Sunday, August 19, 2012

Why I no longer run ultras

While there have been few inquiries about my status as a runner I thought, for my own sake, a note explaining my status would provide closure. 

Running was a method I used to work out problems, accomplish goals and gain self esteem while at the same redirecting painful memories into positive energy.  The method served me well for many years but there was a downside in that it required focus, hard work and seclusion.  The  consequences of the seclusion, in particular, impacted the other people in my life without my knowledge.  As I came to realize what I lost with running vs. what I gained was substantial. Alienating myself from my family was an immature act that left me in an okay state but deprived the other people in my life of my attention.  I would consider my running accomplishments to be impressive but I also consider the effort not worth the cost of what I lost. 

So why run 100's in the first place you may ask.  My answer may sound selfish and in fact it probably is but the reason I ran was to feel good about myself and later on in my career to help other runners feel good about themselves as well.

The running stories I've published clearly identify certain people who positively impacted my life and who I admired & respected however there is no person I admire or respect more than my wife.  She is the person who has helped me to understand the importance of sacrifice, sensitivity & courage. I now realize that it is more important for me to attend my 11 year old's ballgame than it is for me to run.  It is more important for me to be available to take my 14 year old to karate than it is to run.  It is more important for me to be in the house upon my wife's return home from work to ask her about her day than it is to run.  And finally it is important for me to listen and not always feel as though I have to respond. 

What my wife has showed me is that the hug of a child or the smile on his face or her herself saying I love you is more fulfilling than the feeling of crossing the fnish line of any 100 mile race.

Unless I destroy everything my wife has worked so hard to bring into my life I have no reason to ever want to return to the lifestyle I maintained as an ultramarathon runner.