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From Marathoner to Ultra Runner

by Bruce Haring

For thousands of people running is not just for exercise, it is also essential for peace of mind and well being.  For this running enthusiast it has become all of the above and much more.

Just like many runners, I am no longer seeking to do just a Half Marathon or a Full Marathon anymore. We want to go the ultra distance.   Meaning we run beyond 26.5 miles and often times beyond 100 miles.   This type of long distance endurance running is called Ultra Running.  When I was first introduced to the concept of Ultra Running, I could not believe that individuals would take their bodies to this extreme.  Now, as an avid Ultra Runner, I’m here to tell you,  “We do!”

Ultra Runners come from all walks of life and many have found Ultra Running helpful in coping with many of life’s stresses such as parenthood, divorce, financial worry, depression, anxiety, and even addictions.

When I was researching Ultra Running I thought to myself, “Why not?!? Let’s give it a try.”  I have been a runner for many years and I knew I was capable.  I’m here to tell you, “So can you.”  As with any workout regimen, it takes proper training, diet, commitment and a lot of determination.  But, the results are well worth it!

Here are some helpful tips for completing your first Ultra Marathon:

Study the course and conditions  in advance so that you know what to expect on race day.

Remember your hydration and electrolytes.  Becoming dehydrated can end your race early.  Prepare for temperature and elevation changes by practicing the course.  Keep moving.  However, it is important to listen to your body and keep in mind,  a few minutes of rest can give you a much needed reboot.

Remember to encourage yourself with positive thoughts.  Having a motivational internal mantra can help you through the rough spots.
Singing and talking to yourself can help distract you from negative thoughts.  Take care of you feet and wear fresh socks.  If you feel a blister starting, tend to it immediately before it gets worse.  Eat real food at the aid stations.  It is not for everyone but if your stomach can handle a banana, soup or peanut butter, do it.  These are great options to keep your energy level up. Choose a good “crew”,  individuals who will help you achieve your goals.  Believe in them,  listen to them and trust them.  Stay focused!

Keep in mind, low points are part of the process, but at the end, all the hard work is truly rewarding.

Look around and enjoy  mother nature’s beauty during your journey.

Enjoy your race!

Staying motivated can be tough, sometimes.  Therefore, it is important to find something that inspires you to keeps you going. For me the long distance running spark got stronger after giving birth to my son almost two years ago.  My son along with my mantra, “She believed she could, so she did”  give me the powerful drive that I need to keep pushing myself.   I also wear a special bracelet on my wrist everyday to remind myself to never give up.  When I’m feeling tired or discouraged I just look at my wrist for a little extra inspiration.  It really helps!

I’m currently training for the 63 mile, Catskill 100k in Upstate, New York (www.todjen.wix.com/catskillmountain100k).   This event is just shy of the 100-miler in San Diego, which I unfortunately did not finish because of an injury that made me miss my cutoff. “Boy, did I cry!… But, did I keep going?… Yes I did.”  I live for Ultra Running now.  It is as much of a part of my life as eating, drinking and sleeping.   The point is, it is your brain that must be convinced to keep going because the healthy human body is very capable.

Don’t give up!  Especially, you moms.  Some of the most amazing runners in this sport are mothers.

I not only cheer for the moms. But, for everyone that dares to conquer this rewarding sport. Trust me it will take you places you have never seen before.

Roni’s Ultra Race Finishing History:

North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Miler / April, 2016 /  Finish Time: 14:23:24

JFK 50 Mile / November, 2015 / Finish Time: 10:25:24

NYRR 60k / November 16, 2013  / Finish Time: 6:04:38   (1st place in my age group)

NYRR 60K / November 17, 2012 / Finish Time:  6:19:12

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