Want to test your limits and run 50 miles after the Fourth of July this weekend?
You know...move up from a marathon to something bigger.
Over 400+ runners will take on the Silver Rush 50-Mile Ultra near Leadville, Colo.
And it's not for the faint of heart:
"Something special happens at 10,000+ feet high when you're running in the mountains," according to race organizers for the Silver Rush 50 and Leadville Race Series.
"It will leave your lungs burning, heart pounding and eyes completely amazed," says Leadville Race Series organizers.
Curious about what it takes to run 50 miles?
Check out these 6 tips from Silver Rush 50-Mile finisher Lucie Hanes.
I have trouble living in the moment.
I’m constantly on the hunt for the next challenge, bouncing quickly from one goal to the next before the high wears off.
It only makes sense that I would heed the siren’s call into the world of ultrarunning.
Luckily, diving in has changed my perspective on this sport - and life in general - for the better.
Ultramarathons include anything beyond a standard marathon, and technically start at the 50k distance.
Even just that handful of extra miles past 26.2 adds a noticeable weight, so the jump into ultra territory takes guts and grit from the very start.
There’s something special about crossing the fifty mile line. Every step over that line takes you arguably closer to the limits of human endurance than you are to the couch.
That being said, I had no idea about any of that at 6 a.m. on race morning when the clock started ticking.
I’m shivering in the dawn chill (something I’d look back on fondly after a few hours under the sun).
And I'm looking around at the crowd while Imposter Syndrome wreaks its normal havoc, when I realize that:
⌚There’s about 30 seconds left in the National Anthem...
So I pick one problem to deal with and toss my extra layer in my boyfriend’s general direction. Better than nothing.
I still use my thoughtlessness as an excuse to berate myself throughout the first five miles.
I understand on some level that my brain is choosing to fixate on these little mistakes rather than face my real fears about actually stepping foot into the arena.
But I take the bait.
It’s easier in the moment to care about my shoelace than look all those gremlins of self-doubt in the eye.
Needless to say, that opening stretch from the bottom of Dutch Henri Hill through the foothills of Leadville puts me off to a rough start full of:
I’m a late bloomer on long runs.
It’s easy to get caught up in the initial aches and pains, grinding along as I try to find the flow, but that flow does eventually come.
Someday I’ll learn how to have patience until it catches up with me.
When it finally does, I can breathe again.
A good flow doesn’t necessarily feel easy or effortless, but brings a sense of joy into the challenge.
The Silver Rush includes plenty of elevation gain, over 7000 feet of it.
But spread out such that most of the climbs creep up gradually.
It’s a very runnable course overall, which played a major role in my change of heart.
I’ve only recently started to understand the meaning of friendly competition.
I’m ambitious to a fault sometimes.
And I have in the past. viewed races as all-or-nothing experiences:
Spending more time running with other people has turned all this around.
Some of my best paces have played out to the tune of:
Competition, especially among women, comes with a bad reputation for being divisive or hostile.
On the other hand, it can actually be an incredible connector and motivator if we can all keep our egos in check.
For me, friendly competition starts with really being friendly.
Everyone is on their own journey out there, running different paces at different times.
Looking ahead for clues, I pick out the runners ahead that I want to challenge next.
I generally choose women, because...
It turns into a game of 'Chase the Ponytails.'
I chase down several ponytails ahead, and study the other women that zoom by on their way back around after the turnaround up ahead.
The major up and downside of an out-and-back race is that you know exactly what you’re up against in the second half.
Knowledge is power, but sometimes ignorance is bliss too. I don’t always want to know exactly what’s ahead.
I take my memories from the way in and throw them into reverse...
That’s all I allow myself to think about the route back.
Overanalysis and detailed recollection only makes space for intimidation to creep in.
Every race is a journey...
A little naivety keeps things interesting.
To hold onto that...
Now that I’m riding it, there’s finally room to let in those deeper trains of thoughts that just felt too heavy before.
I think about goals and the meaning of making them.
Cultivating the courage to simply show up for something new and difficult is what I actually care about.
I choke down the last bites that will fuel me to the finish.
I’ll be happy if I don’t see figs, dates, or peanut butter sandwiches for a while… or at least until my next long run.
The final two miles take us up and around the back side of Dutch Henri Hill, the one deviation from the initial course.
Someone tosses a medal in one hand and a beer in the other.
Third place in my category earns me an award that I don’t have hands for anymore, so I reluctantly pass off the beer for now. Water first.
I spend the rest of the day on the shore of Twin Lakes just outside of Leadville proper...
The afternoon holds a beautiful motivation to start caring for myself as a human being first and an athlete second, because one feeds into the other.
If I can channel this kind of joy in the effort itself, holding it higher than metrics or arbitrary measures of achievement, then the rest will follow in its own time.
There’s no ceiling in sight from here on out.
Special Thanks to...