Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I'm Done

I'm done with this race. Yesterday, Sharon called me just before 11am. She was crying. I was approaching 24 miles for the morning. Our old gerbil, Chester, was apparently in poor health and headed to the vet for a special 11:30am emergency appointment. I finished my loop (25 miles) and headed home. I met Sharon at an intersection as she was leaving for the vet with Chester. I yelled from one car to the other "Hope you feel better Chester!" I showered and started to eat lunch. Sharon called before noon with the news that Chester had passed away. Oreo, his brother, was diagnosed with a large tumor and lung problems--he is essentially in "hospice care" for a week or so. Then he'll be gone too. A lot can happen in a day. I'd rather not miss life as I run.

Chester, and his brother Oreo, were getting pretty old. We got them from someone that didn't want them anymore (who just decides to give up a pet?) and turned them over to the Humane Society just before Christmas in 2007. The two of them were rather rambunctious and silly characters. Chester is now gone and Oreo will join him soon. In addition to these guys, we have another gerbil (Wigan) that is depressed about his brother Barnsley passing away. Then there is Derby who has a broken leg (just had surgery on it) and his brother Bolton who seems to be losing weight and is distressed about his brother. Finally, we have the reclusive hamster named Simon that has neurological problems (we got him from the local Humane Society and they said he "might outgrow it"--he hasn't). All these "boys" keep us busy. The lone girl in the house, Chelsea, passed away recently. She was a good gerbil. It's been a tough few weeks for the fuzzy rodents of our household.

It's time to pay more attention to family than running. I'll be happier if I spend more time with the "wife and kids." A balance between running and life will be better for them too. I love to run, so I will. But I'll keep it in perspective. I've missed too many things because I was out doing some silly run: the 7-day race, moon runs, Badwater, McNaughton, Hood-to-Coast...the list goes on and on and on. They were all interesting and worthwhile endeavors, but they interfered with family and life. I get plenty of positive experiences from running...I just need to temper the running so I can get all the other positives from life. You hear the phrase "Work to live, not live to work" and the complement for running is "Run to live, not live to run." Running, in moderation, makes me a happier and better person. In excess, it becomes a negative factor in my life.

I begin my new running life today with 5 miles at the Buffalo Trace 7-Day Stage Race. Not 45 or 50 or 55, just the minimum 5 miles on the trails. Maybe I'll head to the gym with Sharon later in the morning. Then it'll be time to "dose the gerbs" (two are on antibiotics and pain killers). Maybe a little reading, watch the Champion's League final, and help the wife in the garden. I might even mow the lawn. Nap in the afternoon. The simple pleasures of life.

I'll still have a couple crazy running adventures every year, but I'm going to try and stay closer to home and do shorter races. In place of this 7-day stage race next year, maybe I'll do a 24-hour run at the trails. Instead of Dances with Dirt "Devils Lake" 50K in July, I'll do the Fisher Fair 5K. You get the idea...run, but keep it simple. I appreciate all the runners that did the 7-day race last year and this year. Hope you have a good week. I'll be out there each morning at 5am for the rest of the week. Don't push too hard and try to enjoy the Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve. Lots of cool plants and animals out there--on the first day of running I saw 2 snakes, 3 toads, a vulture, and a turkey! Of course, I also saw the usual suspects: squirrels, deer, geese, blue jays, swifts, red-winged blackbirds, cardinals, robins, blue birds, crows, chickadees...and several other birds I couldn't identify. Slow down and experience nature.

Enjoy your running. Mix it up. Keep it in perspective. Don't get injured. Words to live by, eh?

8 comments:

Pheid said...

First, congratulations on your run out there so far.

Secondly, we all whine - it annoys the crap out of people around us so that we can get a little kick in the arse to get on with things...I've been doing quite a bit of it lately, but I don't get very far! ;)

Thirdly, thank you for running for the animals. My girlfriend Mary and I brought a badly injured red squirrel to a wildlife haven on Memorial Day...poor thing was suffering so...I hope the vet will be able to save it. Looks like it was hit by a car.

Lastly, I'm very sorry to hear about your gerbils.

Thanks for organizing this race these two years. Wish you could be a part of it next year, but I agree wholeheartedly with you that there's *nothing* as important than family and I will be the first to say there's *much* more to life than running. I'm finding that out with each passing day. Enjoy your relaxing vacation.

Happy trails,

Connie :)

Andy said...

I saw my first turkey at Lake of the Woods yesterday myself. Its weird to see a single turkey. I also saw a huge fox snake (I think), the biggest I've seen at LOW. I completely agree with your moderation. No need to be affirmed by me, but its good to focus and unfocus to gain perspective on life. Enjoy a relaxed remainder of your week.

Listener said...

There is a great article on the new Runners World about this kid Darren Brown who wants to be very different from his late father Barry Brown. His father barely paid attention to his family and only cared about running and his running buddies.
I totally agree with you, Chris.
LucĂ­a

Anonymous said...

Good luck with ALL you future endeavors Chris. Sorry about your loss. I've had a great time so far and want to thank you for that.

GTI said...

I'm sorry to hear about Chester and Oreo, Chris. The unexpected things always come around and put everything in perspective. I'd say you've correctly prioritized things.

Enjoy the rest of the race this week, however many miles you go. Really: It's not the destination, it's the journey...

Chris said...

Thanks everyone for the kind words. I've gotten tons of e-mails and phone calls. You'll still be seeing me on the trails and races...just not as much. Running is still a big part of my life (and being a runner and having runner friends is awesome).

Anonymous said...

Hey Chris (et. al.), your brother Mark here in Bellevue, WA. Must be the yin-yang of running - you are cutting down, and I'm building up.

Glad to see you will be cutting back a bit, since I was wondering when the accumulation might get to you. BUT, you still will be my pacer out here if I go to the marathon distance, right?

To all his local running buddies - encourage him and his lovely bride to take a little break and visit the beautiful Pacific NW. He can get in some runs with me (though will probably barely break a sweat for him on my 5-8 mile runs), spend time on the boat, enjoy the water, and take our 100lb mutt for a few runs.

So, Chris, how about it? I'll even empty/refill the hot tub for you and Sharon - right outside the guest bedroom, great for curing what ails you.

Mark

Chris said...

Yo bro,
I'm still running and will pace you at a fall marathon. Not sure about vacation plans, but I'd rather come out with Sharon for a regular vacation rather than the Ragnar Relay. We'll see.