It’s day 450, by design I have to be introspective. Last review Day400, was at the beginning of the year. I already wrote all I did couple weeks (hello4) ago of all the cool races I ran this year, so I won’t repeat. Two 100 mile races, Rocky Raccoon and Rim to River, bookended the year. They were the reason I called this year a pop-off year for running. In between I also did some ultras I thought I did not have the ability to run.
I felt thankful and fortunate and relieved to have done them. I was not fast. I saw some who did not finish. I ran with some of them at their pace. Most of the time I was at the cutoff and it could have been me being cut. I enjoyed all the races. If I did not run them, I would not have known I was capable to do them.
Originally, I wanted to look back at them in a holistic way, maybe to draw some lessons or something profound from all these races. There are probably some lessons hidden or a common theme ran through them. There were friendship made along the way and moments I did not want to forget. They are now past. I am okay with not to focus on them and let them pass. All honor and glory burried in the sand of time.
I want to say: Running was my life in 2021 and has been so for the past few years (more on this in a future blog; I wrote one up, but it was not ready to be published).
Some asked me, how many marathons did I run this year? I don’t know. There is a page somewhere that tracks this, but off the top of my head, I don’t. A lot I think. Though I don’t really chasing after races now. I enjoy as much or even more just a long weekend run around my neighborhood. The distance no longer scares me. Long runs are cool and always what I look toward to at the end of each week — that pretty much what quarantine of 2020 taught me. 2021 was pretty much the same but in hyper drive.
One word if I can sum up 2021, would be racing. I run races all the time but this year even though I ran so many races, the intensity of the schedule felt normal. I adapted to the intensity. Couple years ago, a schedule like now would be considered overloaded. Now, it seems there are not enough races to pack my weekends.
I tried to run an ultra back to back for the first time, doing what I did when I ran marathons back to back (and earned myself a spot in the marathon maniacs club, back in 2018). So last weekend, a week following finishing the Rim to River 100, I signed up and ran the Stone Mill 50 (I hope to write a report on it). I thought I would die in Stone Mill but in the end, I ran a faster time than last year and I felt great afterward. No cramping no exhaustion. The body felt normal. I wanted to run another 50 mile this weekend (JFK), but common sense prevailed and also I wanted to show respect to my two friends who were running it by cheering them. I really believe I could have done three ultras in a row.
The biggest struggle I had this year was trying to find balance between running and everything else. Work was nonnegotiable. Sleep/rest was also pretty much nonnegotiable – you could cheat one night or one week but it always comes back to bite you with unwanted down time. I rather stick to a regular schedule. You can’t cheat your body.
The flashpoint came when my mom was sick and needed 24 hr care. I was in the midst of my final training for the 100 mile race. There is always another race to run but I had invested so much in it. Downtime came when you are least expected. In this instance, I was not the one who got sick but my family. It was a forced downtime nonetheless. In the end, I did run it at the expense of being hated/frowned upon by those who did not undestand why I chose racing over family. I did not understand fully myself. I took the plunge and hope for the best. But that what it is. By the way, she is doing much better and can now live independently again.
I dodged a bullet that everything worked out in the end and I had a story to tell. But it could have been the other narative.
What for next year? I will run more races. Maybe even more than this year (schedule). My goal is to run in an even longer distance race. I am seeking (to reach) the next level, whatever that is.
Other than running, I spent lot of time on twitch (tv), and playing games. Yes this year, I got hook into gaming and twitch. Where did I find time for them right? or the money! I quit my gym membership (and dropped a phone plan) for twitch and gaming. Toward the end of the year, I also spent more time with investing in stocks and thinking/planning for retirement. I traded the money I set aside for a racing bike and a gaming computer to fund my retirement account! I think it was worth it but I had a bit of a regret too.
For readers, what this post is about? who’s know. Maybe it is a preview for my next blog. We all have our own life to live and choose our action with the choices presented. That is pretty much 2021 for me, I chose certain actions and those were the results. There were surely other stuffs happened except they didn’t leave as strong an impression as racing, especially the 100 mile race, which was the central focus for me.
Is that how I want 2022 to be? I will need to think more on this. Maybe it is a good post for the new year.
A future post will dive in depth on this subject, maybe the struggle, the balance, and the rationale. I wrote a lot already, but I felt I only scratch the surface. Happy Thanksgiving!