December 28, 2015

My Apathetic Confessional. Sort of.

It started out as it usually does, 180 degrees from where it is now.

This post, that is.

Yes, it started as an apathetic confessional. The year 2015, the first year since 2007 I haven’t run an official ultra. Then it swerved off topic when I saw a picture of my two daughters standing in front of the White House, a short stop we took during a college trip in February for my oldest. Would I see her much next year after she goes away to college? I wonder. Is this why I chose to spend less time grinding out the miles on trail this year? Could be.

I ask myself, after being away from it for over a year, will I ever go back to running ultras? The thought has crossed my mind. But then I came upon a picture at the finish of the Catalina Marathon in March with my friend Mike F. I remember meeting Mike a long while ago on St. Patrick’s day at the Harp Inn in Costa Mesa, California. I’ll never forget that night because Mike told me about the South Coast Road Runners. I went out to run with the group the very next week and met some interesting peeps. Some of them told me about ultra running, and I’m still running with these characters to this day. Would I be running ultra’s if I never went to the Harp Inn that night? Hmm….not sure about that.

Taking time away from running (or from anything) is good for the soul, or so I’ve written in the past. But is a year too much? I started to answer this here, but then I came upon a selfie I took this Spring wearing my Western States jacket with San Gorgonio Mt. in the background. I remember telling myself to never lose this jacket and, no matter what, to be careful when I use it. I received the jacket for winning my age group at WS 100 during my Grand Slam journey last year. Where it is now will be the subject of a future anguished post.

What is the big deal about racing anyway? Isn’t just being out on trail what counts the most? The thought was solidified when I scrolled to the picture of Cracker and Rob M in Cracker’s ’92 Toyota Forerunner. We were on our way back from our road trip to run rim to rim to rim in May. The trip was a highlight for me and a reminder that it isn’t just about starting lines, aid stations and race times. It’s about watching Cracker blow up on us because we forgot to remind him we would be in the bar at the top of Bright Angel Trail when we finished.

I’ve heard it said that taking time off from running can preserve your legs. This is a concept I started writing about until I saw the picture I took of my family on bicycles in Berlin with my wife shamelessly checking her emails. It was a long summer, and the first summer I can remember I didn’t run a single mile. I’ve since learned that magnesium depletion and the Achilles tendon are a dreadful couple, and can cause major strife to a runner’s tranquility.  Fasting on coffee and wine doesn’t help much with this matter.

When I really think about it, I don’t know what I would do if I wasn’t a runner. I think I would be drowning in a sea of narcissistic tsunamis. The thought continues to linger, until a grin sweeps across my face when I see the picture of Bino M’s white ass move into full view of my virgin lens.

No, I don’t know what I would do. But as runner, at least I’ve got a life raft to hold on to during these turbulent times.

Happy New Year Runners!!


Jukka Kukkonen said...

Great post. Ultra New Year!

Unknown said...

Virgin ? I think that lens has caught that MOON on many occasion ! Great run , great post !!!!! 54 years young , and still HANGIN' in there . Until the next "eclipses". I hear you're going to race again.......Come get some !!!!

Enduranceron said...

I am kind of in the same spot and have been for 3 years now. I ran ultras from 2007-2012. My last one when I complete the Vermont 100 in 2012. I have yet to run another. I still call myself an ultrarunner and think of myself as such, but then again, don't I have to keep running them to call myself one? I still love running and have run shorter races since then but I don't put in the huge miles and hours out there anymore but enjoy being out for a couple hours and then being home enjoying a brew with my girlfriend or hitting up a vineyard for a tasting too. I still workout everyday and get the occasional itch to register for an ultra but something stops me from doing so. Like you my daughter graduated High School this year and seeing/helping her transition into adulthood/college has been an enjoyable experience. I still have dreams of running WS100 or Badwater....In the end, I think I am just rolling with the tide and riding the ups & downs of life and it's ok to do so. Doesn't mean the chances or desire to accomplish those dreams won't happen, they still might yet...I guess my point is to enjoy the present and experiences happening now. You never know what opportunities or experiences lie ahead...