It was 2014. Early that year, I ran my first half-marathon. Then, for the first time, I trained consistently with long runs through the summer. I started trail running. At group runs and races, I rubbed elbows with marathoners and… ultramarathoners?
I had known of marathons for a long time, but ultramarathons were new to me. I had never even heard of people running 50 or 100 miles, and there I was, all of a sudden, meeting some of them. I was surprised at how normal they seemed.
I finished my first Ragnar Trail, running my 15-mile share of the overall distance, and thought to myself, “I think I could probably do twice that, as part of an ultra team.”
And somewhere around that time, as I was stirring this soup of thoughts and ideas around in my brain, I stumbled across the movie “Finding Traction,” a documentary of Nikki Kimball’s attempt to set a new fastest known time traversing a 273-mile trail in the northeastern US.
I was riveted. I had never seen anything like it.
Over the course of her attempt, as I watched the miles and the days take their toll on her, something happened inside me that I have been utterly unable to explain to anyone who has asked why I do this. All I can say is that it happened. I watched her struggle through pain and fatigue and exhaustion, and her suffering called to me. I wanted to face something like that, to see how I would measure up against it.
That was how and when my dream to run a 100 mile race was born.