For regular readers of this blog, you are used to only descriptions of my races in this space. Rarely do I open up and let you into some of the more deep and intense thoughts in my beady little head about this addiction I call running. This entry is one such diatribe, a little more cerebral, a little more deep. I implore you to suffer through it. It will put all future posts into perspective.
In the fall of 2005 (the beginning of what I affectionately refer to as ‘the modern era’. Hey, how about ‘epoch’ instead? Hmmm….) I started running again after a ~17 year hiatus. Originally I did it to get in shape only, loose some pounds so I could keep up the bad-for-you diet I had come to enjoy and love in my youth and perpetuated into my adulthood. (’Adulthood’ my arse. I am an wiseguy punk who is 37 and has yet to grow up, let be honest here, eh?) At that time I was going through a lot of self realization about my life, what truly made me happy, why I was here, what I was good at (not much!) and what I was not good at (lots!). In my younger days, I was never that great at anything, even running. I never made higher than runner #4 on my high school cross country team, never won a damn thing. That all changed when I started running marathons. A Boston qualifying time my first ever marathon. A marathon win (my first EVER) ~2 years later and three more wins after that. My first ‘double’ (defined as two marathon races in one weekend) was rough, but I have done it twice more with excellent results. I finally found something I could call my self ‘pretty damn good’ at. It only took me 35+ years. So I keep running, jacking up my frequency, running 3:00-3:10 marathons >1/month with no problems whatsoever. When I reach 50 states, I will be one of less than 10 souls to ever do it before age 40. That little fact barely gets a rise out of me. I must be cracked or something.
So here I sit at not quite at a crossroads, but at the sign that says ‘ crossroads ahead’. I now have 34 states of my 50-state-marathon-quest done and unfortunately at this point I just want to get the last 16 over with so I can move on with my next goal, whatever that may be. Because the marathon distance is now ‘easy’ for me, I have to change things up just make it mean more to ME, make them more of a challenge, which is why I do doubles (2 marathons in one weekend). The joy of completely a marathon is now almost minor. I get more out of the fact I knocked off an additional state that the actual completion of a marathon. Is this a step of the addiction process? Once I grow bored with this addiction (plain old marathons) I need something new, a designer drug, so to speak. The last states cannot come fast enough for me and I need to figure out what to do ‘next’.
While I was hanging out in Phoenix on a flight layover, I spend some time looking at those last 16 states, trying to figure out how fast (and cheap) I can knock them off, and I found back-to-back (consecutive weekend) doubles (two marathons in one weekend) NH and ME the first weekend of October, then UT and OR the second weekend of October. Four states (none of which I have) in 8 days. That is a challenge, and one that I gladly embrace. I know my body could handle it, the mental preparation being the hardest part, so why not do it? It would be a challenge, be prestigious, and I knock out 4 states! Maybe that is what I need to focus on. I now need to try to think outside the box to give me a challenge, something more unique. Sure, this year I am expanding my horizons, running a 24 hour race in April and my first 100 miler in July, but what else? I have thought about attempting to break the world record for ‘fastest marathon while dribbling a basketball’. That would be cool. Other ideas include running across the state of Michigan in 2-4 days. All I know is that a 26.2 mile run is no longer something that brings me great joy. Don’t get me wrong, it’s cool, and I appreciate that to do that feat is something to be proud of (They say that 0.001% of Americans will ever run a marathon), but I guess I just want more now.
Whoever thought that running 1 or 2 marathons a month, every month just wouldn’t be enough? Who needs a coach. I push myself more than anyone has ever been able to push me. Ever. Now if you excuse me, I need to go get another run in. >:)