What I Learned From Running an Ultra-Marathon

When I ran my first marathon at the age of 16, I knew it wasn't going to be enough. Some may call me crazy, but I'd call myself adventurous. Sure, running 26.2 miles is tough, but I craved something more. I never exactly knew what "more" entailed, but three years later on December 14, 2019, I found out that "more" meant completing my first ultra-marathon. It was difficult, and there are surely some things you learn while running a 50k! Here are just a few of those lessons:

  1. 1. Challenges Help You Grow

    You never really notice growth until you're better than you've ever been before. I'd be lying if I said running 31.5 miles in one sitting was easy, but I'd also be lying if I said I didn't love the challenge! Even though I've done many races before, the beginning of training was tough for me and I could barely finish a 5k without being out of breath. Fast forward six months, and after trading my delicious Saturday brunches for (sometimes) dreadful Saturday miles, I showed up to the starting line ready to demolish the race without hesitation!

  2. 2. A Positive Environment is the Key to Success

    Your biggest successes are nothing without the help of those who stand beside you. Keep those who matter close and love on them with all you have! It's a great feeling to know you'll be going through a tough experience with your friends and family holding up encouraging signs and giving you salted potatoes when you feel like giving up!

  3. 3. Toenails are Overrated

    When you run over 100 miles a week, your toenails will fall off. It's inevitable, but it's also a reflection of all your hard work! Maybe it's because of your shoes or maybe it's just your feet, but either way, it's nothing to be embarrassed about. Plus, you'll gain an even deeper appreciation for pedicures!

  4. 4. Life Keeps Going, One Step at a Time

    When you're 18 miles into a 50k and you realize you still have another half-marathon to go, it can seem as if although you're racing, you never really left the start. At that point, you'll also realize that what doesn't kill you really does make you stronger. Regardless of how you get there, life won't pause for you, so make the most of every moment and keep on putting one foot in front of the other.

  5. 5. In Order to Finish, You Have to Start

    No one is just magically prepared to run a race — remember, even the best Olympic runners started out by crawling! Everything worthwhile takes time and you'll never accomplish your goals if you don't begin to actively set out to reach them. Also, don't ever worry about not being as good as those you're competing with. In the long run, the feeling of personal achievement feels far better than any feeling of unnecessary comparison!

Whether it's a 5k or a 100-miler, there's truly no better feeling than crossing a finish line. If you've ever considered running a race but were too hesitant to sign up for one, go for it. People might doubt you (I know that very well), but you know you can do it, so tie up those laces, fill up that water bottle and run like the boss babe you are!

All photos provided by the author