It’s been a surprisingly busy “off season” – race-wise – and life-wise too. After DNF’ing the two races I spent the entire year training for, I’ve had such a blast just running and signing up for random races here and there with no pressure. I’ve also been doing a lot of analyzing, pondering and internal negotiating about what I want next year to look like, but more on that later.
I’ve had quite a bit of work travel over the past few months, acting as a doubled-edged sword, as I sometimes have the opportunity to run in some incredible places, and other times I’m simply chomping at the bit to get a run in. Here’s photo recap of the past fall’s races and places:
Below is an example of the sign in the fitness room at the hotel I was staying at in Washington, DC. Note the last rule: “…at first sign of discomfort, discontinue use.” Whoever made this sign should be shot; the first sign of discomfort is the first sign of change and improvement, in my opinion. Needless to say, this sign gave me some motivation during my dreadmill session.
That pretty much sums up the past few months. I’ve been enjoying the lack of pressure of a looming race in the future, however, I’m getting antsy about what I’d like to focus on next year. The two DNF’s I had this past year have really gotten to me, but not from the direction you may think they have. It’s not that I’m upset I didn’t finish (well, I am, but not in the context of this situation), but rather that I didn’t choose the appropriate races that match my strengths.
So, that’s what I’ve been doing for the past few months: trying to figure out where my strengths lie and what I want to focus on in 2015 that will not only fulfill my passion for the sport but also make me happy. I recall a moment I had with a fellow runner and friend after I called it at the Bear Chase 100K last September, where he asked me why I didn’t just focus on one distance. The question has stuck with me, followed me, stalked me for months. The question just may be the best and worst thing that’s happened to me. Why? Because I can’t answer it, but I’m trying to.
While I’m doubtful I’ll ever be able to answer that question, I’m hopeful I’ll be successful in the journey to find it. The first distance that came to mind when I pondered the question was 50K. As such, I’ve dedicated 2015 to the 50K, and while I’ve already promised Pete I won’t go over that distance, I’m not making any promises. On top of that, I’ve also registered for the Boulder Ironman 70.3 triathlon. I’m hopeful it will remove enough demons in my closet, plus, I think it’s a perfect distance for me across all sports (see aforementioned unanswered question).
Not to be too verbose and analytic, but this question has not only provided me with some guidance I think I’ve needed while I chase goals, but also with residual questions and thoughts that support my love for running. After an anticlimactic finish to 2014, I’m hopeful and excited for what 2015 has to offer.
Robert Frost (1874–1963). Mountain Interval. 1920.
1. The Road Not Taken
TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.