Facing your own Wall

Annoying.

Another Ultra cheater.

Only this time, the culprit admitted it.

The case of the previous reports have gone lost in the books of history.

We all wonder why.

We all ask about it.

Curses flew. Judgements fly. Opinions scattered everywhere.

Annoying. Very annoying.

Looking closely – we might just be able to squeeze some understanding.

As an ultrarunner, we have a checklist of things:

  • PREPARATION – TRAINING
  • PREPARATION – LOGISTICS
  • PREPARATION – MIND SETTING

Let’s see.

On training – we need to train with specificity. If it’s a long run, then we run long. As simple as that. If the race we are joining is a humid place, and the weather we expect is sunny or rainy – we train under these conditions too. If we expect to finish just within the cut-off, it’s important to keep the minimum pace for that cut-off. Yes, rest already included. If you are a new runner or an ultrarunner aspirant, you need to be aware of such things. Small things that matters most. You cannot waste a lot of time staying in one place. You need to keep moving forward. You need to have the right gear for the race. The right ones will never let you down – nor give you any problems. Your legs will never abandon you if you prepared well. Your feet will be able to bear the pounding if it’s trained to bear.

On logistics – we need to have an idea first on how we intend to run the race. Then, we plan our hydration and refuelling. Without this – chances of quitting will be high. The temptation to DNF will be there – and character-wise – an invitation to cheat (for those who have it in mind). A newbie is supposed to know when to drink and eat during the long run. Practice comes into picture here. What can you expect from someone with very little experience? They do need guidance – but it’s not a license to cheat. When you know what to do, and you have a clear plan of your race – you are in a good chance of finishing well. If you are someone who employs a support vehicle – thank God. You have almost nothing to worry about…which takes us to the next checklist.

On mind-setting – this is something that cannot be taught to anyone. Character plays a big part here. But as an ultrarunner, newbie or not – you’re supposed to think:

  • that you can finish this race
  • that you are prepared
  • that you will finish no matter what (regardless of the weather condition, regardless of whatever pain may come <minor injuries>, regardless of what the rest of the runners you see are doing <you may just be a witness to a cheater>)
  • that you will run or walk at your best until you reach the finish line

All of the above comes from a runner’s accumulated experience on racing and training. If you lack experience, then it’s wise to ask those who have the most. If you are not confident – then draw confidence from others. If you feel weak – then draw strength from above.

There’s no shame in DNF. I DNF’d too. Everybody does – when it’s called for. When torn between continuing and suffering more –  doubting everything –  until the finish line >> DNF. You can redeem your own race next time. But when you commit a drastic decision of cheating – when you have the choice not to – you put yourself in doom. Ultrarunning is never that easy. It’s supposed to be hard. It only becomes easier because you prepared. Because you have some support from people who believe in you. Face your own wall. Others cannot do it for you. If you cannot do that – I guess there’s no room for you in the official result of any ultra event.

My two cents.

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