Thursday, August 27, 2015

It's been great . . .

Folks . . . I don't want this blog post to be a downer.  I want it to be a celebration of sorts.  True, in my running life I have only very minor things to celebrate for most folks but for me, I feel good about everything.  I'm happy!   But I've had a couple of folks asking what was going on with me and I thought something was called for.


Running has been a part of my life for many years.  Damn . . . it seems like my whole life!

I started running back in 1975 or 1976 (I believe!!).  I was a smoker, overweight and wanted to turn my life around.  So I stopped smoking . . . then I began running.  And I've kept running pretty much ever since.

My favorite runs were trail runs . . . I just plain love running in the woods and in the mountains.  So many memories of awesome runs.  Especially on Bay's Mountain near Kingsport, Tennessee.  Such a GREAT place to run and enjoy the woods!  Plus, I love running is bad weather . . . running in the rain . . . and snow . . . really cold weather and really hot weather!  Soooo much fun!!

There was a ~10 year period where I had knee pain and had to give up on my running on doctor's advice, thinking I had arthritis and a knee replacement was in my future.  Luckily I discovered a way to begin running again without any surgery.  And so I started back running . . . a lot!  Lots of aches and pains through the years . . . a few knee surgeries and a hip surgery to name a few.  But I pretty much was close to 100%!

But now it is looking like I've run my last run . . . even short distances seem to be out.  My foot issues have plagued me since falling off of a ladder several years ago and now it seems my hip problems have returned and any running just causes too much pain for days and days.  I don't need to see a doctor to have a pretty good idea as to what is going on.  Oh . . . I will see a doctor fairly soon but I know pretty much what's ahead.  And I know my running days need to end.  So I'll just stop running.

Maybe I will find a solution to my hip problem that will allow me to run later.  Never say never.  But right now it's looking like my running days are over.  And I'm okay with that.

My running accomplishments are quite modest . . . embarrassingly few really!!  I was never a very good runner.  I really only competed with myself.  Honestly . . . if you ever considered me a competitive threat you just plain suck!!  Hahaha!

While I wasn't fast, I was very, very stubborn.  I was a pretty good at setting a personal goal and then working hard to achieve it.  Some goals I successfully achieved and a few I didn't.  But overall my running fulfilled a part of me.

I loved finishing races.  The last several years I was pretty much "DFL" in most races ("Dead Fu*king Last" for you non-runners!) but that never ever bothered me.  My goal was to finish.  And I usually did.  The only part about being last is I did feel sorry for the volunteers who had to wait for my sorry, slow ass to stumble across that finish line!

I found that I got way more personal satisfaction in finishing longer races than I ever did having a fast time on a shorter race.  5Ks and 10Ks just weren't nearly as rewarding as a marathon or longer.  I guess the challenge of the distance was what attracted me.  So the last segment of my running life was spent running longer distances marathons, 50Ks, 100Ks, 24 hour races, etc.

Anyway . . .  here are some of my personal achievements . . . don't laugh!  These were HARD for me . . . all but the last two.

  • Best 5k time - 20:01  I believe this was in about 1986-7.
  • Best marathon time - 3 hrs 58 minutes (clock time) at the Marine Corp Marathon in 1986.
  • Completed ~114 runs of a marathon distance or longer
  • Finished two 100 mile runs
  • Best 24 miles covered - 62 miles
  • After running hundreds of races, I FINALLY got an age group award or two in my 60s!!!  (Hahaha! I just had to out-live all those faster guys!!  Plus, find a really small races!!)
  • I had fun
  • I think I helped a few people either start running or to try and stretch their personal boundaries more than they thought they could and try some longer distances.   I think I'm most proud of these accomplishments.
No need to feel bad for me!  I've had a great time running . . . it's just time to turn the page and I've had a couple of people ask what was going on.

And who knows . . . maybe things will change.

A big thank you to each of you that have been one of my running friends.  Especially all the Nooners!  We had something very, very special!  I can't tell you how much you all have meant to me.  Runners are just plain great folks . . . and ultra runners just plain ROCK

My hope is that each of you continue running just as long as you can.  And do a special favor for me.  Go out and try to finish a race (or run) further than you ever have!!  Really GO FOR IT!  And let me know how you did!! 

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Littleton, North Carolina
World's Slowest Runner . . . well, at least in contention for the honor. Just your average "below average" runner.