Hitting the Reset Button

AJW writes about using the month of November to hit the reset button on his running and life.

By on October 29, 2021 | Comments

AJW's TaproomSometimes life comes at you fast.

This past Tuesday evening, I was in my garage, going through my camping and running gear, preparing for a trip out to Arizona to run the Javelina Jundred Mile for the first time since 2007.

On Wednesday evening, just 24 hours later, I was sitting at my desk writing an email to my school community, notifying them of a confirmed positive COVID-19 case in our school and telling them that we would be closing school until further notice.

Given that we are a very small, close-knit school community much more akin to a 19th-century one-room schoolhouse than a modern school, I knew that we needed to consider every person in the school — teachers, students, and staff — as directly exposed to COVID-19. And therefore, we needed to take appropriate precautions. This is in spite of the fact that we require everyone in the building ages 12 and older to be vaccinated and everyone wears masks at all times, the threat of infection is real — and it can happen anywhere.

Obviously, given the circumstances, I quickly concluded that it would be irresponsible and dangerous for me to board an airplane and fly across the country to run a trail race. Not only would I be putting myself and those around me at risk, but I would also be leaving my community in a time of need. So, it was an easy decision for me to call the airline and cancel my trip. Just like that, my running season was over!

As anyone who has read this column over the past decade assuredly knows, I believe that long-distance running is a wonderful teacher. I feel strongly that the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other, day after day (after day), provides us with wisdom and experience which help us grapple with the rest of life’s twists and turns. And so, as the reality of my current situation set in, I turned to running for some direction. And the message was clear.

It’s time to hit the reset button.

A lot of running has to do with managing expectations, controlling the controllables, and letting go of the rest. In my current situation, there is little that I can truly control. Yet, I can control my running and I know, intrinsically, that it’s time for a reset — physically, emotionally, and psychologically. Perhaps I just needed a little jolt like a COVID-19-induced sudden change of plans as a catalyst for change.

November is now officially “reset month” for me. With no races to recover from and none to look forward to, the weather turning colder and the nights longer, now is the time to take care of the little things in my running life. Strength, mobility, and flexibility exercises, form drills, a true analysis of the condition of my surgically repaired hips, and maybe, just maybe, some true rest.

There is no doubt about the fact that I will miss all the fun of Javelina. I was so looking forward to reconnecting with so many friends after so many years. But life has given me a sign and it’s time for a reset. See you on the other side.

Bottoms up!

AJW’s Beer of the Week

Outer Range Brewing CompanyThis week’s Beer of the Week comes from Outer Range Brewing Company in Frisco, Colorado. One of the hottest breweries in Colorado’s Outer Range makes a fantastic New England IPA called Forest Bathing. A little fruity and not too bitter, Forest Bathing strikes a balance that many hazy NEIPAs do not. If you manage to get your hands on some cans of Forest Bathing, then you will not be disappointed.

Call for Comments

  • Has life ever given you a clear signal that a reset is needed?
  • If so, what did you do to give yourself some rest and relaxation?
San Juan Mountains - early winter

The San Juan Mountains of Colorado in early winter. Photo: iRunFar

Andy Jones-Wilkins

Andy Jones-Wilkins is an educator by day and has been the author of AJW’s Taproom at iRunFar for over 11 years. A veteran of over 190 ultramarathons, including 38 100-mile races, Andy has run some of the most well-known ultras in the United States. Of particular note are his 10 finishes at the Western States 100, which included 7 times finishing in the top 10. Andy lives with his wife, Shelly, and Josey, the dog, and is the proud parent of three sons, Carson, Logan, and Tully.