A Runner Looks at 40
I’m not there yet but tomorrow’s my birthday and as my wife like’s to remind me, it’s a big one because it’s the last of my 30’s. She makes me laugh. I had one coworker this week tell me that 39 was his worst birthday and he freaked out and bought a mustang. I’m pretty sure if I did that, Jenn might head in another direction. Don’t worry sweetheart, I won’t. Maybe my freak out is thinking I can turn the running team into something more than it has been, but I think that’s more thought regarding the rational evolution of something with great momentum.
That said, a birthday is always a great time to look back over the last year, and in my case, my 30’s, as I begin to wind this fine decade down. Being that this is site and blog is largely about running I’m going to focus on that and my running goals as I put the arrow towards #40.
When I started this decade, I had been a year or two removed from the last of my pick-up basketball leagues and my church league softball I played. I was also just a few days from becoming a dad since my oldest’s bday is just a few days after. That winter and for the next 4 years, whenever the next of the little ones arrived, I found myself as inactive as I’d ever been in my life. I was busy trying to keep up with dirty diapers and helping my wife with the late nights, etc. but I wasn’t physically active.
Finally, right around my 33th birthday, we went to my in-laws, for Christmas and God love her, but my MIL pats my stomach (I was wearing my peacoat) and smilingly says, “Do you have a present for me?” I said, “No.” She, thinking I was messing with her said, “Oh come on….you’ve got something under there!” I laughed, unbuttoned my coat and just said sheepishly, “Nope, I’m just fat!”
That was my first bit of motivation for losing some weight. I’m 6’1” and I was coming in around 220 then. I would go on to lose nearly 20 pounds and was feeling better but I’d still never gotten over the winter blah’s and always found 5-10 lbs of cookie, pie, and whatever else was around. All 3 of our kids were born either in the fall heading into the winter or right at the beginning of winter and our families were far too generous with the goodies and meals they brought us.
When I decided to run our first Ragnar, I was about 215 again and slightly climbing. Our youngest was just born and something needed to happen. I finally committed to running and I thought I’d trained really well for the race. I wasn’t fast by any means but I lost 15 pounds in the course of training as was down to 199 for the first time since I can’t remember. That weigh-in came the morning after I got home from the race. I’ve not seen it since.
Throughout all of my training I keep getting down to 200 or near it every time but the problem is that I keep finding the weight I’ve lost, nearly every time. I’m so exhausted and burned out from the process that I literally will find myself quitting running for weeks on end post Ragnar.
Through 5 Ragnars, soon to be 5 years of RNW, now Runners Doing Good, and nearly completely my 39th trip around the sun, I’ve not found consistency in my running and while that might be the mode of adventure that I’ve used to go about our fundraising aspirations, I’m unsure if I can count myself a real runner. I’ve had moments where I’ve felt like it.
In 2017 during Ragnar Chicago I had a 6 mile run that took me through the Glacial Drumline trail between Madison and Milwaukee. We could see Jenn in the distance and there was a pack of folks lined up to take off at the exchange where I’d accept the baton. One guy acted like he was afraid of the next run and although he looked in pretty good shape, I thought to myself, just try to keep him in view and then catch him, if I could. One person after another would come in and the pack of 6 was down to 2: he and I. He would get a sizable head start on me. I’m not sure if it were a minute or two but he had a neon hat and shirt on from what I remember and I could see him down the track quite a distance and especially as we turned out into the country side where there wasn’t an cover. I somehow kept him in sight and I noticed that I was gaining, especially after the first 2 miles. By mile 4, I was only off of him by maybe 20 yards and by mile 5 he was a couple hundred yards behind me. I felt strong. I ended up finishing a good bit ahead of him and it was fun to be done and waiting on him.
Another time was later that year when I ran the Fort 4 Fitness 10k and ran the whole distance. My goal was to run it in less than 1 hour and when my app hit 10k distance, I was at 58 minutes. The problem was that I still had less than a quarter mile to go to the finish line at home plate at Parkview Field and my official time came in around 1:02, if I’m not mistaken so that goal is still technically out there but again, another day that I felt strong.
The consistency is what I’m striving for this year. That may be my most lofty personal goal. I know runners and the mileage they put in is due to that consistency. I have not run enough from one year to the next to say I’m anywhere near consistent, and maybe not even a runner.
So in the full spirit of disclosure, here’s my yearly mileage since 2015. 78 in 2015, 2016 – 116, 169 in ‘17, 151 in 2018 till I got hurt, and 191 this year. For someone that’s been “running” as part of this adventure to raise money through those running efforts, I’ve trained enough to complete the goal and while I love being out there, I’ve let the process get the best of me and there are long periods of time that I’ve lay out. Consequently, my weight has yo-yo’d in the same 10-15 lb range and I’m currently at the upper end of that, nearly 215 again.
I’ve proven that putting the work in can achieve some decent results but it’s time for some true change. Just running to finish can’t be the goal any longer. 2020 is going to be different so as I embark on this odyssey towards 40 and all things Runners Doing Good, here’s a few goals for the new year and I’ll report back on these quarterly:
- Less screen time, more pavement time
- Less pavement time, more trail time
- Become a runner by finding consistency. At least 10 miles a week with the goal of 12-15 a week. If I do that, then I’ll more than triple my best mileage year ever.
- Run that 10k in under an hour.
- Run that 5k in under 28 minutes
- Get to 190 = healthier me = faster me
- No pop, just water.
- No beer or wine…just kidding. Nothing wrong with a celebrating success. 🙂
Those are my running goals. Here’s 3 challenge goals that I’ll throw in there that with your help, I’ll go after.
- If the team can get Runners Doing Good up to $5,000 in total donations by the end of our main event this year, I’ll run the Fort 4 Fitness 1/2 Marathon.
- If we break our fundraising record by August 1st, I’ll go for the Triple Crown that they’re bringing back.
- If we break $10,000 in fundraising this year, I’ll find a partner in crime and go Black Loop at a Ragnar in 2020 as a 40 year old.
So there it is, a year with some good running goals towards a healthier me for 2020 as well as some personal challenge goals attached to our racing efforts with 2020 and potentially 2021 repercussions.
All fundraising will start in January and count towards those goals. Anyone who wants to join the fun, let me know!