On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jog-trot, jog-trot, curnchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion, knowing I had won the race though it wasn't half over, won it if I wanted it, could go on for ten or fifteen or twenty miles if I had to and drop dead at the finish of it, which would be the same, in the end, as living an honest life like the governor wanted me to. -Alan Sillitoe, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What's next for me?

I don't know what's next. And I need advice on what I should do.

I will hit 1000 miles of running for the year tomorrow morning. Considering that November was a blisteringly tough 80 miles in total for the month (and this was including two marathons! compare it to October at 130 miles), and considering I didn't run more than twice in the entire month of January, I'm okay with that. I'd like it to be higher. Maybe 1500m for next year as a goal? That would be tough, but doable.

My biggest goal for next year, though, is not to race. I'm tired of "racing," as in participating in races that don't get my full attention.

When I was in college, I wrote to the Partnership for a Drug Free America and asked them to send me a video of their commercials. They did. My favorite one was this one:

Anyone who has hung out with me a bunch has probably heard me quote this guy. He gives such an eloquently strung out expression of the way we all pretend like life changes are somehow easy to make. "Come back in one year and I'll be... successful." How many times have I said that?

You come back one year from today and I'll be faster. And running higher mileage. And I'll be thinner. And smarter. I'll make more money. I'll have more friends - ooh, maybe a boyfriend! And my cat won't be an asshole any longer.

Except none of those things will be true. I'll pretty much be the same, knock wood. And that's okay. But no sense in pretending like I'm going to stop my serial racing.

I'm already registered for RnR NOLA, and I've been invited to join a team for Ragnar Cape Cod. In March and May respectively, I'd like to keep those two as my only spring races. In fact, I'm even on the fence about RnR. And then I have guaranteed entry to the NYCM come November.

Do I take a break? If so, how? What do I focus on?


  1. With your multiple marathons I think you are doing just fine! No need to stress how many miles you ran.

  2. You've heard my opinion on this subject. But hey, we are who we are. Serial racing may affect your ability to go faster, but ultimately, you're enjoying yourself and staying healthy. Hardly something to JUST SAY NO to. *snort*

  3. I really have no idea how to answer your question, but I have been reading a blog that has started to influence my way of thinking a bit. A couple recent posts ring true to what you are asking here. Take it or leave it, but it may at least give you a new way of looking at this stuff.
    Self-improvement: http://zenhabits.net/improve/
    Goals: http://zenhabits.net/100-days/

  4. When you were musing for a minute there about making 1500 miles your goal for next year, I momentarily thought you meant 1500 *meters*. And I thought, hmmm, interesting choice... working on VO2 max and intensity and all that... so, maybe my misread is like your Freudian blog slip? I don't know. Why change at all? But whatever you do, make it FUN.

  5. I'd say that a break from racing would be good for you. At least long enough that you're signing up for races because you REALLY want to do them, not just because they seem like a good idea. However, the only way I've ever been able to successfully do that is to hurt myself, which I do NOT recommend.

    I'd say stick with NOLA and Ragnar because those will be wicked fun. I'd skip NYCM, though, unless you're REALLY feeling it. It's a huge, crowded, expensive race, even with guaranteed entry, that you've run before. Maybe focus on shorter distances or races that are new to you?

  6. Gosh. This is a hard question to answer. I feel like I struggle with something similar... I love running and racing and pushing myself and stuff, but eventually things get stagnant and I start looking forward to taking a break or changing things up. But when it comes time to take the break, I find myself falling back into old habits and not really getting anywhere. One thing that has helped switch things up for me is that I am into the more fun/relaxed atmosphere of the trail running/racing scene now. Seems like you've enjoyed your trail races (at least the ones I've read?), so maybe that's something to consider as you continue hashing out your racing/not racing plan...