Friday, April 18, 2014
In second installment of UltraVT synchroblog, I was tasked with coming up with a topic that "had a little controversy" and would ultimately promote good discussion within our group. I suppose one neat thing about participating in the synchroblog with a group of likeminded college students is that, as intellectuals, we can appreciate and embrace differences in opinion without feeling like our beliefs or values are being challenged. That's the beauty of the entire thing; new perspectives promoting and fostering a rich dialogue among friends.
The topic I decided on, as seen in the title, is Why Do We Run? This has been an underlying theme in many of my posts and one that I attempted to tackle in an open conversation last spring, Lets Talk Running Motivation. One excerpt from that post that helps set the tone for the discussion:
I have a personal struggle with motivation that teeters on an unhealthy addiction. I often have a feeling of guilt until I cross off that days mileage. It made me think. What drives me to run?I think it is important to reflect and reevaluate periodically, taking a step back see the bigger picture. I'm excited to read what my peers have to say as I think it is a challenging topic but relevant as ultrarunners because of the inevitable "but why do you run so far?"
What role does running play in your life?
When did you start running and why?
Part of the reason I choose to leave my job as an engineer is so that I could coach at the high school level with the desire to help kids find a love of running, or at least pursuing an active and healthy lifestyle. Once I got to college, I would go out for runs sporadically but never with any idea of "training" or consistency. Eventually, a friend persuaded me to sign up for a half marathon, the Yuengling Shamrock half, which I thought I was going to die after. In the fall of 2009 after completing the Journey of Hope, I decided I was fit enough to run a marathon. Little did I know that cycling fitness doesn't necessarily translate to running fitness. I swore I would never do it again.
The real catalyst for me signing up for my first ultra was my best friend Jeff sending me a link to Sabrina Moran's blog, who attended William & Mary at the same time that he did. I was hooked and quickly signed up for my first ultra, another terrible idea, the North Face 50M, which I eventually reduced down to the 50k and ran in the summer of 2012. The past few years have been a whirlwind of growing as a runner, specifically developing confidence in my fitness and ability to run beyond my self-imposed limits.
If you could only run one last run, where and with whom would it be and why?
Which is better, trail running or road running? Why?
my first full marathon. A lot of the runners I know ran a trail 50k as their first long distance race and completely skipped over the marathon distance. I LOVE the feeling of running through closed city streets in a massive road race where you feel like for a few short hours, runners own the roads. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the ultrarunning community is SO much more close knit than the road running community. We endure and suffer together, traversing massive mountains and covering grueling distances. Trail races are limited by the number of runners a trail can accommodate and consequently are more intimate experiences. Road running has my heart but at the moment, trail running has captured my attention and drawn me in. I have a lot of lofty goals involving trail races and really only one that involves road racing, qualifying for Boston. I suppose that's why I think trail running, and ultra distance racing will continue to keep me entertained for the foreseeable future whereas Boston may be more of a "bucket list item."
Groups or solo?
Deep inside, I'm fiercely independent but when it comes to running I find strength in others around me, whom often believe in me more than I do myself. UltraVT is a petri dish of inspiration. I think the following tweet after Monday night's group run sums up my opinion on the matter: