That is a question that many endurance athletes are asked, sometimes by other endurance athletes (who don't "endurance" quite as far as others) and often by non-endurance athletes.
About 21 miles into a 22 miler
Why are you going to run 31 miles at one time? Why are you going to subject yourself to hours and hours of potential, and in all likelihood inevitable, pain? Why are you training for this one event like it is a part-time job?
It is a question that for many there is no one clear answer.
For me, the answer to "why" has many layers.
Mike and I started running using the Couch-to-5K program back in April 2011. We were both swimmers growing up, from 7-8 years old through two years of collegiate swimming, and we both ran cross country when we were younger. I made it through my freshman year of high school and decided that 3 miles was way too long to run.
I've improved my race photo face since then, ha
On the surface, when we started running we both looked "healthy". We weren't really, we were pretty sedentary, though we had both lost a significant amount of weight that we had gained after we had stopped swimming. The Couch-to-5K was something that we could do together and that was the biggest motivator for me to try to run again.
Running and triathlon has helped me gain a healthy relationship with food. I see food now as a way to nourish my body in order to do all of the things that I love. And quite honestly, I love food!
Garlic knots? Yes please!
As I look back on my journey, it isn't surprising that I am an endurance athlete, an Ironman and a soon-to-be ultramarathoner. I thrive on setting the bar high, achieving my goals and setting the bar even higher the next time. I don't always achieve everything that I set out to do the first time, but that's what keeps me coming back and working harder to achieve it the next time (and in some cases maybe the third or fourth time that I try).
We love jumping after a race
I love the friends that I have gained from becoming an endurance athlete. I met my best friend, Crystal, because of our love of running. I have met so many other people because of running and triathlon, and for that I am thankful.
At the same time, I have also come to know myself better. I have become stronger, both physically and mentally. You learn a lot about yourself when you are out there training for hours and hours.
Sitting in the grass and reflecting is necessary in endurance sports
Those who know me, know that I am not willing to say that I will never do something. A 50 miler? Yes, it is possible. A double Ironman? Sure, I would consider it. Anything and everything is possible with the right mindset, motivation and hard work. I am not willing to limit myself and my abilities.
So I guess the short answer to the question is simple.