Running an Ultra Marathon

I never thought I would be one to run with a partner. Yet, these last two days I have been very thankful to have had Peter join me! Not only did he push me to 10 miles yesterday (I was going to give up at 8), but he pushed me out on the trail today when I was going to skip!

I really picked the right man to marry! 

Anyway! Just as I said yesterday, there are a lot of exciting things I wanted to share with you. One that has been present lately is my new goal of running an ultra! Time and time again, the thought has crossed my mind. I was never quite serious about it until just recently. A couple of months ago, while running with a local group, I spoke with a man who told me of his experience running the JFK 50. Though he never gave me the impression that a 50 miler was easy, he made the completion of an ultra believable; attainable. It wasn't long after, that I began reading about other runners who completed the JFK 50 Miler.

A detailed recap written by Girl, Interrupted provided the good, the bad, and the ugly details of the JFK.
"I saw a man on hands and knees in the middle of the road. I saw people slouched forward. I saw a man crying. I wanted to join throw up the white flag and let the overwhelming fatigue win."
Though it seemed that many runners got a beating from the race, my interest grew. Could I possibly be up for the challenge?

I have taken a special interest in the JFK 50 Miler specifically because it is held right in my backyard. In fact, many of my runs are on the canal which the JFK 50 in run on.

Click the image to see full size.

Last year, I was out running 13 miles when I actually witnessed the leaders plow through mile 38. Some of you JFK 50 runners may better know this area as the "Special 38" aid station.

Though I will never be running my first ultra at 6:30, I actually do qualify! As of this year, a woman can register for the JFK 50 Miler if she has a marathon time below 5 hours after 2012. I will never be able to train in time for this year's JFK, but I am focused on 2015. It will be my all-time running goal (as of now) to finish an ultra marathon.

I have reached out for some advice on a JFK 50 Miler facebook page

I wish that running a 26.2 meant I could do 50.  It may be mental as Clayton states, but I need to train for that. I have hit walls during runs before. When I attempted running a marathon for the first time alone, my journey was cut short at mile 23. I believe my body was well-capable of finishing the full, but my mind had a different agenda. I have run two 26.2 distances since without hitting any wall, but I think it was my training that helped with that!

From what I am reading, many runners will walk portions of any ultra. It may be on the hills, or it may be at intervals as Randall recommends. I was even told by another runner that he wished he had walked the length of the Appalachian Trail because of how challenging it is.

Rocks everywhere!!!
I have taken some tumbles on the C&O Canal, one which left me with a gruesome gash in my knee, but I can say that the canal is no way next to how treacherous the AT is.

I do have a lot of fear of this race. Most of that fear comes from the dangerous trail, but the distance itself. Yet, I think my motivation to complete an ultra outweighs any uncertainty that I have.

Since I am giving myself a year, I think I have plenty of time to shape up for this. I am also lucky enough to have access to many runners who have participated themselves. Any advice from a finisher would be the best advice I could receive.

So tell me...

Have you completed an ultra marathon? What training methods did you follow?

Do you believe in the idea that "If you can do 26.2, you can run 50?" Why or why not?

Have you run the JFK 50 Miler? I would love to hear your story! Send me your contact details so we can talk! Send your email to

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