I was interviewed this week by Mike Cosentino for his RunAtl podcast. I’m not doing that many interviews these days so it was both exciting and frightening at the same time. To his credit, Mike did a great job, was well prepared, and we had a wonderful conversation.
All that being true, however, at the end of the interview he asked me a question no one had ever asked before. Maybe it’s because I am technically “retired” and “the Penguin” has become something of a historical figure, I don’t know, but the question caught me off guard.
He asked me what was next; did I have any plans, any races I wanted to do, and any events that I wanted to run that I hadn’t been able to do when I was working? There are some events I’m sorry I missed; Peachtree, Bix, the Boilermaker, for example. For the life of me I couldn’t come up with anything that I had a burning desire to do.
Then it hit me; I never expected to do ANY of the events I’ve done. I never expected to run a 5K. I never expected to run a 10K or half marathon. And I certainly NEVER expected to run 45 marathons. [I know, I should run 5 more and make it an even 50. No thanks.]
So, if I never expected to do ANY events, how can I possible think about doing MORE events. In fact, it seems greedy to me to ask for more since what I got was beyond my wildest dreams.
I’m not suggesting that a person should work hard to change their lifestyle, should change the way they view food, should become more active, then run a local 5K and quit. That’s not the point.
The point is, that for some of us there IS a point at which we are so grateful for the experiences we’ve had that we’re not willing to sacrifice our contentedness for some artificial “more.” There comes a point where enough really is enough.
That doesn’t mean giving up training, or even racing. It means understanding that eventually you are in the bonus round. When you’ve done what you wanted to do you can start doing what you WANT to do.
That might mean giving up the giant destination marathons and concentrating on local 5K’s and 10K’s. It might mean not trying to do all 50 states for the 10th time and instead becoming a fixture at local or regional events.
It might mean that, instead of running a particular event, you volunteer for that event. It might mean putting together a cheer station. It might meaning paying the entry fee for someone who can’t afford it. You get the idea.
So, when Mike asked me that question, I think the most honest answer was the most authentic answer. I am going to spend the rest of my career being grateful that I had that career.
If you’ve gotten a lot from the sport of running I think you have to give a lot BACK to running. At least that’s what I’m planning to do.
Waddle on, friends…