The One About Ultra Running: My Favorite TEDxSacramento Talk

One of the first live TEDxSacramento events I attended was the main event at the Crocker Art Museum a couple years ago. I found Lisa Donchak’s talk about ultra running to be motivating. For people who don’t know what ultra running is, it’s a person crazy enough to run 100 miles in a timed race. For fun. The time limit to complete the race is usually 24 hours.

In her talk, Donchak goes into great detail about all the decisions that led up to her picking the race she would attempt to complete to how she decided to finish her first 100-mile, ultra run.

The first time I heard the term “ultra running” was while working in Hawaii and a local news article mentioned the H.U.R.T. (Hawaii Ultra Running Team).  The fact that there was 100 miles of trails on Oahu fascinated me. Up until 2012, I didn’t think I could run anything longer than three miles at a time, myself, until Thanksgiving when I finished the 10k at Run to Feed the Hungry in just under 1:16.

Fun run Tuesdays at Fleet Feet Sacramento and day hikes with some pretty cool people I know, one of whom recently returned from attempting to climb Mt. Everest have kept me motivated.

For a while Donchak’s day job was at Google where she implemented her ideas about individual decision making within groups of individuals. Lisa’s thoughts about reaching mile 75 kept going through my mind: the dark, the blisters, the small circle of light surrounding her progress as she moved forward. All part of the decision process to consider if she would continue.

“The last mile was the hardest,” Donchak says, but for me, in the recent 10k race, the last 1.2 miles was the hardest.

In the end though, it’s about perseverance. Decide to keep pushing until the goal is reached, completed, finished. It will be worth the journey.