Last Updated on November 12, 2019 by Heather Hart, ACSM EP, CSCS
I’ve been around the running, blogging, and blogging about running world long enough now to know that there are countless reasons why people choose to run. I know this, because I never get tired of hearing about those reasons. I’ve nodded my head in agreement while reading the articles others have written about their “why’s”. I’ve shed more than a few tears while watching the videos detailing the reasons why someone would willingly put one foot in front of the other. Sure, for some it’s simply an enjoyable sport, nothing more, nothing less.
But most runners will tell you that there is so much more to it, often more than words can convey.
If you were to poll 100 runners lining up to tackle a feat such as a 100 miler (or any distance, really), and ask them why they decided to run that race, I’m sure you’d get nearly 100 different answers. Many of the answers would likely be similar, of course. To prove that they can. To raise money or attention for a charity. To outrun some sort of inner demon.
We all have our reasons to hurt, I am no exception.
I’ve also been around long enough to realize that those reasons are constantly changing and evolving. This plays into my belief that running truly is a lifetime sport, and it’s also one of the reasons that I am constantly coming back for more.
Today I was chatting with a local race director of an event that I am attending this upcoming weekend. He gave me a little insider information, letting me know that there was opportunity for me to potentially set my personal goals higher than what they might have been already.
It really got me thinking. Should I do it? Hell…COULD I do it? Am I even capable of such a feat right now? Maybe not. Probably not.
But then again…maybe I am.
And chasing that small possibility of success, when the probability of failure is so, SO much higher, is wildly addicting.
When it comes to running, I know there are numerous things I am capable of due to my experience and current training and fitness levels. But when you start talking about distances that can take a full day or more to cover? Our gut reactions are to tell ourselves that these feats are impossible. Even when we are fully trained and prepared. Because sometimes, they are impossible. Sometimes – hell, many times – we fail.
But sometimes we succeed.
And oh how sweet that success tastes. There is a undeniable thrill to defying the odds, even more so when it takes countless failures to get there.
As a coach, I’m constantly nagging clients and strangers alike about the dangers of getting in over their heads, or tackling races and distances they aren’t properly prepared for.
As an athlete though? I get it. Boy to do I get it. That chase, that gamble of failure vs. success, is so hard to ignore. And that’s (one of the many reasons) why I run ultras.
Heather Hart is an ACSM certified Exercise Physiologist, NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), UESCA certified Ultrarunning Coach, RRCA certified Running Coach, co-founder of Hart Strength and Endurance Coaching, and creator of this site, Relentless Forward Commotion. She is a mom of two teen boys, and has been running and racing distances of 5K to 100+ miles for over a decade. Heather has been writing and encouraging others to find a love for fitness and movement since 2009.