Taking a Break

It’s time for me to acknowledge and move forward with taking a break from running. For whatever reason, I’ll likely keep logging my daily mile for the time being, so that the otherwise useful streak is still there for me when I come back. However, for all intents and purposes, I’m not running at the moment. I can’t say I’m comfortable with that most of the time, but it’s time to accept it. This is no pity party, just a public acknowledgement of what is.

How has it come to be? Plenty of reasons. Most are probably individually addressable, but in totality, they’ve been more than I’ve been willing to take on. *shrug* So be it.

At this point, there’s no lighthouse on the horizon calling me in a direction. No outing or event that will turn around my motivation in the face of my obligations. Anything in the near term is a no go and, long ago, I dedicated the second half of the year to work, so 2022 it is.

Most of what I write about in this column springs directly or indirectly from my own running. Without running, or at least much of it, I’ll likely put a hold on this column for a while until the miles and words start to flow again. Honestly, I look forward to that time… I’m just not going to hurry it. See ya on down the trail.

Cement Creek - Silverton - June 2021

[And while it might not yet be reflected on the official entrants list, I’ve pulled from this year’s Hardrock 100.]

There are 24 comments

  1. Henry Bickerstaff

    Bryon,
    Is it possible that your one mile per day running streak has taken the joy out of running for you? I have observed it before, people get so obsessed with a running streak that soon it is their entire focus. They quit racing, quit training and focus solely on the streak. Then something happens and the streak is broken and they slowly return to training and racing with joy. Just a different perspective.

  2. David

    I have taken breaks from running before. Usually some other interest takes over for a bit whether it is biking or climbing or the kids or family or work (or sometimes injury or being burned out from the grind of training). There are times when it feel like running is everything then there are times when it doesn’t seem that important.

  3. Jay

    This is reassuring.

    I’ve been feeling guilty for not running this year. No mojo and just seems “ok” to not run more than 5 miles each week.

    Something tells me the brain and body know best.

    Cheers

  4. Sarah Lavender Smith

    Speaking from personal experience, I think it’s hard when your job and identity are so entwined with the sport; it can make the sport/hobby too much of an obligation. Bravo for taking a break and hopefully fishing more. I have been balancing training for ultras with a second sport (equestrian) and recently had a golf lesson. Running is there for you if/when you feel like it.

  5. Ellie

    Sounds like a good call, BP! Never any point of running out of a feeling of obligation or ‘have to’. Lots of other fun things to enjoy in life, and if and when you come back to running, your shoes are always there. Hope you come to BC one day and we can hike along the BP trail (tho I am not sure that fishing opportunities are the best there). Hugs x

  6. Peter

    Thank you Bryon for being so great and so approachable. You have pulled the wagons for us for a long, long time! I am glad you are exhaling. There will still be miles enough.

  7. Joel Anderson

    Your readers would always love to hear some non-running thoughts from you Bryon in the future. If I remember correctly, you moved from D.C. where you worked as a lawyer and moved to the mountains. Your perspective is valued, as is your incredible contribution to our community.

  8. Delia

    I hope you take care of yourself, and I hope you find joy in whatever you’re doing. And if you start running again, I hope you find joy in that, too.

  9. Chris V

    I just got off a 507 day streak. Last year was a joy. Trying to get to 366 days for the leap year. This year has been completely “meh” for me, so I reluctantly decided to give up on my streak altogether. Haven’t ran a lick in a few weeks. Family, work, stress, all building up. Need rest. Can’t sleep. Lots on my mind, bit then nothing on my mind. What do you call this? The interim?

  10. Ben

    Take a break! Find your passion and inspiration again, whatever they are and wherever they take you. See you down the trail, whatever one that is!

  11. Eric Gutknecht

    Enjoy your new adventure, best wishes and gratitude for what you have given to us all.

    Thanks!!!

    Eric
    Columbus Ohio

  12. John Vanderpot

    I obviously hadn’t done my homework when we spoke earlier this week, ooops, take a friend fishing would be my advice, and then just wait and let the Universe make some whispered suggestions…

  13. GMack

    One thing about this sport and running distance is that when you do it consistently, it’s like you’re up on a plateau of fitness. I always felt that with a minimum of preparation, I could go out and run any ultra. “Off the couch” was not unreasonable.

    But after you come down off the plateau from not training or running distance, you can’t do this. It’s then takes a herculean effort to climb back up and even harder as you age.

    This process of de-training seemed to take me about a year to a year and a half after I stopped distance running. Before, I had 12 years of consistently running ultras and another 5 years before that doing alpine speed climbing.

    When I stopped running, I stopped cold. Don’t do this. It may seem obvious, but you want to detrain gradually for your body’s sake. Even for “taking a break.”

    And the body de-trains sooner than the mind. After I became mortal and out of shape again, I thought I could still lace-up and run 100 miles. I was soon humbled.

  14. Andy

    Glad to hear about the break and trust that it will, over time, be rejuvenating. Sadly, though, I (and others, I’m sure) will miss the photo accompaniments to your Strava activities. Please keep the majestic mountain pics rolling. Here in CT we have a “Strava lawnmowers” group; Strava fishing — if it doesn’t already exist — should be next.

    1. Bryon Powell

      Hey Andy,
      I’ll be sure to keep that in mind. Indeed, I’m out there running a bit everyday and taking photos along the way, but had turned my Strava activities to private. I may rethink that in a little while. Just trying to give myself a bit more space and permission to take things as they come.

  15. Wyatt Hornsby

    Wishing you the best, Bryon. For me, I hit the overtraining wall last year and since then haven’t been the same. I get out daily for 6 or so miles but my conditioning is no where near what it was. I’m still fit, though. I have taken up backpacking and love it, but I also love the thought of one day feeling physically able to take up ultras again. I wish you some good time off. Life is too short to do something you don’t love.

  16. EdWiN ‘The Jester’ Ettinghausen

    Thanks for your forthrightness, Bryon. Sounds like a sound plan. Running isn’t going anywhere – it will still be here when you’re ready to return to it.
    I would encourage you to make your Strava public. You never know who might see it and be inspired by your journey, in a way that only your journey could do.
    Just a thought, what about focusing on walking for a while – leisure walks, power walks, etc?
    Thanks for all you’ve done and will continue to do for the ultra running community.
    Ever UPward & ONward . . .

    1. Bryon Powell

      Hey Ed,
      Thanks for the great thoughts. I’m getting out and getting active everyday. Heck, in reality, I’m running some every day… but just doing it in my terms and with no self-imposed pressure. Those “runs” are a happy mix of running and walking up here at 9,300′! I’m just aiming to enjoy some movement and time outside before I fully reengage with running, whether that return’s after Hardrock coverage or late in the year when work travel feel even more settled.

      It’ll probably be next month, but on your and Andy’s suggestion, I’ll make my outings public sooner rather than later.

      Be well,
      Bryon

  17. Andy Mc Breen

    Brian, Good for you in taking a break from running and turning your focus to other aspects of life. This will restore the love and enjoyment you have for it. Us ultra runners tend to be hard on ourselves when not overachieving. Right? Ha ha, you will come back ready to take on a new challenge with your soul and spirit recharged.

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