On November 20th, 2004 I finished my first race ever. It was not a 5k, or 10k, but an ultramarathon. After the race, I told myself I was never going to run another event like that again.
On March 27th, 2010 I will be attempting to finish my 50th running event of marathon distance, or longer. So much for never running another ultra.
I've been reflecting on what I enjoy most about running. In recent years I've only taken one major leave of absence (June 2009-November 2009) from competitive events, and this was due to a non running related injury. However, this period of time did not mark an absence from running since I still completed several organized club 50k trail runs, albeit at a much more relaxed effort.
This spring I have once again kept my efforts pretty low key, and non "competitive". I frustrated myself in 2009 by trying to unrealistically PR every event (even on back to back weekends), and wound up with mediocre results and not enjoying the events like I should. After 50 events, I realized that having fun has made my pursuit of long distance running far more enjoyable than merely running to finish in a particular place. Another reality after five years of running and testing different training methods is that I probably will not get much faster. Small "fat ass" events aside, I am usually a consistent top 25% finisher at most big events.
Beyond 50 endurance events I don't really have any major objectives. I have already achieved most of my ultrarunning goals.
Finish an ultramarathon- complete
Finish a 100 miler under 24 hours- complete
Finish a 50 miler under 8 hours- complete
Win an event (non Fat Ass)-complete
As one who still enjoys a good challenge, ironically, I don't necessarily think making new goals is in my plans. For the time being, I am enjoying the view of running from a purely hobby standpoint. Up next...spring time in the Shenandoah and snow free trails!