I was riding my bike the other day and came across a bunch of people running in what appeared to be an organized event. I deduced it was organized because:
a) There were lots and lots of people;
b) There were people wearing "volunteer" t-shirts, and;
c) They were all wearing numbers.
I'm smart like that, see.
Usually, my first thought would be "I wonder what's going on", but I actually thought "crap, should I be here?"
I was fine to be there. At least, nobody told me to bugger off. As to what was going on, it was the 6th Shibamata 100k ultramarathon. And loads and loads of people were taking part.
If you think running a marathon is stupid, imagine voluntarily deciding to run two of them, and then a bit more. All in one go.
Who would be that stupid? As I said, loads and loads of people. Including me.
In the right place
According to the IAAF, "[t]he history of ultra running can be traced back two million years when the Homo species evolved and started exploring.
"Without the luxury of stop watches or distance markers," the article continues, "one can only imagine how far the first athletes travelled before stopping." Or dying, maybe. (Too pessimistic?)
As far as I remember, I first read about ultra running in the book Born to Run, and I'm guessing I'm not the only one. It was very, very popular, and in the 10 years since it was published, the number of organized ultramarathons around the world has increased over 1,000%.
But the point of this isn't to just bang on about ultramarathons. It just so happened that I was out on my bike, pondering the need to get back into a routine of exercising regularly, when I chanced across on ultramarathon in progress.
And rather than thinking "shit, that looks like hell", I thought "I want to try that." And I found that to be very motivating.
The next day, I ran just over 5km. Not far, but a nice way to (re)start. More importantly, I rediscovered how much I like running.
So I'm going to start running regularly again, and I fancy trying a 100k in the future. First, I'm planning a 10k, then a half-marathon, then a trail marathon (I much, much, much prefer trail running to running on roads), and then onwards and upwards.
Which is a roundabout way of reminding myself to be open to motivation and inspiration all the time, because you never know when and where it might strike.