I’m not a runner, but I just ran an ultra-marathon.

Last weekend, I ran my first 50k ultra-marathon.

Pre-Pain w my bud Andrew Zallie. He closes his eyes for pictures.
Pre-Pain w my bud Andrew Zallie. He closes his eyes for pictures.

This was a challenge I had been training for and thinking about for about 9 months. In fact, most of my decisions and actions during 2015 have been made with this date circled on the calendar. This past Saturday, October 3rd, I crossed the finish line and completed the 32 miles of single track trail with a stupid 7,500 feet of elevation gain.

It was really hard. 

Here’s the deal: I’m not a runner. Not by a long shot. I grew up in the home of a runner; my mom is an endurance freak. I know what runners look like, behave like, eat, do, think, say, etc. I’m not one of them.

However, at the end of last year I had a friend challenge me to try running an ultra-distance race with him. For some strange reason I agreed to this, and have been working toward this 50k ever since.

I learned a lot by running this 50k, and surprisingly (to me) the biggest and longest lasting lessons came during my training. All of the lessons I’ve learned over the past 9 months are way too many to document here. But here are the big ideas:

Community Is Vital To Success

Embarking on adventure like this is something that takes a tribe to accomplish. Thankfully, I was pulled in to this by my friend Bryan who introduced me to some great trails nearby and was patient with me early on when I couldn’t run as fast as he could. Then, my best mate Andrew moved to Chattanooga JUST to train for this race with me (not entirely true, but kind of). There were a ton of other people who I met and got to run with, but those two guys were there nearly every weekend to drag me out to the trails and help me build up the endurance I needed to finish strong. I definitely wouldn’t have done this without them.

My Family Is Awesome

My wife Sarah was 100% supportive of me during this process, even though it often meant less time with her/at home in general. While I know she enjoys the occasional break from my loud singing, laughing, yelling…my loudness in general – I’m sure there were times that she could’ve used my help on a Saturday morning when I was out in the woods for 4-6 hours. She doesn’t complain and she doesn’t guilt me for pursuing my passions. Thanks Sarah. I love you.

My parents and brothers were really inspiring to me as well. The funny thing is, I know they don’t understand why I did this (I don’t either sometimes), but they always called to check in on training, encourage me when I was nervous or doubting, and even surprised me the weekend of the race to be at the finish line when I finally crossed. It didn’t matter that they thought this was weird/unnecessary/masochistic. They still showed genuine interest and love. Thanks guys.

The Obstacle Is The Way

This was the biggest lesson I learned through many circumstances this year, but no experience was more tangible or meaningful as this race. There is no “life hack” that can help you progress to where you want to be in life. Even if there were, hacking a process that is meant to take time and effort will rob you of all of the incredible experiences, joy, laughter, and pain that change the way you live moving forward. For me, learning to “just take the next step” when my legs were screaming in pain and my mind wanted to quit, directly affects the way I handle tough situations at work, with friends, in my marriage, and in my relationship with God.

Coming through the finish!

I wouldn’t be genuine if I didn’t at least mention how much I’ve grown to enjoy running in the past year. If you haven’t tried it seriously – you should give it a shot. As I said before, I’m not a runner. I grew up playing sports, enjoying fitness and exercising, but just hadn’t fallen in love with running like the psychos in the short shorts at your coffee shop every Saturday morning.

That being said, for the time being, running has captured my imagination. The sound of twigs breaking, the feeling of my lungs and legs burning, and the silence/solitude that you can only find on a long run has become invigorating. This race has taught me a lot of things. Learning how to enjoy running is one of the lessons I’ll appreciate the most. One 50k is in now the books. Time to find the next adventure!

Made it!
Made it!

Who else has run an ultra? Any suggestions for future races?? Love to hear stories!

6 thoughts on “I’m not a runner, but I just ran an ultra-marathon.

  1. Adam

    You are having a an impact on peoples lives, here are some replies fromm friends/colleagues of mine.

    Octavio Blanco of Elof Hansson
    Nice. Just like his Dad…..

    Julio Aguliar of Elof Hansson

    Very cool Luis. My brother –in-law finished his first triathlon at the beginning of the year. A lot of sacrifices.
    Un abrazo,
    Julio

    Diana Leader

    This is great! Thanks for sharing.

    It was a good message for me…not about running as sport, but about “running with perseverance the race marked out for us” which is the theme of our household. We don’t yet know why God marked out this particular race for us, and it isn’t one we would choose…but it is our marathon and the blessing is in the journey.

    Tell Adam I said congratulations!!

    Casey Finley

    Awesome ! That is way beyond amazing in my mind. What a goal and journey to get there. Enjoyed reading every word. Nice looking couple too.

    Casey

    Yo
    Luis Vazquez
    530 Howell Road Suite 107
    Greenville, SC 29615-2000
    (o)864 241 0180
    (c) 267 246 2262
    (F) 864 242 0960
    Lvazquez@roxcelusa.com

    [cid:image001.png@01D100DE.CA92E7E0]

    Please note, the modern production process of paper is environmentally friendly. You may print this e-mail.
    Toma nota que el proceso moderno de producción de papel es ambientalmente consciente por lo que puedes imprimir este correo electrónico.

  2. Congrats Adam. I ran my first ultra (50k) this April. Fantastic experience for me as well. I didn’t race as well as I wanted but it was still a great experience. I did the North Face Endurance Challenge: Washington D.C. event. Beautiful run along the Potomac.
    My big take away from the 6 month experience was: Push impossible farther away.
    Hope you can enjoy doing more races in the future. Tell Zallie I said hello.

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