Sunday, January 17, 2016

Can The Patient Be Revived?

I just was showing the blog to one of my students last week, and I realized just what a crappy year 2015 was for me when I saw how little I have written. Two posts in 2015. Wow! That is horrible! It made me wonder if I could still call myself a blogger or whether I should just shut down shop and take off the site. Does anyone really care? Can the patient be saved?  After some consideration, I decided that I would try to revive the blog (and my running) in 2016.

That is not to say that I didn’t do much running in 2015 (I did), or that some of it was not good (some was). Honestly, though, a lot of it was not so good, especially in the latter part of the year.

When things are not going well, it is hard to write. I have had some very supportive comments when I have posted about the bad times in running, and I really appreciate that, but who wants to be a downer all the time? And, I still do have some positive things to say. There are some great races out there that I would like to report on, some great books I have been reading, products that I have been using, and ideas and observations that I have had that I would like to share.

So, let’s take a look at the positives of 2015. A year ago today, I started with a great run and a 2nd place finish at BearBait Ultra. It was a great race, and I fully intended to be back there again this year. Unfortunately, that was probably the high point of the year for me race wise.

During the early part of the year, though, I did have the opportunity to make some great running friends that have become real joys in my life. I have met two ladies in particular who continue to add a spark of joy to my trail running (love you Terri and Maddie!). I also had some really fun times on the trail. One of those was a trip Terri and I took to a great little race called Rockin’ Choccolocco that I hope to do again this year.  
Leslie, Linda, and me at North Country Trail 

I also had a really great experience with my running BFFs, Leslie and Linda, at North Country Trail Run, which is an awesome race with equally awesome bling. I really should have written about that weekend because it was a fun one. 

Until it wasn’t…   On the way back to Florida from that trip, I got really ill – like curl up on the nasty airport carpet to sleep, wheelchair through the airports – sick. I thought I had food poisoning at the time, but I now think I might have been dealing with rhabdomyolosis brought on by a combination of dehydration and the downhill pounding of the hilly trail which my flatlander legs were not prepared for. In hindsight, to continue with my plans to attempt a 100 miler a few weeks later was probably not the best thing to do.

Despite the fact that I had some wonderful support and good company (thanks John), I crashed and burned at my first 100 mile attempt at Race for the Ages. I started very conservatively with a walk-run strategy from the beginning, but by 10 hours, my legs had completely given out. I was slogging around barely moving my legs. Yes, I did realize that most of the other people were slogging around barely moving their legs too, but really I had no desire to continue with that activity for another 20 or 30 hours, which at the pace I was moving is what it probably would have taken to complete the 100 miles. That is just not why I am running, and saying that I had done a 100 miler was just not that important to me. 

However, this did send me into an existential crisis that I am still dealing with. Why do I run? Where is the line between pushing oneself to achievement and just pushing oneself for no good reason? (I know suffering is part of achievement, but when suffering is just for the sake of not quitting, is it still noble or is it just stubbornness?) Is it important to me to just finish a distance, no matter how long it takes or what shape I finish in? Does speed matter, or is it all about the distance? If a goal/hobby is not bringing joy, should it remain a goal? And, do I care what other people think about my personal answers to these questions?  

These were the questions that I was struggling with through the end of 2015. Through on top of that a stressful job situation and a husband who was hospitalized twice, and the running kind of fell apart. In the past, the running would have been a stress reliever from these personal problems, but because of my running-related ambivalence, it was not even performing that function. So, I took some time off. I think I ran twice in November and maybe three times in December.

Thankfully, the job situation turned out very well (I got the job of my dreams!), my husband is recovering from his illness, and … the desire to run (and to write about running) is slowly returning.  I am optimistic about 2016!  

(Image from