by Tracey Gessner
I hesitate for a moment when people ask me what kind of races I like to run.
The word “ultramarathon” sounds so… crazy? Five years ago when I was completing my very first 5K I would have called you out of your damn mind if you told me I’d be running the distances I do these days. 50K? 50 MILES? Are those even real numbers?
People often say that running is an addiction. When I crossed the finish line at that first 5K I remember thinking to myself. “I could probably do twice that.” Six months later when I completed a 10K I thought, “Maybe I’ll do a half marathon someday.” Now many moons and many marathons later, running 13 miles is something that I like to on Saturday mornings… FOR FUN.
Are some people just built for running? Maybe. The human body is also an amazing instrument that can adapt to almost anything if you give it time. People I meet assume I’ve been an athlete my whole life. When I tell them I started running about five years ago the reactions I get can be amusing. I sometimes shy away from talking about my accomplishments because in a way it feels like “bragging” but another part of me wants to shout from the rooftops, “IF I CAN DO THIS, SURELY ANYONE CAN!” There’s something to be said for the places a healthy amount of passion and dedication can take you.
In the end a lot of it comes down to desire. In the beginning, you have to really really want to do it. I always tell people that it was harder for me to go from 0 to 5K than it was to make the jump to marathons and beyond. Running really blows where you’re a beginner. It exhausting and it hurts and if you’re on a treadmill it’s excruciatingly boring. But for me at least, there was a moment when everything “clicked,” and fell into place. It was completely worth it and I’ve never looked back.
I still have bad days every now and then. Every run isn’t ponies and unicorns. But for the most part once I get out the door and moving I never regret it. Overall, I love the way running makes me feel- from the air moving in and out of my lungs to the rhythm of my feet on the pavement or on the trail. I love seeing my flushed face in the mirror afterward and feeling the way my elevated heart rate beats inside my chest. I love the people that running has brought into my life, from casual acquaintances to to those who I can spend hours chatting with while we rack up the miles.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, I love to run.
- Tracey is a mother of two, runner, dancer, and personal trainer living in Milwaukee, WI. Movement is her favorite thing, in all its forms.