Running Through the Storm

It is hard to believe that summer is coming to a close. Its harder to believe that we are almost out of 2015. But, the stores have started stocking Christmas decorations and the days are getting shorter.

As 2014 ended, so did a future I had been planning. Without giving a lot of detail, a long-term relationship I had been in came to an abrupt halt. I am not ashamed to say that it left me a pretty dark place for a few months. My house was all of a sudden empty and quiet. I was at a lose of words as I tried to explain to my friends and family, who not long before had attended my wedding, that I was now living alone. And I had more free time to fill than I knew what to do with.

I have always thought that running can get you through anything. It is meditation. It is an antidepressant. It is freedom. It is art. It is baptism. It is everything that I needed during those first few months. In January I bought 6 pairs of running shoes and started forcing myself to get out the door no matter how down I was feeling.

I started making promises to myself. I promised that I would make running a social event and started hitting local races and group runs. I made a list of races that I wanted to enter and researching how I could qualify for others. I registered for the Laurel Highlands Ultra (70.5 miles). Finishing within 20 hours would qualify me to enter the 2016 lottery for the Western States 100. I registered for the Pinhoti 100 as a back up race and so I could gain more experience at the 100-mile distance. While intimidated as hell by the Hardrock 100, I realized my 2014 Grindstone finish would be good for a lottery ticket into the 2016 race. I also started researching 200 mile races and races in other countries. I started looking at all of my options. Every door was open and every weekend I was running somewhere else with a group of people.

I wont say that things went perfectly. I wont say that running fixed everything. But running did keep me from turning toward negative outlets. And after a few months, it did bring me through a tough transition.

This year I have managed to PR in the 50K and 50M distance. I finished the Laurel Highlands in 15:50 and some how came in 15th place. I have logged almost 200 more miles to date than I had by this time last year. More importantly, I have met a large number of great runners who I consider friends and I have strengthened my relationship with others I have shared the trail with.

August is my birthday month. My 31st year had not gone as planned, but I’ll always remember how I handled it with pride. As a reward, I registered for the Bigfoot 200 Mile Endurance Race. I have never been to Washington or Oregon and cannot imagine a better way to see that part of the country.
The 200-mile distance seems like such a challenge. I do not know how I will fuel, how the gear will work out, how my body will hold up, how to plan aid stations. And I cannot wait to start figuring it all out.

All runners understand that distance running is an analogy for life. The harder that you work when you are going through a low point, the farther you will be when you come out of it.

3 thoughts on “Running Through the Storm

  1. great perspective. sorry that you had to go through so much but your attitude in dealing with your loss is inspiring. it’s so easy to get sucked into the negativity. congrats on your PRs and to sticking to your goals. i can’t fathom a 200 miler…impressive. good luck with your training!

  2. Rab

    I try and explain this way of life to people who don’t run , they just don’t get it.. It really does lift you or put another way , when your out on your own running with just your own thoughts you get the peace to let your mind deal with them. Keep hitting those trails good luck with your upcoming events .. Now where’s my running shoes??

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