This might make more sense if I give you a brief history lesson.
Fall 2005: I run my first race is roughly two decades, a 21:24 5K. It was a great day, the beginning of what I refer to as the 'Modern Era'.
June 2006: Realizing that as I have gotten older, I prefer slightly longer races, I try my hand (feet?) at the 26.2 mile distance and manage to break 3 hours in my first ever marathon in Indiana. I am flying high emotionally for about a week.
Spring 2008: After two handfuls of marathons, I set a goal of running a marathon in all 50 states before I turn 40 years old (8/18/2012) Which makes me an official 'state chaser. I check off this feat in October, 2010 in Connecticut.
2008: 15 marathons, 1 ultra marathon.
2009: 13 marathons.
2010: Knowing I am close to the 50 states goal, I decide my new goal is to go ultra, but not in small steps, I go straight to crazy land. In April, 2010, I attempt a 24 hour race (my only such race to date) to see if I can even finish a 100 mile race if I attempt one. I manage to run 101 miles in ~20 hours before I stop (I achieved all my goals, so I was done) In July of 2010, I attempt my first 100 mile race and finish 9th in the USATF 100 Mile national championship. I am now in elite company, as a 100 mile finisher.
late 2011/early 2012: Thinking I am invincible I start focusing on 100 mile races and do poorly, with my worst 100 mile time in Jan 2012, a 21:01:51 at the Winter Beast of Burden. Emotional damage done.
2012: I re-evaluate my training, and realize I am not the hot stuff I thought I was and start solving my problems (diet, training, race-day-procedure, etc. ) I get things turned around and get my 100 miles times back down to damn-near competitive.
August 2012: I pull a massive PR (by over an hour) running a 15:27:56 at the Summer Beast of Burden. While it was a great day, I end up in the ER for 30+ hours from dehydration and rabdomyolosis. The mental trauma from that little experience causes concern.
Jan 2013: While DNS'ing a 100 mile race in Florida, I decide to go down and volunteer for the race, where I meet Mike Morton who turns me onto a ketosis diet, which I start in March, 2013.
April 2013: I run the Indiana Trail 100 and at the end, I end up in the back of an ambulance, but after another solid race.
Early summer 2013: I start training for the 2013 100 mile championship but my heart is not in it. Doing 35+ mile days is no longer enjoyable. I have the worst position, that of someone who is >this< short of being slightly competitive in my sport (the 100 mile distance) so I am trying hard, but since I am trying hard, it has stopped being fun. When you hobby becomes more like a job, it stops being an enjoyable pastime. I had hit that point. I am now on the restrictive ketosis diet which is rough mentally, and not helping my running attitude.
June 2013: I run the inaugural GR Well-being 12 hour race, where, after 6 hours I am kicking butt but I have to stop for medical reasons. Turns out, I cannot (with my biology) run long races in hot weather on a ketosis diet as I cannot get enough fluids into me, I just can't. When I drop after 6 hours, sadly, I am not that sad. The previous 2 hours were tough mentally. I was asking myself 'why am I doing this?' more often that was appropriate.
That day I make two watershed decisions: |
1. I am dropping the ketosis diet and going back to a gluten-free paleo-style diet. It is quite healthy and more importantly, it don't mind it.
2. I will not be running the 100 mile national championship this year. My heart is just not it. I am not doing this for a paycheck, and it was not worth the anguish.
Which leads me to now. I knew I needed to do something drastic to get my groove back before I completely give this sport up, which I do not want to happen. I started running because I like eating food and I still do, so I can't stop running, but I can take a moment to enjoy it again, so I have. I want to become more of an ambassador to running, and I found that as a 100 mile running 'freak' I was so far from most other runners, they did not feel like they could relate to me.
I have decided to start over again. A few weeks ago, I ran my first 5K in over 2 years and it was awesome. The euphoria afterwards reminded me of my first marathon back in 2006. In a few days I will run a 10K and then in the middle of August, I am running a half marathon. And then, back to my precious marathon in the fall. I am planning on running 3-4 of them (and RD'ing a local FA marathon) before the end of the year.
While I am re-starting, I have a few advantages going for me....
- I am running only 50-60 miles/week now and it feels great to be running that little.
- I am in shape, have some endurance, and a lot of experience in racing.
- I have a meager following on this blog and facebook to try to inspire other runners.
- I have no long term goals that are acting as anchors around my neck.
- I have no toenails so I do not have to worry about losing them in marathons.
The last few weeks running in the new 'mentality' has made a huge difference. Instead of running 12-15 miles slow and feeling blah, I am doing 8-10 miles at a good clip, and afterwards I feel great, as if I actually did some positive work. I feel like I did way back when. I like that feeling, and I want it to stay...
Elite marathoners take weeks off with no running after major races. I have not taken a break from running since I started again in 2005. The longest I have gone without running is 3 days in the span of 8 years, and only that is after 100 mile races. Maybe I just needed to take a break, and I sincerely hope this will get be back to where I want to be.