Currently, I am on the verge of dropping out of the running scene, stopping running altogether actually. Several things are threatening my motivation and I thought it would be interesting to hear if anybody else wrestles to stay motivated in this sport. Here are my reasons for contemplating dropping out. Not necessarily in order of importance.
1) Pain. My hips KILL. This come and goes but is currently coming like gangbusters. Can't quite figure it out. I wince in pain rising from seating later in the day.
2) Too much time. There are other things I need to do with my time that are important that I'm not doing generally because I sleep in due to being tired from running. This gets to the third point.
3) Relative insignificance. The weekend after completing VT50 last year I attended a conference my organization puts on every year. My colleagues were speaking to a crowd of 1500 people on their most recent book. I realized what they had used their previous year for, and what I had done. I had run around the woods for a year, they had accomplished important things. I quit running for the winter as a result, that and the fact I couldn't walk right for a month after the race due to pain in my feet (Morton's Nueroma).
4) Overkill. I originally started running cause, for one reason, my blood pressure was too high from having a gut and drinking too much. I was a powerlifter, so I was strong, but my CV system was no good. Running definitely took care of that. But, I can lift and do high intensity aerobic stuff and stay fit. I don't need ultrarunning for that.
5) Overkill. I tend to obsess about my hobbies. They become part of my identity, and I tend to burnout on them. Surfing and lifting have stayed with me my whole life, but I'm always on a quest for fun and get wrapped up in my hobbies.
Here are the draws:
1) I love being out in the woods. I've been a backpacker for most of my life and this combines that love and gets me outside.
2) Keeps me svelte. Coupled with pullups,dips, leg raises and back extensions a few times a week, I have total fitness and a body like a model.
3) Runs that border on the euphoric due to a combination of the beauty around me, the right pace, and gratitude in being there.
4) The hope of running in more beautiful places. Last year I ran in the New River Gorge in WV for four hours. It was the highlight of my year last year, and all year I've been looking forward to going back in Aug. this year. I want to run Hardrock at some point just to be out there and experience the course. I once backpacked through the WindRiver range in Wyoming, part of where David Horton is running the Continental Divide trail. It was gorgeous. I want to stay fit enough to be able to do long adventure run/camping trips like that.
5) A correlate to 4: I love adventure. Ultrarunning is an adventure. We get to do mini adventures every long run. I'm surrounded by good trails and parks and can explore and run all around me.
So, that's some of my pros and cons and the things that threaten to derail my running goals. I run more for the experience than any extrinsic goal (this or that race, competition, etc..). Lately, my experiences running haven't been good ones. Last year I almost quit training due to 15 miles shin splits on a long run, which was recurring. This year, 12 miles of hip pain was almost enough to make me call it quits. When pain sets in, all those reasons to quit running become stronger in my mind, the arguments tend to take on more validity, and it becomes harder to remember why I should run.
You may disagree with me or not on specific points, especially on the meaningless of running, but I'm not interested in hearing arguments. I would be interested in hearing from you all if you struggle to keep ultrarunning, have you quit and comeback, how do you stay motivated now, what things lead you to think about quitting running, etc...
Thanks everybody! Let's hear from ya...