[Plenipotentiary note: Okay, I am going apologise to Liz in advance. This mail got caught up in my Spam filter after I rebuilt my machine. I am so sorry it's a couple of weeks late. I have spanked my spam filter thoroughly and have sent her an author invite for being so patient. Sorry! The original post can be found on her blog: http://runwhatmay.com/2011/11/16/ultra-smiley/ ]
Original post by Liz Bondar @ RunWhatMay.com
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Ultra Smiley! (© 2011 Lynn Ballard)
Running an ultra is demanding - even if your goal is simply to finish. (And - let's face it - for us hobby joggers, at distances of 50-100+ miles, we're mostly in it to just finish or perhaps beat some personal time goal.)
Ups and downs, terrific highs and despairing lows... you need all the smiley you can get. And so does everyone else out there with you - runners, crews, volunteers, and other hapless trail users.
So, with a tip o' the nib to other Run Smiley authors who've gone before, here are my ideas on running Ultra Smiley.
- Thank the volunteers - all of them, whether you take aid or not. These folks put in longer hours with less traffic/activity than conventional road races; they're as lonely as you are (and probably even hotter or colder than you are, too). In many cases, they've gone well beyond to stock and run an aid station in The Middle of Nowhere.
- Help other runners - be generous with your gear, supplies, and self...on the course and at the aid stations. The best-laid plans are all subject to change during the course of an ultra - at any moment, it could well be you in need.
- Run with gratitude - that you are able to run in such a beautiful place on a day like this. There will come a day when you won't be able to run... today is not that day.
- Go solo - no crew, no pacer, no traveling companions. Open yourself up and you'll make many new friends along the way.
- Make others laugh - brighten their day and yours at the same time. Maintain your sense of humor as you do the impossible
- Skip and gallop - change your stride as well as your outlook. (Go on - I dare you to not smile while skipping!)
- Leave your expectations behind - the day (and night) will be long, anything can happen. Take each thing as it comes - one step at a time - and make the most of it.
- Dance - do the hokey-pokey at the turn-yourself-about point on an out-and-back, show off your funky chicken coming into an aid station.
- Revel in nature's playground - swing from a branch, kick through the fallen leaves, enjoy the water crossings... immerse yourself to cool off, splash around, take the wettest way across.
- Lie through your teeth - tell the other runners how marvelous they look (especially in the dead of the night and in their most desparate moments), you'll feel more marvelous too.
It often seems like it "takes a village" to complete an ultra. Be part of the community and run smiley.