Sunday, December 6, 2009

2010 Race Calendar, Passion & Family

A big thanks to Kel for assembling in one place a nice list of runs in the midwest. Check it out at her web site.
I'll be putting together my 2010 race calendar in the next few weeks. I won't be able to run all the races I put on my calendar. However, just placing the possibilities on paper is part of what motivates me.

I have learned during the past three weeks that running, ultra running, is much more a part of my being than I had imagined. I am partially defined by it; thinking about running, planning to run, and actually running all play a significant role in motivating me in other areas of my life. There was concern that running was a greater passion than my family, that I spent more time and mental gymnastics thinking about running than about developing our family. Some of that concern was legitimate.

So I made a difficult choice three weeks ago to give it up. It was not an easy choice, but one which once made, was easy to accept. I was glad that I was able to choose my family over running.

What I realized during the past weeks, and what Marty realized, is that I am not as good without running. Without a Friday moonlit run to look forward to, I found that my motivation in all of life was waning. Without a long trail run to look back at, I missed having something significant to be proud of. I have much to be proud of in my family, and my great family sets me apart from most in this world. But, I found that I need a regular, significant accomplishment to fall back on during times when I doubt my abilities. What I hadn't realized is how looking back at a big accomplishment such as a long, night run actually gives me confidence and courage to deal with a difficult legal issue or stay hopeful when I finish a case, which happens to be my only paying case.

Ultra running has become who I am. I discovered that it can't be easily distilled from my life. It makes life sweeter, more full. I found that I do need large challenges that few others attempt. I don't think it's so much pride as it is purpose that makes ultra running so indispensable. And not just purpose, but passionate purpose that makes all of my life more sweet. It's not so much different from faith, except that faith's object is so much more valuable.

So, I am drafting a 2010 race calendar in the coming weeks. And I'm doing so with an eye to protecting my family. I'm not preferring a competing passion over my family, but pursuing a passion that enables me to more passionately love my family.


David Ray said...

Well said. Running makes you better. I believe that.

Steve said...

So glad to hear it, Joel. I couldn't imagine you not running. Looking forward to your 2010 schedule!