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.