The Ultra 4/5 (The Countdown is On)

This is the last post I will put up before The Ultra. It’s in less than one week. In one week, at this time, The Ultra event will have been concluded.

It is still unknown whether I will have been there.

This is something that is why this event is significant and terrifying to me. I have to acknowledge a few realities about next weekend.

  • I could have a seizure in my sleep or right when I wake up and never even have the opportunity to lace up my sneakers.
  • My injury (any of them) could flare up and I have to stop before even getting to the one kilometer mark.
  • In the entire week upcoming, I could be injured, emotionally or physically, and I am thrown off my ability to endure a new challenge.
  • There could be a change in the pandemic and the race is postponed or cancelled.

There are some other realities.

  • I could have a seizure in my sleep that is minor enough that I can still race.
  • My injuries don’t flare up. I’ve made efforts for the last four weeks to do yoga and stretch and be super gentle with myself and they may not even show up.
  • I might retain that my ability to persevere in the face of adversity is stronger than my willingness to give up.

There’s also the ongoing concern with pride, which I discussed previously. My pride is not so much that I am prepared to cause enough damage that I have to stop running forever. I may be stubborn and may be ready to push through a little bit of pain but I am not willing to cause irreversible damage. I’m not doing this to come in first. I’m not even doing this to come in last. I’m doing this to know that I tried. That I wanted to complete this new challenge and tried. If I can’t finish, I can always try again next time.

One piece of advice I received was to withdraw (or just not show up) and wait for a time that I am really ready for this race. Really well trained. Really prepared. No injuries, no distractions. I completely disagree. Not just because I like being obstinate. I just know that I can never guarantee that there will ever be a time that I am “really ready” for a race. Anything, actually. I don’t know that I will ever be “really ready” for anything. I registered for my first ultramarathon to be a 75km run in 2020. At the time, I was running half- and full marathon distances on a frequent enough basis to know that although it would take training, I could do 75. Then there was a global pandemic.

Now it’s nearing the end of 2021 and I am facing a 50km run. Less than a week to go and I haven’t fully run more than 30km in one go since 2020. I am not “really ready”. Yet, if I was to wait until that time, I may never race. I can never guarantee anything except this exact moment now. Right up until the morning of The Ultra, I will not be “really ready”. Regardless of training, injuries, distractions. I will still be epileptic. So I cannot discount the possibility that I will have a seizure that will cause a change in plans.

That knowledge is actually powerful to me. It’s motivating. It’s grounding. It’s a reminder that I am not perfect, but my intentions are. It’s the understanding that my brain is an entity that might decide to fire off some electricity. It’s the awareness that my body has its own strengths and weakness. Most importantly, it is the knowledge that my mind is motivating me, encouraging me, inspiring me to try this.

I’m not doing The Ultra to win. I’m not even doing The Ultra to start. I’m doing The Ultra because I want to. It’s not my readiness or my limitations. It’s not my endurance or my restrictions. It’s my passion. It’s my goal. It’s because I want to try and am willing to put myself out there to do so.

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