After more than four years of writing this column, I have decided to call it quits. This will be my last in a series of more than 100 articles.
Rarely in life do we get to finish prominent endeavors primarily on our own terms. We know that everything will come to an end at some point, but like life in general often does, many things end without as much contemplation and closure as we might desire. When I wrote my first column here in March of 2012 I knew I would someday write my last, and I feel like now is the time to do so, and I feel fortunate to be able to make the choice to do so at a time that feels ‘right,’ and at a time when I’ve been able to put a lot of thought into my decision. I feel like I have said what I have to say about running in the setting of this website. This isn’t to say that my passion for the sport has necessarily diminished, it’s just shifted in a way that doesn’t lend itself to having the same energy, drive, and ideas for writing these columns as I previously did. I feel entirely honored, blessed, and proud to have had this opportunity, but I also feel excited to move on to the next thing, and to see where the energy that I have put into these articles will resurface in the coming months and years.
Before closing out, I am excited to take the time to reflect on my experiences of this four-year journey. When I began this gig I really had no idea where it would go, or what to expect. Pretty quickly, though, my relationship with these articles, and my interactions with the readers of iRunFar became something that was significantly embedded in my day-to-day life. I rarely went a day without thinking at least a little bit about my previous article or about my upcoming article. This created a snowball effect of feeling like I had more and more to say, and I had more and more passion and excitement to say it.
In the later part of 2012, I became very sick with an undiagnosed condition that I am still compromised by today (although to a much lesser degree). There were many times between September 2012 and September 2013 in which I thought I would stop writing these columns. Contemplating and composing articles was a welcome distraction from my health, but I felt like it was odd for me to write articles about running when I myself was regularly unable to run for days or weeks in a row. Over time, though, I began to realize that this experience gave me a lot of relevance and potential to write rich and beneficial articles. What runner hasn’t had times when they can’t run because of their health? As someone who had once competed at a very high level who was diminished to hardly being able to run at all, I had a perfect opportunity to share insight into this process that might be helpful to all runners. At many points during this first year of illness, these articles became a valuable resource for me to process and better understand how to cope with the inexplicable roller coaster that my body was forcing me through.
Over time my health gradually improved, and my relationship with these articles, and more specifically with the readers of this website, continued to evolve in a nourishing and sustainable way. I began to more appreciate the passion and knowledge that so many people have for this great sport. This is the most significant thing that I care to express in this last column: a deep appreciation and thank you to everyone who has engaged with me through this process. Whether you are someone who has silently listened to what I have to say with no response or you are one of the regular responders, I deeply appreciate your participation. There are hundreds of you who submitted essays of your own in response to a couple different essay contests I created. There are those of you that have offered praise and respect, and there or those of you that have offered critique and criticism. I thank all of you. You have all made me a better writer with more to say because of your contributions.
Thinking about running, writing about running, and interacting with readers about running has continually given me more of a voice and more to say about running than I thought I would ever have. In this sense, with your help I have been excited, passionate, and honored to publish a new piece every two weeks for these four years. It’s been an incredibly satisfying journey that I value in every sense.
The past couple months, though, I have noticed a move in the opposite direction. The more I say about running, the less I generally feel I have to say. Initially I interpreted this as a diminishing interest in running in general, but the more I looked at it I realized that I have simply said what I have to say here and am ready to move on in how I express my thoughts about running.
I take great solace, though, in knowing that I will always be a more thoughtful, knowledgeable, and contemplative runner because of my experience of writing these articles, and because of everything I have learned from all of you who have read. I can’t say thank you enough for all you have done for me in this process, so I will just say it one more time. Thank You.
And now, I really have nothing more to say. Besides, I am supposed to meet a friend in a few moments to go for a run…
Call for Comments (from Meghan)
Four years is a long time to write a twice-per-month column! Bryon and I are so grateful for Geoff’s continued support of both iRunFar and the running community with his thoughts and words all these years. Thank you, Geoff.
Do you have a favorite column of Geoff’s? Something that made you think a little more or a little more differently about your relationship with running? Leave a comment to share your thoughts!