How to Stop Being a Wannabe: Signing Up for My First Ultra


The ultrarunning world has its own lingo, its own customs, its own podcasts, its own “major” races, its own stars, its own running clubs.  It also has its own website:

For the past few months, I’ve secretly held an account on Ultrasignup, lurking in the background without actually having run or signed up for an ultra race on the site.  In other words, even though I’ve run a good bunch of trails, and even though I’ve fallen and gotten “best blood” on a run or two, and even though I took an official rite-of-passage full immersion dunk in the swimming hole with a crew of badass trail runners this past summer in Southwest Virginia, and even though I ran in Colorado in the dark and in the snow for the last few months of 2016, I am not an ultrarunner.   I’m a wannabe, a noob, an interloper, a poser.  But that’s going to change…

Because yesterday, I registered for the Mt. Hood 50K on July 9th on the Pacific Crest Trail in Oregon!   On Ultrasignup!!!  So official!

You might be thinking, Wait, what about that whole BQ thing?  Fair point. As I was planning my schedule this year, I had my one big goal for 2017 in mind, but I also wanted to avoid burning myself out chasing Boston, and I wanted to keep up my trail dabbling because it think the challenge of trails improves my running, both mentally and physically.  So my hope is that having a few ultras on the calendar should help with  all of that.  Also, my first two target BQ races take place before the Mt Hood 50K.  Ideally, I’d have a good race at either or both of those target races and then could spend the second half of 2017 doing races that aren’t necessarily the fastest courses and without the pressure of more BQ attempts.  If I do need one more later-season race to get that BQ, I’m planning to do the Revel Big Cottonwood Marathon in September.  Assuming I don’t break my ankles or fall off a mountain, I should be sufficiently recovered from a few summer ultras to run Big Cottonwood.

Oh yes, I did just say “a few summer ultras.”  That’s because I’m actually planning to do an ultra before the Mt Hood 50K, but registration for that first race hasn’t opened yet.  When registration for that race (Golden Gate Dirty 30) opens later this month, I’m hoping to get in and reunite with some of my CO trail running buddies in June.

So how does the 2017 race calendar look now?

February – Phoenix Marathon (Arizona) (BQ attempt)

April – Big Sur Marathon (California)

May – Bayshore Marathon (Michigan) (BQ attempt)

June – Dirty 30 50K (Colorado) (not yet registered)

July – Mt Hood 50K (Oregon)

September – Revel Big Cottonwood (Utah) (not yet registered) (BQ attempt)

Woohoo!  Pretty glorious.  Hopefully I still like running after all of this…

Also, FYI, if you want the most up-to-the-minute updates on my whereabouts, training, and race results, be sure to check out my Instagram and my Facebook pages and give a girl a follow. 😉

Have you ever done an ultra?  If so, what do I need to know!?  What is your most/least favorite thing about ultras compared to road running? 

9 thoughts on “How to Stop Being a Wannabe: Signing Up for My First Ultra

  1. That’s a great variety in your race calendar and fabulous that you are going to mix in some ultra trail races. The endurance trail race I did last year was through ultra-signups but it was a timed race and I ended up “just” running a standard marathon distance in my allotted time. I am, however, really considering taking a shot at a 50K this year as well and sampling the ultra trail world. I really wouldn’t know what to expect but that’s all part of the attraction. Great post!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. After running road for years, I finally did a couple of 50K’s (because one is never enough). I found my body recovered more quickly post-50K on trail than it ever has after a road marathon. In my case, I just wanted to finish before the cutoff times, so took it easy and found I had plenty of time to spare. I’ll look forward to reading about your 1st 50K. Congrats on taking the leap.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. huge congrats on signing up! having done plenty of 50Ks and looking ahead to my first 50 miler, I can honestly say that I enjoy the trails way more than road running. Of course, anything over 26.2 miles will be tough, but the scenery you glimpse as you’re climbing up mountains and racing back down again, jumping over logs, splashing through puddles – it’s so worth it. A couple pieces of advice: don’t go out too fast, and carry water with you (aid stations may be far apart). And have a blast!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The trails are a fantastic way to spend your time out running and great for strength, I guess the aim is to be able to combine the two. My best advice- learn to hike the up hills. It’s like the mountains and trails give you permission not to have to run all the time that can be hard coming from the roads. Good luck with BQ and best of luck in first Ultra!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the tip — definitely plan to get in some extra hiking before my race! I have NO PROBLEM letting myself walk up hills! 😉


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