about: attaining a vantage point that allows you to see all of the opportunity the world offers you.

Few people climb the mountain, reach their own peak, accomplish their own goal; it’s not easy, and it’s not supposed to be.

To those that do, those who venture down dark trails and explore twisted forests, those who pursue their passions and reject comfort: find the Taller Peak.

Close your eyes and examine your vantage point; the world is full of opportunity.

You are uniquely qualified to experience greatness.

Climb the mountain. Find a Taller Peak.

Written by: George C.

Written by: George C.

Writer, Wicked Trail Running

When he's not running with his Cattle Dog, Cowboy, in Raleigh, North Carolina, George likes to kick back and keep the content on Wicked Trail Running fresh and engaging. He's got a few Ultras coming up in 2019, so if you need to get in touch with him, the local parks and greenways around Raleigh are a good place to start looking.

He really doesn't like cooking, so if you've got any quick vegan smoothie ideas or recipes, shoot an email to george@wickedtrailrunning.com. He also enjoys talking about running, mental toughness, and the art of mindset alteration.

Follow George on Instagram @georgecarterc!

Book of the Month:

Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds is a dive into the demons that plagued David Goggins -elite ultra endurance athlete and Navy SEAL- through his early life and an exploration of what it took for him to become a master of his own mind against all statistical odds. His tools for mental stimulation and growth are useful for anyone interested in venturing into endurance sports, becoming a better person, and mastering his or her mind. A must read!

Light 2 Light 50 Race Report: First Ultra Marathon Victory

Ultra marathon running isn't about winning, unless it is. Ultra marathon running is subjective; a person's journey through the darkness, down the Wicked Trail, is driven by his or her own passions, fears, and desires. This journey into pain is driven by his or her own...

Ultra Marathon Training: Crush Expectations

Most people running their first, or second, or third ultra marathon carry expectations into the race. They had training expectations; they planned the miles and hours they'd have to train, running and strengthening and stretching their way to ultra endurance. When...

Fasted Running Is Your Best Friend: 3 Reasons To Try It

For thirteen miles, I felt invincible. For the final three, I wasn't sure I'd finish. I felt like I did near the end of my first 100 mile race, although with much less lower body-body pain. It was an ultra marathon replication. I smiled during those long, arduous...

The Best Ultra Marathons: Is Yours On The List?

"What's the best ultra marathon?" Is it the most remote or adventurous like Marathon des Sables, the most challenging like Badwater or the H.U.R.T 100, or is it simply your first 100 miler, the one that breaks you into the world of ultra-endurance? Is it the race that...

Ultra Marathon DNF: Yes, You Failed. Yes, It’s Okay.

I was perusing some online ultramarathon running groups last weekend and came across a post about DNFs in ultrarunning. DNF stands for "Did Not Finish;" the participants name is not published and no belt buckle is awarded. The DNF is dreaded by many as hot-spots and...

UltraMarathon Pain Management: The Pain Cave

What is your perspective on ultramarathon running? Adventurous and exhilarating? Calming and therapeutic? Full of pain and suffering? Pain management has much to do with your perspective on running an ultramarathon. What is your perspective? Why do you run an...

share this post

Why Run An Ultramarathon? To Find A Taller Peak…

by | Nov 6, 2018

I know what it’s like to fall asleep while running.

I’ve rested my hands on my knees as I trudged up a rugged trail, 90 miles from the starting line, wondering where the race had gone wrong.

I’ve stumbled around roots and rocks in the dark, praying that the sun would offer some renewed energy to my footsteps.

And I’ve ‘reached the summit;’ I ran (power-hiked?) 100 miles.

 We’re going to give you the tools to Go Farther, Run Faster, and Live Stronger.

All in ONE weekly email!
Sign up NOW to receive weekly posts!

 

 

I remember crossing a wide, concrete bridge and seeing signs of the impending finish. Chalk art teased my imagination with promised relief from the Wicked Trail. Cars -civilization- hurried about in the morning sun.

I remember the emotions as I waddled toward the finish line of my first 100 mile race; it was a high that lasted for a few days.

I remember how my ankles, my feet, my hip flexors, and my hamstrings deeply ached for rest; it was muscular pain I hadn’t ever experienced before.

And I remember the awe of the whole ordeal when I saw the spectators and race crew, and my own crew, waiting. I would be the last finisher to receive my belt buckle with barely 9 minutes to spare; it wasn’t the way I had envisioned my first 100 mile ultra marathon.

I didn’t think I would have to race the clock for 30 miles, fighting pain and frustration the entire way. I didn’t think I would spend 6 hours on a technical 16-mile stretch of trail. I didn’t think I would be projected to miss the cutoff at mile 92.

And I didn’t think the finish line of the Burning River 100 in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, would offer the most incredible view I’d ever seen.

It wasn’t snowy mountains or lush valleys I saw. It wasn’t a small mountain town coming to life to celebrate the finishing of an endurance race. It wasn’t a sunrise or sunset over the fall colors of a forest.

In fact, it was hardly scenic.

People milled about, but as stragglers and the final battered who-knows-if-they’ll-make-it runners appeared over a concrete hill, the life of the party faded. The brewery where the race ended became more of a final aid station; runners laid about in various stages of recovery.

I closed my eyes and saw what I had been running for, the incredible view.

As I faded between consciousness and a deep, calm sleep, I kept seeing, or dreaming about, a Taller Peak.

When I opened my eyes, it was gone. I was again surrounded by the quiet hum of a brewery-turned-aid-station.

“Do you want a beer?”

“Absolutely not.”

I closed my eyes again and began to examine what lay before me, this Taller Peak, this incredible view.

That Taller Peak was a mountain of opportunity; what’s nextWhat else can you doYou’ve summited the mountain of your first 100-mile race. There is much more out there. Start climbing.

The Burning River 100 had been my goal, my peak to summit, for quite some time; I didn’t know that in finishing it, I would only realize how small a mountain it was.

I hadn’t before climbed such a mountain, accomplished such a feat; I hadn’t before had the view I now entertained as I lay in the parking lot.

I opened my eyes and saw a blue sky and heard the sounds of spectators and runners mingling.

I closed my eyes and again I was on top of a beautiful mountain, the peak of my accomplishment. I could look around the mountain and see many others through the clouds and trees.

There is so much more out there. What else am I capable of?

Where I sat now, the finish line of my first 100-mile race, took from me what I didn’t know I had and showed me what I didn’t know I was missing.

I was missing this view. Many people are missing this view.

In the 6 weeks prior to the race, I only ran 7 times; none of those 7 runs were over 5 miles. [Read more about this: How Not To Train For An Ultramarathon]

You can’t even call it ‘training,’ but it was the recipe for finishing the race and learning a lot.

What if I hadn’t suffered the last 30 miles?

What if I hadn’t even started, citing my poor training?

What if, when I was projected to miss the cutoff at mile 92, I had stopped climbing the mountain?

What if I had given up and left my goal for another day?

Who would I be right now?

I had a choice to make. As I lay there on top of this metaphorical mountain, this peak of accomplishment, I pondered how many people stayed here. Out of the small percentage of people who commit themselves to the mountain of their goal, how many stop when they reach it?

How many people crush a challenge, or stumble across the finish line of a monumental endeavor, and rest in their victory?

How many goal-crushing, adventure-pursuing, unrealistic-living, badass individuals settle on the first, second, or even third peak?

How much potential and opportunity is lost on those who reach a goal but fail to look around, to take in the view, to see the Taller Peak?

I didn’t miss it; I saw it looming in the distance, towering over the forest.

It was many miles away, down a dark and twisted Wicked Trail. I knew adventure and challenge lay ahead. I didn’t want to exist in alignment with those who summit their own peaks, accomplish their goals, and rest in victory.

The Taller Peak is too far away!

Look what I’ve accomplished; that’s enough!

Now life will be easier and kinder to me!

Let me rest here!

I had to get back on the Wicked Trail.

That’s what ultrarunning, especially jumping in and running your first ultramarathon, is all about: attaining a vantage point that allows you to see all of the opportunity the world offers you.

Few people climb the mountain, reach their own peak, accomplish their own goal; it’s not easy, and it’s not supposed to be.

To those that do, those who venture down dark trails and explore twisted forests, those who pursue their passions and reject comfort: find the Taller Peak.

Close your eyes and examine your vantage point; the world is full of opportunity.

You are uniquely qualified to experience greatness.

Climb the mountain. Find a Taller Peak.

Written by: George C.

Written by: George C.

Writer, Wicked Trail Running

When he's not running with his Cattle Dog, Cowboy, in Raleigh, North Carolina, George likes to kick back and keep the content on Wicked Trail Running fresh and engaging. He's got a few Ultras coming up in 2019, so if you need to get in touch with him, the local parks and greenways around Raleigh are a good place to start looking.

He really doesn't like cooking, so if you've got any quick vegan smoothie ideas or recipes, shoot an email to george@wickedtrailrunning.com. He also enjoys talking about running, mental toughness, and the art of mindset alteration.

Follow George on Instagram @georgecarterc!

Book of the Month:

Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds is a dive into the demons that plagued David Goggins -elite ultra endurance athlete and Navy SEAL- through his early life and an exploration of what it took for him to become a master of his own mind against all statistical odds. His tools for mental stimulation and growth are useful for anyone interested in venturing into endurance sports, becoming a better person, and mastering his or her mind. A must read!

Light 2 Light 50 Race Report: First Ultra Marathon Victory

Ultra marathon running isn't about winning, unless it is. Ultra marathon running is subjective; a person's journey through the darkness, down the Wicked Trail, is driven by his or her own passions, fears, and desires. This journey into pain is driven by his or her own...

Ultra Marathon Training: Crush Expectations

Most people running their first, or second, or third ultra marathon carry expectations into the race. They had training expectations; they planned the miles and hours they'd have to train, running and strengthening and stretching their way to ultra endurance. When...

Fasted Running Is Your Best Friend: 3 Reasons To Try It

For thirteen miles, I felt invincible. For the final three, I wasn't sure I'd finish. I felt like I did near the end of my first 100 mile race, although with much less lower body-body pain. It was an ultra marathon replication. I smiled during those long, arduous...

The Best Ultra Marathons: Is Yours On The List?

"What's the best ultra marathon?" Is it the most remote or adventurous like Marathon des Sables, the most challenging like Badwater or the H.U.R.T 100, or is it simply your first 100 miler, the one that breaks you into the world of ultra-endurance? Is it the race that...

Ultra Marathon DNF: Yes, You Failed. Yes, It’s Okay.

I was perusing some online ultramarathon running groups last weekend and came across a post about DNFs in ultrarunning. DNF stands for "Did Not Finish;" the participants name is not published and no belt buckle is awarded. The DNF is dreaded by many as hot-spots and...

UltraMarathon Pain Management: The Pain Cave

What is your perspective on ultramarathon running? Adventurous and exhilarating? Calming and therapeutic? Full of pain and suffering? Pain management has much to do with your perspective on running an ultramarathon. What is your perspective? Why do you run an...

share this post

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