Well, that’s a wrap for 2017!
Although having only been in the editor role for three months, putting together everyone’s stories and keeping track of all the AURA-listed events as well as the efforts put in by all members, it has truly been an impressive time to cap off the year.
This month in Beat the Mental Block in a Lap Course, I spoke with sports psychologist Graziella Thake about how to get through those barriers when racing in a lap ultra. And although there are plenty of you out there who have been running long distance a lot longer than I have, it’s still great to get a fresh perspective from a professional, because who knows? You could walk away with a whole lot more that just might come in handy.
December’s Ultramag also takes a glimpse into the world of support crews, and features a story on how long distance helped one runner with his PTSD.
Earlier this month, I tackled my own challenges having entered WA’s 6 Inch Trail Ultra for the first time – the 47kms. Six months of training to get me prepared for the event had seen me take on board all the advice from the running community that I could fathom. I’ve been running for a few years, namely short distances, but 6 Inch was to be my first ultra, and it was to be the first race I’d ever entered where I’d be running without a partner or within a group of friends.
As mad as it seems, I was really looking forward to it.
Despite the torrential downpours and a chill factor, absolutely unheard of in WA for early December, almost 300 racers took to the Munda Biddi from North Dandalup to Dwellingup on the 17th. With an eight-hour cut off I thought I’d be fine; I’ll be the first to admit I’m not fast with pace, and hills are my adversaries, but given the conditions, 6 Inch was not only a beautiful course, it was also where I ran my best – everything was going right for me nutritionally, physically, emotionally and mentally.
But it was an involuntary DNF for me at 38.39kms, where I didn’t make cut off at aid station 2. Devastation took the better of me, and for hours I struggled with my first ever forced non-finish. But no less than a day later, determination sunk in to not let 6 Inch get the better of me. The next 12 months, I had decided this week, would be about getting leaner, fitter, and stronger to exact retribution.
The ultra running community I know personally in my side of the world is one of pride, benevolence, consolation, fortitude and solidarity. Encouragement is tenacious, but dignity in defeat grounds you when you’re surrounded by others who have been to the same dark place as you at one time or another.
And there is no other group I’d wish the happiest of holidays to than the ultras.
Cheers to all of you and your families for a Merry Christmas, and may the new year bring you all new goals and achievements – hopefully with AURA there right beside you.
Feature Photograph by Dennis Tan/Paparazzi on the Run.