Monday, October 7, 2013

Inferiority Complex

"100 miles isn't a long way" Karl Meltzer

It's the gold standard distance here in the States, the race by which all ultra runners are judged. Until you've raced 100 miles, you are just playing. It's when your body and mind are tested to the limit. It's like no other 'normal' race distance. Having never run beyond 90km (55 miles) I don't know this for sure, but having paced and watched, and followed a few hundred milers now, I still find it impossible to comprehend how you run for 17-30 hours without a break. How you manage your body, stop it falling apart and feed and hydrate it for that long.

Change to 70, 80, 90 and 100 miles and it makes sense too I'm sure
I see-saw between a desire to try it and the thought that it would be just too hard to try and fail. And of course the training for it. A lot of runners will say it changes you, how you live the rest of your life, and your perspective. That's appealing, to see how far you can push your mind and body and the future consequences of that.

If you aren't a 100 miler here, you do tend to stop talking about your marathon and shorter distance exploits, as they seem pretty inconsequential to runners who have maybe seen two sunset in one race! That's a good thing. What we do isn't special, most of us don't have any special talent and have turned to running to lose weight, get fitter, purely as a recreation. Maybe we've found, with training, we can run in races and enjoy a competitive aspect. And it IS a physical and mental test, but generally, at least up to 50k it doesn't require a massive amount of planning, or training over a maximum of 3-4 hours in one session. I know this might sound a lot IF you don't run but its a morning's activity.

So right now I'm doing the 'pretend it's not there' game. Ignore something that is so obviously in your face. Unlike SA, its 'easy' to find a 100 miler here, there are races every week within a drive or a short flight, but right now I'm in denial and will probably stay that way til I'm at Western States or Leadville again, and then the wondering will start again...


  1. I've training for 4 hour races, and Comrades, well I maybe didn't really train for the 6 hour race I thought I could do... So while I can fit a bit of training in I don't see my weekend runs stretching to 4 hours on a regular basis... and for that 100miler I would need more...

    When I win the LOTTO...

    1. I try and do a 4 hour/50k every other weekend, but its probably more like every 3 weeks. The hills are making a big difference...

  2. You'll do it. You won't think you're quite ready, but you'll find out that you were.