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I’ve always liked the title of Scott Jones’s online program for aspiring ultrarunners: “Becoming Ultra. It’s punchy. But I like it even more now that I actually understand what it means.

Before I started the process of training for my own first ultramarathon, the concept of becoming ultra meant nothing more to me than completing a debut ultramarathon. When you cross that first finish line, you become an ultrarunner.  But now that I am well along in the process of aiming toward that first finish line, my perspective has shifted.  I now see becoming ultra not as a moment of achievement but as an process of transformation.Matt on Hill

I won’t call myself an ultrarunner until I complete the American River 50-Mile on April 2nd.  It would be bad juju to claim a label I haven’t yet earned.  But already I feel like an ultrarunner, both physically and mentally.  This is exciting for me, because I most certainly did not feel like an ultrarunner just a few short months ago.  I’ve always enjoyed running fast more than running far, and I’ve always struggled at the longer distances in both training and competition. Not anymore.

The speed with which, and the extent to which, my body and my mindset have adapted to ultra training have been truly stunning to me. A couple of days ago I completed the longest run I’ve ever done; I spent an entire morning running. In the days leading up to this epic workout, I looked forward to it with genuine excitement. During the run, my body felt wholly equal to the challenge I was embracing. And the next morning I sprang out of bed ready for the next challenge. The whole experience had a dreamlike, too-good-to-be-true quality.

Matt with Cows

Obviously, training as an ultrarunner agrees with me, more than I ever imagined it would. In the light of this discovery, it’s tempting for me to wish I’d “become ultra” long ago, but I have no real regrets. Looking back, I see that from the very beginning my journey as a runner has been one long process of transformation, always taking me new places physically and spiritually. The trip I’m on now is just the latest phase of an adventure that, I hope, will continue to take me new places for a long time to come.

Racing Weight portraits
Matt Fitzgerald

Matt Fitzgerald is a thoughtful author focusing on all things endurance and nutrition.  We are all looking forward to seeing how this experiment fares.  We have agreed, whether a magnificent triumph or in a crumbled heap, Matt’s first ultra in 2016 will be a journey worth following.  Learn more about Matt HERE.


Scott is the founder of Becoming Ultra and spends most of his time with his family and ideas to get people moving!