A Runner Looks at 40: Part 2

Run 1 of 4 at Ragnar Relay Michigan 2018

When I put Runnin’ Not Walken together to get in better shape, I was 34, turning 35 later that year and completely unsure of what the year had in store for me. I’d spent the previous 4 years completely happy with my little ones being born and it just led me down a path where I wasn’t as active as I’d been and I didn’t end up in a spot where I was in very good shape, physically or mentally to a degree. I wasn’t happy with how I felt overall and I needed a change.

Tomorrow, is my 40th and I feel like I’m in the same boat all over again. 2020 has absolutely squashed my motivation and there have been some dark times this year. I’m a pretty positive guy but mentally, it has been a struggle at times to be that positive guy. I grew up an only child and was used to my time on my own and admittedly, there have been times in my life that I was perfectly happy doing my thing. I’ve had 2000 mile work trips in a rental car on my own and the quiet of it all was nice. It was odd to not share that with someone but it wasn’t bad.

Right now, I’d say much of what’s going on in the world today feels odd. I’m used to 40-50 people around all of the time and sometimes I truly want and need the quiet but while those road trips on my own weren’t bad, this certainly doesn’t feel like its good.

A run on one of the trails in Clifty Falls State Park, Madison, IN, Summer of 2020
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I love my family and get to see them more than ever but even in a nice room with the sun pouring in, I miss my teammates at work and it has been a struggle. This second time around feels a bit different and more upbeat but that first time I was home for 12 weeks? I found a dark hole about week 8. It wasn’t fun and it took one of my closest friends, a great pizza, and some Alaskan Brewing Co beer, and about 2 hours of conversation on my driveway in the early summer to snap me out of it.

Yes, I am concerned that I’m only 2 weeks back into this and I’m worried about it. I’ve not gotten back to running but a few times and it brings me back to being back in this boat of needing something more, a challenge, and something to snap me out of it because I’m not happy with my fitness as I feel like I’m back at square one.

I’m literally the heaviest I’ve ever been and when I’ve run, the times aren’t awful but they’re not my typical running times, nor should they really. I’ve not run consistently in more than a year now so why would they? I’ve made a point of being a runner, more for charity than for speed, but a runner nonetheless and I’ve not run consistently and in anything of consequence since September of 2019. It has been every bit the struggle and grind to get back at it.

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Ragnar Relay Chicago 2017

I am ready to turn the page and excited for what 2021 brings. I’ve mentioned this in other posts but ’21 is going to be The Comeback for the world and in many ways for me personally. The difference between the beginning of 2015, I didn’t know the first thing of what I was getting into with this running team, Ragnar Relay, or the fundraising that we do and now, I feel like I’m well experienced in what it takes to make it happen and it’s a matter of going out and doing it.

And speaking of doing it, here’s to a few goals for 2021. This time last year I threw out some goals and it all fell apart and I felt terrible about it. It’s been a crazy year and I’ve learned that I need to cut myself some slack, in the face of this year’s challenges, as well as others so here’s a short list of things I want to work towards in the year ahead:

  1. Drop 35 lbs. If I can do that, there will be some PR’s that will start falling.
  2. Get more sleep. Technically I’m writing this past midnight because I’m slightly prone to bouts of insomnia but I need to do better here. If I can do that, then my recover will do easier.
  3. Mileage: find more than in any year prior and with more consistency. If I can be more consistent with my efforts, the mileage will come.
  4. Once a month, once the weather gets better, find a new place to run…just because.
  5. Run the races….5K, 10k……13.1????
  6. Do Good, Run Good, Be Happy. If you can do the first two with some goodness in your heart, the last part will follow.
  7. Write my Ragnar experiences down to share as a book.

It’s hard to believe that I’ll be 40 tomorrow. It doesn’t feel like it and while I enjoy reminiscing, I look at my upcoming 40’s like this. I was busy in a crazy way in my 20’s. I was the most fit I’ve ever been, in my 20’s but I didn’t really try to be active. I just was. In my 30’s there was a good portion of sedentary lifestyle that we succumbed to but we also had 3 kids from ’10 – ’14 and they’re now more reliable to do what’s right and make life a bit easier….when they want to. The 30’s are ending with things at it’s least active but I’m looking forward to my 40’s because if I work towards my goals like I’ve stated above and am consistent with that effort throughout the next ten years, it could be the most physically fit decade in awhile and for that I’m excited.

Thank you for following along and have a great rest of your weekend!

— Gabe

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