From the Mouth of Jessica: “My First Ultra – Can I Do It?”

“You only ever grow as a human being if you’re outside your comfort zone.” – Scott Jurek

Doubts, butterflies, and general nervousness has been hanging thick on me lately. Thick, like a warm, humid, suffocating tropical air, that is unrelenting, won’t let up, and is impossible to seek relief from.

My racing for 2015 has been epic. I remember having conversations with fellow Run Oregon Bloggers in 2014 as to what their 2015 ‘running resolutions’ would be. Everyone had such ambitious, remarkable, applaudable goals. Joe Dudman, for example, set-out to participate in as many races as he possibly could. Others wanted to spend 2015 volunteering more at events. And still others wanted to set PR’s. Me? I didn’t know. That’s how the 2015 race scene has unfolded in entirety for me – just not knowing.

“If you start to feel good during an ultra, dont’ worry you will get over it.” – Gene Thibeault

This is highly unusual for me. I am quick to decide, plan, and execute anything I set my mind to. I am known for making decisions quickly and not looking back. Needless to say, the energy and excitement of seeing others racing quickly took hold – and to date for 2015 – I have raced in 29 events, ranging from a 1-mile race to a marathon, sometimes even running in two events in one day (like fellow blogger Joe Dudman seems to do on a routine basis).

I was blessed to be selected as a 2015 The San Francisco Marathon Ambassador early in the year, and successfully completed the marathon on July 26, 2015. Completing The San Francisco Marathon felt fantastic, and made me kick-myself as to why I hadn’t run more marathons – it was such a wonderful distance for me, and my body responded favorably to the 26.2 miles of pavement punishment.

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” – T. S. Eliot

In April, the McKenzie River Trail Run 50k – also known as the MRTR50k or MRTR among running circles – opened registration, which turns into a lottery due to the interest among runners, for their 28th annual event. This is Oregon’s oldest ultra, running annually since 1988. Some of my ‘running idols’ have previously excelled on the course, such as Hal Koerner and Scott Jurek. Knowing I was going to be working toward a marathon already for 2015, I wanted to throw my name in the hat for MRTR.

I remember the day clearly. It was April 16, 2015. I received an e-mail from the MRTR race directors indicating that I had been selected via the lottery to participate in the 2015 MRTR50k.  What is happening here?! The Running Gods are shining down so brightly on me!

Sooooo … fast forward to the here and now. As I sit here writing this, I’m so very nervous, yet so incredibly excited to see what the outcome is for me on Saturday, September 12, 2015 at the MRTR50k. My first ultra. My first “really out there” goal I set myself up for to see if I can accomplish. Can I do this? Can I really do this? We’ll soon find out.

“When you run on the earth and with the earth, you can run forever.” —Raramuri Proverb

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