The short version: The Buffalo Marathon will be my 100th marathon/ultra and it will be my last, at least for a while. Maybe forever.
In the fall of 2005, I ran my first race in over 20 years, a little 5K and did ok, but knew I wanted to do more. I decided soon after that I wanted to train and run my first marathon, which I did in June, 2006. That represented the start of 8 years of running psychosis. In no particular order, here are all the goals that I made for myself, every one of them I achieved along the way:
- Sub 3 marathon
- Run Boston (2007)
- Run a marathon in all 50 states, each under 4 hours, before age 40
- Run a 100 mile race (x8)
- Get a ‘real’ sponsorship
- Top 10 finish in a national championship race (x2!)
- Set a world record (a cheezy one, yes, but still a WR)
- Finish every race I ever started (not a single DNF)
- Run around the Earth (total mileage equivalent)
- Run a barefoot marathon
- Win a marathon (x7 I think) and win a Hundo
After 8 years, as I am about to hit the magic 100 marathons/ultras, I look at what I have accomplished and think about what else there is to do that is different/new/exciting in terms of running and that list is very short, and behind each one is a reason against it:
- 50 states again (too much $$, time away from family)
- Even more 100 milers (I have finished 8 of them, now ‘old hat’)
- Run marathons faster (2:49 is a fine PR, thank you)
- Run Badwater/Spartathalon/some-other-really-long-race (time to train ‘right’ too much)
- Run across the US (too much $$, time away from family)
Put another way, there is no goal I can see in my (exclusively) running future that is anywhere near worth the effort needed to achieve that goal. And before you ask, marathons just don't do it for me after 100 of them and the effort (money/training) is now (sadly) never worth the payoff.
There will always be people closer to the ‘crazy cliff’ who will do those things (and more) no matter what I choose to do. I have accomplished so much and have nothing left to prove. I have no monkey on my back I need to remove. I am really quite happy with where I am. I want to go out with my head up, so to speak.
Running 110+ miles/week is time consuming. Those long hours on the road are no longer fun. I started running for improved health, but the difference between 40 miles/week and 110 miles/week is almost ziltch in terms of health. I could be doing a lot more ‘other things’ that I am starting to enjoy.
Now I have time that I can give back to the running/exercise world. I was recently elected at the President of the Friends of the Falling Waters trail. I sit on the board of the Fitness Council of Jackson. I am the race director/timer/marketing/all-other-jobs-too for the Falling Waters Fat Ass race series (spring and fall!) There are also other hobbies I wish to pursue, including photography and study of the Tao. I look forward to spending more time with my lovely wife as well.
Will I ever run a marathon again? Definitely, maybe. I know my ultrarunner facebook page will soon go away, and maybe this blog as well, though I like it as a diary. Who knows.
I want to thank all of you who have supported me and listened to me ramble about my boring running career. I know I have inspired at least a few of you, and that does make me happy. My experience and knowledge will never leave so feel free to keep asking me questions. I will always have answers. Promise.
Thank you, goodnight, and don't forget to tip your waitress.