Why Run 50 Miles?

When I tell people about my goal to complete a 50 mile endurance event, the “why” question seems to be always stated or implied.  I think this is a sensible question, especially for the “weekend athlete.”  After all, isn’t the marathon (26.2 miles) far enough?  The marathon is the classic distance for endurance sports aficionados who want to “overachieve.”  So, why do more?

For me, it wasn’t that I wanted something “more,” it was that I wanted something “different.”  I’ve run two marathons.  The first one I was completely undertrained for and was a miserable experience for the most part.  I ran another one for two reasons:  my daughter wanted us to get in shape and complete a marathon, and, I needed to conquer the demons of the previous effort.  My daughter and I succeeded on both accounts.

After this, I really wanted to take on a challenge that was bigger than I really thought I could accomplish.  I really wanted a challenge that would have a goal that was intimidating enough to get me out the door so that I would train every day.  I wanted to see what I was made of.  I wanted the challenge to change me as much as I wanted to meet the challenge.

There’s a real possibility that I may not finish.  My training has not been great since the first of the year.  Any number of things could go wrong that are not related to my fitness.  However, even if for some reason I have to drop out at the first aid station,  this challenge has transformed me during this past year.  I have accomplished a number of things because of this goal that I would not have without setting this goal.  So in my case, even getting to the starting line is a measure of success and beyond that, will only be a greater measure of success.


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