Yes, I Almost Quit Ultramarathons

In my first ultra, a 50k, I felt like I’d opened the door to a secret world - I wanted more.

In my first 100-miler - limping, dirty, exhausted, yet exhilarated - I fell in love before I even crossed the finish line.

I’d found my home.No wonder I wasn’t great at shorter distances. This is where I belonged!

But as with many love stories, the initial infatuation wore off. The more ultras I ran, especially 100s, the more time I spent battling negative thoughts of one kind or another.

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Make a Bad Run Better

On Tuesday evenings, I used to run with a bunch of trail running friends.

We started the same 8-mile route together as a group, and slowly scattered over the first mile or so into faster and slower groupings. We all rejoined in the parking lot and hung out after. It was great fun.

I could always keep up, usually in the lead bunch if I wanted to.

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What I See In You

Standing in a long line at Starbucks the other morning, I got to talking with the woman behind me.

From line-standing niceties, she somehow segued straight into the story of how she’d taken care of her elderly mother as her mother had declined in health and recently died.

It was hard and exhausting. There were moments where she didn’t think she’d make it.

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Feel Like A Fraud?

After more than 30 hours, 25000 feet of climbing, an equal amount of descending, and 100 miles, I crossed the Double Top 100 finish line first, ahead of the three other finishers - all men.

I'd worked hard and had a great run. I was proud of an overall win, but even prouder of the effort. I earned this and it felt great! 

Plus, I had a rare opportunity I might never have again to be able show other women that it was possible to win outright...even at 54. I couldn’t wait to share that!

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Too Busy for Ultra Running?

Think of a closet.

You know the type - things of all sorts have been put in there over the years. Now it’s stuffed to the gills with boxes, bags, and who-knows-what.

Once in a very long while, you open the door and look. You don’t want to take anything out because that would start an avalanche and be a pain to put back. If you feel compelled to empty something, you remove the smallest box, glance at the contents and put it back to do something with later.

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Susan DonnellyBalance/Time