Friday, January 27, 2012

Reverse Running Bucket List

We all tend to look toward the future a lot. I often think about races I'd like to do next month, later this year, next year, before I die.  Bucket list kind of thoughts. Sometimes I feel inadequate and sad about not achieving more in my running.  Not being where I think I should be. I should be faster. I should be running longer races. I should be knocking off "dream" races. Probably so. And I did post about my bucket ultra races in this January 7 post last year. Those races are still "wanted" and I have plans to start knocking them off. I'll probably add a few more non-ultras to that list too.

Instead of looking forward and wishing what might be, how about looking backward?  How about appreciating and respecting our accomplishments from the past?  As runners, we've all achieved great things. Just running on a regular basis is pretty darn notable. Ever finish a 5K race?  Excellent!  Marathon?  Even better!  Looking back on my past running history, I've had a few failures...and plenty of successes. I'm particularly proud of several running feats in my past.  Here are a few "reverse bucket list" running-related successes from my past:

  • I was on my local running club's board of directors for 2 years...and then president for 2 more years.  That's not something many people can boast about.  During that 4 years, we made serious and substantial advancements in the club's activities and the local running scene.  Good people doing great work.  I was proud to be part of it!
  • I started and directed two trail races (Buffalo Trace 5-mile and Clinton Lake 30 Mile ultra).  It's not easy directing a race, and it's even harder getting them off the ground in the first place!  Both races still exist under new RDs. Feels nice to look at those races and know that I started something that still continues under new leadership.
  • I ran 303+ miles in one week. Let me repeat, I logged over 303 miles of trail running in one single week.  That's more than most elites have ever tried to run. Sure it was only one week, but it was epic! I took the week off from work, "advertised" an informal stage race (Buffalo Trace 7-Day Stage Race) and found out how many miles I could do by running all day for 7 days (nights were mandatory time off). I'm proud of breaking the 300 mile mark.
  • I completed my first 100 mile trail race on my first attempt...under less than ideal circumstances.  Two running buddies of mine accompanied me to Rocky Raccoon 100 miler in 2004 to run all day and night.  It wasn't pretty. All three of us suffered, but we all finished.  I didn't have the greatest training, it was a cold night, and I had serious chaffing issues...but I finished my first hundred.  It was a major milestone for me. I felt like a real ultrarunner that day.  I still do. 
  • I signed up and ran the Canadian Death Race in 2010.  I gave it what I had...and ended up with a DNF because I was pulled from the course for not making the cut-off at 65km.  Unfortunately, they pulled runners 15 minutes earlier than anticipated and I would have made the stated cut-off by a few minutes. About 20 other runners were in the same situation. Not sure if I would have finished the race, but it would have been nice to have continued and given it my best shot. Oh well. Shit happens. I'm still proud of attempting this difficult race. It took a lot of effort just to get to the starting line in the remote mountains of Alberta!
  • I've run barefoot. Not just around my house, but on roads, bike paths, and trails.  My longest barefoot run has been 7.5 miles.  I hope to extend that to a full 10-mile barefoot run. For many, this achievement would be seen as silly and not worth mentioning.  For me, it was a major breakthrough and a game-changer.  My whole mindset was altered and I became a true believer in minimalist footwear and running more naturally.
  • I ran 95 days straight last year. It ended with me limping in pain...but that's not the point!  I had a good streak going and it showed me I could run more often than 3-4 days/week. Most people don't run at all. Those that do run, might do 2-3 runs per week.  Those that are serious, might run almost every day.  But they probably haven't streaked for more than 10-14 days. Very few individuals can claim they've run 30 days in a row.  60 days?  90 days?  Doubtful. I'm proud of having made it 95 days. It inspired me to try and hit 100 days this year. I'm currently at 65 days.
  • As of today, I've completed 15 marathons and 59 ultramarathons. Hell, that's a great achievement.  How many people around the world have finished that many long races?  And my tally keeps going up every year!  I plan to add one more ultra to that number this weekend at the 13th annual Riddle Run fat ass 28-mile trail run.  It'll be my 75th marathon or ultra. Whoops, that's looking to the future...this post is about the past and being proud of what I have already achieved.
  • I've kept this running blog going since October 20, 2007.  That's a freaking long time!  This is post #642. I started it to augment the Clinton Lake ultra race, but it eventually evolved into my personal running journal. Most bloggers stop in less than a year. Among those that keep going, few post on a regular basis.  I've never had a lapse of more than a week. While many of my posts are less than Earth-shattering, they are still mine and I'm proud of them. People tell me they find my posts interesting and motivating. That's pretty cool. I'll keep posting...hope you keep reading.
Well, these are some of my proud "bucket list achieved" items from the past. I'm sure there are other "points of pride" from my running past, but I don't want to get too big headed patting myself on the back. I've done some good things.  I plan to do more. Hope you can look back with pride on your running achievements.  And plan for more in the future.


Ruairi said...

I am a central Illinois runner from Urbana. I like reading your blog. It is very easy to get caught up in wanting to doing race so and so and forgetting how far we've come.
I need to sit back from time to time and take a look at my achievements to date. Good idea for a blog post. happy running. :)


Chris said...

Maybe we've run together? I often run with Second Wind club and Kennekuk runners. It's easy to forget how far we've come in our running. I can still remember the day I first did a training run of 10 miles...I thought that was the greatest thing in the world! Now 10 milers are "normal" for me.

Ruairi said...

We have more than likely crossed paths. I am not a running club member but know some SWRC runners as well as Kennekuk, Lake Run Club and a few from Decatur.

I ran Siberian this year and the Howl at the Moon is on the agenda among others this year. First timer! :)

Milady said...

Melanie here! I enjoyed this piece, please email me--I have a question about your blog. MelanieLBowen[at]gmail[dot]com