Personal Urban Ultra Challenge

I’m doing this big thing tomorrow!

Well, it’s quite a bit smaller than the REALLY BIG thing I want to do.

I suppose it’ll take about as long as my Ironman Triathlon I did in 2015, and that’s a big thing.

On the other hand, it’s way more casual and chill with way less pressure than doing an Ironman Tri, making it feel like a small thing.
But considering the dumpster fire that is 2020, this is my thing. Which makes it feel big.

Clearly I’m torn about how big a deal this thing I’m doing tomorrow is.

I’ll tell you about it, and maybe we can decide how big a thing it is.

Saturday November 14th 2020
Kym’s Urban Ultra Personal Challenge.
35 to 47 miles of running and walking Minneapolis.

At 5am I’ll walk out my front door. It’ll be 25-30ºF with 10-15mph winds from the SSE, and it will be very dark. Currently there is a mix of snow and ice on the ground. I have six “aid stations” where I have recruited friends to put a box of resupply (water and food) in their yards for a COVID safe contactless pick up. By 2pm I hope to be over half way. At that point it will be 35-40ºF with a 20-40% chance of light rain. Freezing rain is the only weather condition that scares me.

If everything goes very well I’ll have covered 47 miles and arrive back home sometime around 5:30pm, right after the last light leaves the sky. That’s a finish time of 12 hours and 30 minutes, which comes to averaging 16 minutes per mile, including all the stopping.

But it might very well take me longer. If I average 20 minutes per mile it will take me nearly 16 hours. I’d get home at 9pm; 4 hours after sunset, and when the chance of rain is as high as 70%.

That all makes it seem very big. That is until you ask…

“But WHY Kym? You bat shit crazy woman? Why the fuck would you choose do do this? In these conditions? In a fucked up year where everything is so extra hard and stressful we all deserve a medal for putting on pants… WHY?????”

Because since before the pandemic, I’ve been quietly harboring the absurd desire for something much bigger: The Arrowhead 135.

It’s 200% longer than my little challenge tomorrow. And it’s in northern Minnesota during the historically coldest weekend of the year with lows regularly -35ºF. Or given climate change, it can be 135 miles of sloppy sticky snow. The finish rate is 50% on a good year and 35% on a tough year.

So yeah, my 47 miles on easy terrain with multiple friendly resupply stops? It starts to look like a little thing. But it’s still a big thing for me. I’ve never done an ultra run. The only marathon I’ve ever done was the one in my Ironman Tri 5 years ago. I spent the last 5 years on my handstand goals.

I have been training for this big day.

But really, this is just the chill little pre-test to officially kick off my preparation for the Arrowhead 135.

Whatever happens tomorrow will inform how far out to put the big goal. Is the Arrowhead a 2 year goal or 5 year goal?

As a coach, I see people getting bogged down by canceled races and lack of access to their normal training spaces. They struggle with how to adapt to what they can do and control. I also see people struggle with goals too big for them. Sometimes it’s so big they don’t know how to start so they don’t. Or they underestimate how big it is and try to do it too soon.

Doing this personal urban ultra challenge is my personal solution. It is a big exciting thing I could train for and control for during the pandemic. It helps put me on the path to a goal that is too big for me this year.

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2 Responses to Personal Urban Ultra Challenge

  1. Wow, yes, this is BIG! I’ll be thinking of you tomorrow, wishing you a good, safe, and fun day. I’m so proud of you, Kym, for your drive and physical and mental strength, regardless of your run outcome.

    Holly Jorgensen
    author of Enchanted: Reflections from a Joyfully Green and Frugally Rich Life
    Northern Holly Creations, LLC

    • Kym Zest says:

      Well, it was big. Certainly felt big while I was doing it. And in the following days the recovery also reminds me that it was big. My general conclusion is that it was the fucking weirdest hardest easiest adventure I’ve ever done. Pretty sure that’ll be the title for the next blog post.

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