Writing to you from a mind and body that has been recently challenged to the maximum! As you may or may not know, I competed in back to back weekends of Ultramarathon races. An ultramarathon is anything more than 42.2k (marathon distance). Last weekend I defended my title at the Muskoka Limberlost 56k Trail Ultramarathon. I not only won the race, but I broke the course record by 22 minutes! I ran for 5 hours and 26 minutes. I completed the Hat Trick! It was the race of my life. Everything came together for me that day and I am still pinching myself over the results.
On Saturday morning, while you were still sleeping at 5am, I was running. Then when you awoke to a beautiful blue sky morning and the smell of fresh coffee brewing at 8am, I was running. Perhaps you spent the day in the hot sun relaxing, maybe on the beach or backyard gardening, or hanging out with friends brunching at 11am, I was running. Then as you took some time for yourself to afternoon nap, or TV watch or book read at 1pm, I was running. Finally, when you sipped on your afternoon tea, thinking about your evening plans, another thought may have popped into your head, at 2:28pm, Julian just finished running 80 kilometers.
I ran 80 kilometers this past Saturday, July 18th, in 9 hours and 28 minutes. Can you believe it?! The feat of running for that long was something I knew I had in me, but many times throughout, I questioned myself, and even doubted myself. I had run the mild trail terrain Sulphur Springs 80k three years ago, along with a road 100k from Caledon to Collingwood four years ago, but to run up and down and around the tricky terrain and monstrous hills of Blue Mountain was nothing I've ever experienced. Apparently this is the most difficult 50 mile race in Northface's Endurance Challenge series in all of North America! From 5am to 2:28pm, I was running, fueling, listening, thinking, breathing, drinking, climbing, hiking, stretching, and more running. Even these simple tasks and behaviors, spread over a full day's worth of time and for some, a year's worth of run capacity, repeating over and over, with no compromise, stretches the depths of mental, emotional, and physical endurance.
These two events were in the back of my mind since early last year and I am very proud that I am now standing in the reality of completion. The page has finally turned and I am relieved to be able to enjoy these feelings of closure and conquer.
When you experience such a high in life, there is much glory to be had, but there are also down emotions to be accepted. I wanted to briefly shed some of my thoughts on this...
I am aware of this stage of 'post-ultra blues', and in defense, I am turning to other endeavors. My goal this summer is to learn how to swim more efficiently. I would like to pick up the hobby of DJ'ing. And spend more time with friends; ones that I have drifted from, and make new friends. 'Keeping busy' isn't necessarily the goal to push past the lull, but re-framing it to 'keeping engaged'. As I am aware and engaged, I am also taking the opportunity to embrace this stage of post-ultra blues. When I immerse myself in deep thought regarding my perspective over my emotions, I learn so much about myself. When we love and cherish emotions that are not normally embraced, but more so ignored and shoved into a deep dark corner, we lose the opportunity to evolve and open our minds. I believe we must take the time to learn from all of our emotions (positive and negative), thus allowing us to change from all of our experiences, and give purpose and meaning to our endeavors.
I am energized by what is now and excited for what is to come.
(Part 2 - My Ultramarathoning Deconstructed)