ExCouch Potato Turns UltraWoman: “UltraMen may be from Mars, but UltraWOmen are from the whole Universe”

I just can’t hold it in! I have to shout out from the mountain tops and laugh myself to tears in the valleys. I’M IN LOVE! HOT SWEATY HEAD OVER DUSTY TRAIL COVERED HEELS LOVE! With who you ask? My very own prince charming ‘Ultra Life’ that is who! It seems this new Ultra galaxy has truly stolen my heart and in doing so, opened my eyes to the yin and yang of its beautiful people.

A few weeks ago I was honored to be part of the dream team working the annual Born To Run Ultra Race put on by Luis Escobar www.allwedoisrun.com in the rolling rich gold hills of Santa Ynez. It was there I witnessed the raw polarity of Ultra Men and Ultra Women. With eyes and heart wide open, I worked with famous Wild Bill on the pink loop aid station from 5:30am onward meeting every runner once, and some up to 5 times, depending on the distance of their race (10mile-50k-100k-100mile options). We joyfully fed, watered, iced down, took in and talked out hundreds of men and women trail runners. In general, the Ultramen came through with bare bones clothing (not that I was looking), minimal equipment and running solo. Most of the Ultrawomen came through well prepared, fully equipped and colorfully dressed in the latest and greatest running as pairs or in groups. The Ultrawomen tended to eat very little and resisted my offerings of TLC when I wanted to fill their hydration packs for them, wet down their hats and ice wrap their neck bandanas. The Ultramen, however, gobbled it up and gratefully would sit and receive all we had to offer them, sometimes like we where the last human touch they may ever receive. Slowly, as the foggy sunrise evolved into a hypnotic color technical sunset, I witnessed even more sex-varied behaviors. The Ultramen became quiet, like soldiers with marching orders moving bravely under the moon. The Ultrawomen, grew chatting and kiddy, as if high on a type of runners cosmic anesthesia.

Come 11pm, yes a 100mile ultra takes from 20 to 30hours nonstop running, I decided to change into my running clothes and explore more of this new universe working as a pacer. Amongst the music and dancing of the Born To Run festival campground I waited for my 100mile stranger. He happened to come from my town and if he needed me, I’d join him at his race day’s mile 70. First he resisted the support, never having used a pacer before and not wanting it to look like a sign of weakness. Using my years of sales experience, I convinced him to let me pace him for the next few hours, little did I know it would turn into 5am. Off we trotted picking up the pace now, like shooting stars newly energized by our human chemistry. Me now coaxing him along and reviewing his days hydration, nutrition, body and bathroom needs. Before long I picked up another solo male runner and over the next 20miles we three star gazers ran over mountains, through trees and bushes and around the rocks sharing a piece of ourselves with every foot step. Running all night long through the dark wilderness with perfect strangers was like writing a love letter to ourselves. The rich depth of their 100mile physical and emotional journey caused our hearts to beat wide open expressing all of life’s possibilities. Both of my male runners were very grateful for my femine support in helping them achieve their goals however, it was me who selfishly benefited the most that night. I fell hopelessly in love with each and everyone one of those runners who gathered together in the spirit of Born To Run and bared their souls and feet to the earth.

Starry eyed and dreamy, I then headed north this last weekend to magnificent forested Yosemite where I ran a 50k trail race at Shadow Of The Giants www.bigbaztrailraces.com . Like one of the Mars boys, I kicked up the dirt, peed in the woods, waded through the rivers, sweat out my salts and boldly navigated the ribbon marked single track trails up and over the mountains. Again, meeting Ultramen and Ultrawomen from all over, united to express their love of running on our mother earth. Caught up in the beauty and energy of the ancient Sequoia trees I was once again able to access that passionate love letter to myself and for the first time ever I won 1st place in my age group and set a personal 50k record beyond my wildest dreams.

After my transformational race I joyfully united back with my running and triathlete Universe girlfriends where we celebrated by jumping in the lake, drinking cocktails, painting our nails and telling funny stories. Proving once again for me that even though men and women tend to operate as if they live on different planets, we really are the same beautiful earth loving adventure-seeking people. Each of us brothers and sisters exploring our own inner solar system through our relationships and life experiences. I suggest to you now, to make an effort to fall back in love with the opposite sex, as well as yourself. Go outside into the arms of the Universe and getting dirty and sweaty! For me, that’s where the magic happens. I’m using my Ultra Running training to truly discover what my body and mind’s potential is and found a new love for life and myself there. I also found another level of love for the people, both men and women, who I proudly call my fellow Ultra Brothers and Sisters. I wish the same for you.

Samantha Pruitt
June 7, 2012

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