Like the title of my blog says, "Why Am I Doing This"? This ultra running thing. I think about it more and more now that I have been running ultras for around 13 years or so. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the sport. You will not find more genuine, encouraging and fun people anywhere than at an ultra distance event. The people who line up at the start of a 100 miler are the most laid back type - simply because they need all of the energy they have and won't waste it on b.s.
When I started hosting my own races, I hoped that it would encourage more women to participate in trail and ultra races. While our shorter distances (20 miler and 50k) can be up to 50% or more female, the 100 mile distance still remains heavily male dominated (consistently 75% male). I recently asked a question of my female running friends what the obstacles are to their doing ultra distances, and the answers were as expected:
"Well I have done 3 but my biggest hurdle to more is being afraid of the terrain. Roots, mud, hills, etc. I know it’s better for my body Vs running concrete but for some reason I think concrete is easier"
"Time away from family for training"
"It’s always been a TIME issue for me. I don’t know how to balance work, kids and long runs especially with a husband who works every other weekend. It cost me a fortune in babysitters to train for a marathon when I was a single mom."
"Consistency in training… however, I’m determined to finally overcome that this year!"
"1) joint pain
2) historic inability to train consistently
3) lack of support system "
Deciding to train for an ultra distance race is a big deal. There is much thought and negotiation that goes into the decision - with yourself and with your family. There will have to be sacrifices, and each individual has to decide for themselves if those sacrifices are worth it for them. All of these reasons are legitimate and need to be taken seriously.
BUT - what if someone could take away a couple of the most common reasons given - consistency and support system. What if there was a group of women out there who are experienced ultra runners, in all phases of their lives, who are willing to give their time to guide and encourage you through the training? What if they promised to be there to hold you accountable to your promises?
This is why I have reached out to a few key people who I know will make good mentors to get their input into this endeavor. Here is what it will look like ...
Because we are a small crew, and this is a completely volunteer deal, we will accept applications from female runners who need the boost to get them to the next level. You do not have to be a "good" runner, or a "fast" runner to qualify. ALL speeds, shapes and sizes are welcome and encouraged to reach out!
This is a FREE mentorship program. We are not coaching you - we will give you a few good training plans that we like, and you can choose which one to follow, or we can recommend a coach if you are interested.
We will provide weekly check ins with your assigned mentor, and monthly virtual meet ups with different female specific topics like - "What do I do if I am scheduled to start my period the day of my 100 miler" (been there). And you will have access to an experienced female ultra runner who can answer day to day questions like "Now that I am running longer, my sports bra is tearing up my skin - what do I do?"
I am willing to give up to 5 free entries into Loup Garou Trial Run - any ultra distance - to participants in this program, but you have to show that you are serious and stick to your training program to get the free entry. If you know of another race director who might like to participate, let me know.
I am also considering funding a couple of out of town race entries. This is to be determined, and the direction I would like this program to grow.
So, with this mentorship program, the consistency and support system reasons are canceled. The rest is up to you. This is ultra running, after all, and there is a degree of self sufficiency expected.
If you are interested, or know someone who might be, send this to them.
To answer my original question "Why Am I Doing This"? Because I know first hand what crossing the finish line of an ultra distance means for a woman's confidence. Because I know that the life changing experience is not in the actual finish line, but in the woman realizing that this means that many of the other excuses she has been using in her life to hold her back have now been canceled as well. Because I know that there is tremendous growth in pushing yourself through discomfort, and yes, even pain. The good stuff is always on the other side of where you are afraid to go.
Email me at PaixRunning@gmail.com if you are interested in participating.
A few of my running buddies that have helped to inspire me over the years:
|Fawn and I have run through many of life's ups and downs.|
|Liz is one of the most competitive runners I know!|
|Lydia trains for and runs ultra distances while caring for her amazing special needs boys!|