For the past 9 years, most of my life has revolved around running marathons. Commitment, training, travel, pain, elation, planning, learning, sharing, friends, challenges, disappointment, dreaming, experimenting, succeeding, stumbling....and celebration...all part of the mix. For the past six months I, however, have not felt the fire, and have been struggling to find out why. I now think it's simply that I don't enjoy the distance anymore.
I have thirty finisher's medals in my den...and stories to go with each one. I know there are many more races that could be run, and other stories that could be written, but I am going to leave most of those to the marathon friends I have made since my first, in Vancouver, BC. I say "most" because I hope to run one marathon a year, starting next year. Other than that, running-wise, I am going to cut back to frequent half marathons and, crazily, running "just for fun." I might even run without my Garmin, once in a while!
Despite that major change, I am not giving up on what a friend of mine once called my "epic adventures." I am going to get reacquainted with an old friend, my touring bike...and an old dream, that didn't pan out a few years ago.
In 2000 I rode my loaded bike across the narrowest part of England, from Whitehaven, on the coast of the Irish Sea, to Newcastle, on the edge of the North Sea. Finishing was brilliant.
Upon coming back to California I immediately started planning a return trip, to ride from Lands End to John O'Groats...the southern-most tip of England to the northern-most tip of Scotland. I planned every inch of the 900 mile journey, and set off in July 2003.
Four days in, my carpal tunnel syndrome took its toll, rendering me unable to shift gears or brake effectively because both hands were completely numb. I hobbled home, supremely disappointed, vowing to return one day to finish. I had the necessary surgery to alleviate the offending ailment, and then poured myself into running. The End to End ride is calling me again.
My plan right now is to focus on completing that challenge in 2012...for my 60th birthday. Deciding this already feels good. For the past few years I have used my bike to cross train for marathons. We're now going to reverse that.
I have presented this idea to my brother, who says he's up for joining me.