A while ago I posted a question in the ultrarunning forum on Runner's World and got some interesting responses. Here is my question and then a few funny (but true) responses:
Me: I remember reading a quote before my first ultra that has always stuck with me: "It never always gets worse."
The funny thing is that in all the ultras I've done (should have clarified that this was for 100 milers), well, it always gets worse. Once I cross that line where fatigue or leg soreness has set in, I've never come out the other side of that and felt better later on in the race.
I hope I don't imply that I'm complaining. I love the challenge of ultras and can't wait to run Javelina Jundred again next month.
So out of curiosity, have you had times when it DOES always get worse?
Joeja: No. It might get worse until you finish, but then it doesn't always get worse.
Weegee (a very experienced ultra runner by the way): I like to repeat to my personal Pessimist's Creed: No matter how bad it is now, it can get significantly worse, so enjoy your current dismal state and laugh as you spiral downward.
Laughing at myself actually does seem to help. When you think about all the time, effort and money you have piled into the patently stupid activity in which you're engaged, it's hard not to giggle. That, and having high hopes but very low expectations does make every little gain much more pleasurable.
Or not. But again, that's funny.
And it does get worse for me afterward. You drink that finish line beer and eat some grilled cheese sandwiches leftover from the midnight aid station crew and lie down to sleep and… Ouch! Why the hell does THAT hurt? And that? Ouch!
Running is dumb.
And, for a final laugh, here is how I look around mile 90 when it has gotten worse: