Discover more from The Half Marathoner
It's okay to change... right?
Plus races you'll love running in San Francisco, on South Carolina's Kiawah Island, Utah's Pony Express Trail, Canada's Vancouver Island + more
Change can be scary, can’t it?
I’m not as up as I should be on the psychological and physiological reasons why the wiring in our brains make us feel this way, but when we become attached to a person, a place we live, or a thing we do, it can be really hard to let go.
I realized that this weekend, when I went to visit my parents in my hometown of Augusta, Ga. It dawned on me that, except for the four years I spent in college, I’ve never lived more than a couple hours away from the house I grew up in my entire life.
My wife, on the other hand, has lived in at least a dozen cities during the years she spent growing up, as did one of my best friends from high school — his family moved back and forth around the Southeast at least a half-dozen times before his family settled in my hometown for high school.
When I hear things like this, I wonder… how do people do that? I have a hard time letting go when restaurants I love close, let alone the thought of packing up and moving myself somewhere.
And yet, moving away from where we live now and to another town completely is something we’re considering as a family — not right away, but in a year or two. The reason why is, we’re beginning to feel a real pull for a different life than what we have now in Atlanta.
Another friend of mine has already done it — he moved his family from Atlanta to Savannah to be nearer both he and his wife’s family. The pandemic brought to the surface things they’d been thinking about for a long time but had put on the back burner; suddenly they felt, why not just go ahead and do this now, while their kids are still young?
For many of us, the pandemic has resulted in a lot of time to think. It’s given us time to experiment with new ways of living — with things like working from home, tightening our social circles, taking on new hobbies, and doing less. The people who wrote to me have all have had time to dabble in new things, mull over their life decisions, and consider making big changes. But as Herminia Ibarra recently wrote in Harvard Business Review, thinking about change is just the first step.
“That’s a good start,” shared Ibarra. “But if there is one thing I have learned from decades of studying successful career change, it’s that thinking on its own is far from sufficient. We rarely think our way into a new way of acting. Rather, we act our way into new ways of thinking — and being.”
If you’ve been a reader of this newsletter for any length of time, you’ve probably read about adjustments I’ve made in my running — primarily around my goals. At one time in my life, I was planning on running multiple marathons in a year (and did, one year!).
Later, of course, I began running half marathons, and we ran one virtually together as a group last fall. But lately, I’ve found myself running mostly the 5K distance, primarily because it fits most easily around what my life is like now — with a new job I started earlier this summer, our kids back in school, and my wife back at her job in the office full-time again.
It feels like life is always throwing curveballs and sliders, and maybe the challenge is to adjust to this constantly-shifting mix of pitches coming our way. But sometimes, you realize you might like to play a different game entirely.
That’s the moment it’s important to pay attention to how you’re truly thinking and feeling, Katie writes:
“I can only speak from my personal experience, from watching friends make big life changes, and from the anecdotal experience of mentoring dozens and dozens of journalists over the years, but I’ve found — time and again — that if you’re asking whether you should make a major life change then, yes, it’s probably time for a change.”
The entire post is well worth a read, as Katie puts into words something that I know has been on my mind a lot over the past year and a half, and I imagine has been on yours as well.
Are there significant changes you’re making, or want to make? What have you found that is keeping you from pulling the rip cord to make them? Or even better, how did you find the courage to make them?
I’d love to hear your thoughts — as always, take care and have a great run out there today. ☀️
Races you’ll love running
Farmville, Va. | Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021
Named for the 2,400-ft.-long bridge that stands more than 100 feet above the Appomattox River flowing by below, this race is run on wooden planks across the bridge and on a crushed limestone trail surface for the remainder of the out-and-back course. Known as “America’s Crucible,” the town of Farmville was the site of one of the last battles of the American Civil War, and where Gen. Robert E. Lee’s surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia took place in the nearby Appomattox Courthouse on April 9, 1865, finally bringing the war to a close after four years.
$75 and up | Sign up here
Faust, Utah | Friday, Oct. 15, 2021
“VERY remote” is how the organizers of this ultra describe the route, which winds its way along 100 percent dirt roads on the historic Pony Express Trail out in Utah’s Tooele County, roughly 63 miles southwest of Salt Lake City. You can choose between the 50-miler or the 100-miler — both of which they say are excellent for first-time runners of either distance — but it’s a small one too, as it draws a couple dozen runners each fall. On their website, the organizers add: “Among all the 100-mile races held in 2010, this race had the highest age finishing average, so this race is also elderly friendly for those of us getting on in years who want to finish another 100-miler before the grim reaper arrives.”
$120 for 50-mile, $170 for 100-mile | Sign up here
Kiawah Island, S.C. | Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021
You’ll run fast, nearly all flat paved roads along tree-lined roads that wind through golf course communities and along the beaches of this resort island, located about 25 miles southwest of Charleston — and where Phil Mickelson won golf’s PGA Championship earlier this year. From the starting line near Kiawah’s East Beach, the out-and-back route takes runners through a combination of oceanside forests, marshlands and leisurely resort roadways, with plenty of scenic views of the island’s majestic beachfront homes, waterways and more.
$105 and up | Sign up here
Glendale, Ariz. | Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021 - Friday, Jan. 7, 2022
Are you ready for 10 days of running? If you have the time to spare and are up for the challenge, you too can take part in this event that’s achieved legendary status among Phoenix runners, where you can run as many miles as you want, at any speed you want. There’s a marathon challenge — run 10 marathons in 10 days — and an ultramarathon challenge to go with it; there are also 72-hour, 48-hour, 24-hour, 12-hour and 6-hour races; and even a “Last Person Standing” event that’s exactly what it sounds like. All races start from Glendale’s Camelback Ranch baseball spring training facility, at a time of year when temperatures average between the upper 30s and the mid 60s.
$90 and up | Sign up here
San Francisco, Calif. | Sunday, Feb. 6, 2022
If you’ve ever driven through or just walked past the gorgeous landscape that is Golden Gate Park, then you know why Runner’s World named this one of the country’s most scenic half marathons a few years ago. From the long, expansive meadows on its eastern end to the beachfront areas along its coastline, the park is home to some of the city’s most magnificent views — and you’ll take them in as you run through the interior of the park in the first half of the race. The second half features a long stretch along San Francisco’s Great Highway, combining breathtaking oceanfront views with the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance.
$95 and up | Sign up here
Vancouver Island, British Columbia | Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022
Run entirely on the Ucluelet Peninsula of Vancouver Island in the Canadian province of British Columbia, this race unfolds along the Wild Pacific Trail, a 9-kilometer trail network described as a place that “weaves itself into your soul” thanks to stunning views of rainforest on the trail as well as reefs, shipwrecks and whales out in the Pacific Ocean. You’ll need to be on the lookout for land-based wildlife, too; one travel agency notes that “deer, bears, cougars and wolves may use the trail or the areas around the trail — [so] please leash your pets and keep your children close to you.”
Registration TBA | Sign up here
Words to run by
“And courage to me meant ploughing through that dull gray mist that comes down on life — not only over-riding people and circumstances but over-riding the bleakness of living. A sort of insistence on the value of life and the worth of transient things…
My courage is faith — faith in the eternal resilience of me — that joy'll come back, and hope and spontaneity. And I feel that till it does I've got to keep my lips shut and my chin high, and my eyes wide.”
— F. Scott Fitzgerald