Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Midlife Running Crisis

Thanks for putting up with me for the past few months as I've gone through my midlife running crisis. First I just wasn't running well, then I was OK with just running races for the fun of it without worrying about doing well, then I wanted to train and run well, then I didn't want to race at all, then I was completely sick of running altogether. I guess the truth is that I just haven't been running like I used to and it's not a lot of fun for me to race just for the sake of showing up and putting in a mediocre effort. Oddly, while my running has gone all to hell, the rest of my life is better than it's ever been! Kevin claims that this is a big part of my running demise, I have other priorities now. I think this is true. I also think I can get more serious about my running without letting it seem ridiculously important in the whole scope of things.

Although I have been running fairly regularly since the big DNF at Vermont, I haven't been very focused. I have been loving the mountain biking and hiking during this period of running burn out and looking back, I think it has been a good healthy thing for me. I've been able to step back and put the whole running thing into perspective. I read all my friends' Facebook posts and running Blogs and find myself thinking, "Don't you do anything else except run?" and "Where do you find time for your spouse and kids?" and "really now, aren't you boys a little too old to be trash talking and challenging each other?" Sure, I admit it, I spent a good portion of my life with a serious running addiction and sounded just like all those running friends. Now it's time for me to find out if I can start running hard again without blowing it way out of proportion. Can I run, and run well, while partaking of it in moderation? (If my Blog posts or Facebook status remarks start sounding too running related, someone please throw me an intervention.)

I have been getting out for five or six miles on single track every morning. It feels good and I'm enjoying it. I have also been out on the mountain bike and I absolutely love that, but I have no desire to turn it into something competitive. I have canceled all my racing plans for this Fall, but I also have officially taken back my "No More Hundreds Pledge" and my "Done with Racing Vow".

One more positive thought...Since my "midlife" running crisis didn't occur until I was almost 48, doesn't that mean I will live to be at least 96?


  1. I think many sound like they do nothing else because that is the only part of their lives that they blog about. It leaves a very one dimensional image of them as people, which I am sure they are not.

    I really get a kick out of your "...five or six miles on single track every morning." Is that dialed back? You are still inspiring me!

  2. You're never to old to trash talk, plus most of them deserve it :-)
    It's been entertaining watching you argue with yourself about running and racing. Curious to see who wins! Everybody runs for their own reasons, some of which I don't agree with. I think you should do whatever it is that makes YOU happy. I like to race. It's challenging, it keeps me motivated, it pushes me physically. I like team events. I like oddball races. I generally hate 5k's. But, that's me.
    The one thing I will tell you: family always comes first (ask them, they'll tell you). I enjoy what I do but it's not the only thing I do, it's just the only thing I talk about :-)

    Have fun out there!

  3. Laurel, it's interesting that you would post about the racing part of it as I just entered my first race and one of the reasons why I want to start doing races is just to have fun with other trail runners. I love to run alone and don't run with anyone else, but want to change that some. The problem with the races is that now that I have entered one, I beat myself up because I am not where I want to be with my running. I would love to see some organized events where you run just to run and not caling it a race but have yet to find them.

    I thought the head games I had going on within my mind was because I am still fairly new to running trails so didn't know it happened to others who are a lot more seasoned with trail running than I am. Glad to see you are putting it all into perspective and happy to see you are still running as you are an inspiration to me.

  4. The Fun Run!!! Mountain Bikers have been doing the Fun Rides, a.k.a. Epics or Adventure rides for quite some time. Its pretty much organized like a race, marked loops usually a short one and a long one for various riding abilities and fitness levels. The exception is that there is no official timing and signups are usually the day of the ride for a small fee. The proceeds typically go to a charitable org or back into the trails hosting the event. The whole point of the ride is to enjoy the trails in a relaxed and social environment with friends and new acquaintences.
    I think an adventure run where each runner stays with their group of friends might reduce some of the competiveness. - KC

  5. Hmmnn.....sounds like my own inner thoughts at times. When am I being selfish, why can't I just run when and where I want without worrying about my time / place/ or pace.......and I am only a really shouldn't matter anyway. I find when I argue (debate) with myself over these issues, no one ever wins, it just always continues to another mood or a different day.

  6. Fun runs...back when I first started running in the 70's, there were races and there were fun runs, two different things. Now a fun run is the same as a race. Still, group runs with a running club remains a non-competitive thing.

    Kim, I think you will love the race as long as you focus on your own enjoyment and your own running. I come from a back ground of being very competitve for many years and as much as I'd like to just settle back into the pack and enjoy my own race, I have trouble doing that!

    Steve, I agree, everyone does run for their own reasons. For many years I ran to try to win. I'm having a hard time changing that mind set! Hence the ongoing arguements with myself. Maybe I should start trash talking with myself and see if that helps! :)

    Thanks Shelly! Honestly, I feel like a twenty-five year old on the inside. That's why I am so surprised to find that my body can't always keep up!

  7. Exactly, Pathfinder. The truth is that nobody but ourselves really cares where we finish in the pack or how fast we run. So all the pressure comes from inside ourselves.