As of today, I am taking a leave of absence from races. I will let time decide when to start again. Right now it is getting too expensive with the gas, entry fees, and sometimes motel stays. I love running races, but it has become a bit much. I have run 18 races in the last 7 months, all but two were ultras. I have sacrificed quality for quantity. By racing too often, I have not had the results I am capable of posting. I know a few folks that race as much as 100 miles per weekend over long stretches of consecutive weeks. I have realized that way of life is not for me. I am 27 years old, and I would like to enjoy running for the rest of my life.
My priorities have not been in line recently. Over the last couple of years I have lived in four different places and worked several different jobs. Running has been a nice constant, but it has detracted from other things. Since I am gone almost every weekend, I have not had a chance to meet more people in my area. Although I make new friends through running, I know these are people I will not see on a weekly basis. I want to start developing more local relationships with the people in my community. I have been wanting to get more involved in my church, but that is tough when you don't come back home until mid day Sunday when service is already over.
Running is a great thing, and I do love it. However, running is not everything. I get tremendous fulfillment out of running races, and it does give me a sense of accomplishment. But, like many things those feelings are only temporary. I think this is the very reason people can become "addicted" to running. It gives you a high, and every week it calls to you. You find yourself wanting to find bigger, crazier, longer races to get your fix. Once again, I enjoy the atmosphere, the people, and the physical challenge, but for now I have other things I want to focus my energy on.
My future: I'm probably gonna adapt to the idea of running a few focus races. I will continue to run "fat ass" runs for fun. I will know when the time to return is right. However, for the remainder on the spring and summer, I am taking a much needed leave of absence.