When Life Gets in the Way

An article about the times in life when running has to take a back seat.

By on September 23, 2022 | Leave a reply

AJW's TaproomBack in late June on my flight back east from the Western States 100, I settled into my seat, opened my laptop, and began planning for the rest of the summer. Having just been once again inspired by the triumph of the human spirit that the Western States 100 offers up each and every year, I was eagerly looking forward to a few months of consistent training, continued rehabilitation, and a focused return to doing what I loved. Staring at my Google calendar on that eastbound flight I thought, I can do this.

Then, as it sometimes does, life got in the way.

Group photo at the author's son's wedding.

The author with friends and family at his son, Carson’s, wedding. Photo: Joan Anderson

My wife, Shelly, and I were scheduled to pack up our house and prepare to move west to our new home in Arizona in early July. Needless to say, both of us forgot that we weren’t in our twenties anymore, and our do-it-yourself move ended up taking about three times longer than expected. Then, as if on cue, my beloved 2005 Toyota Prius went on the fritz with a blown-out hybrid battery, bringing us down to one car.

With that as a backdrop, we had to somehow get our youngest son, Tully, out to Oregon, our middle son, Logan, to Virginia, and me to my oldest son’s bachelor party — a four-day river trip on the San Juan River in Utah — while also schlepping our stuff from Pennsylvania to Arizona. Needless to say, those Western States 100-inspired dreams of consistent training flew out the window.

Through it all, I made it to the bachelor party/river trip and things were going fine until the second to last day. My son thought it would be a good idea to have me navigate the river solo in one of those inflatable “rubber ducky” kayaks, which went great until I was unceremoniously bucked out of it during a particularly rough section. When I finally dragged myself onto the shore about a half mile later, I had a badly bruised tailbone and a massive quadriceps contusion that made my leg look like it belonged to the Michelin Man.

AJW and sons on the San Juan River

The author and sons on the San Juan River in Utah. Photo: Chris Thornley

About two weeks later, I could finally walk without a limp, although sitting down on my bruised tailbone still brought with it a feeling of someone jamming a knitting needle into the base of my spine. Good times. I survived my son’s wedding over the U.S.’s Labor Day weekend in early September, but then the car guys from Pennsylvania called. The hybrid battery had been replaced and I could come pick up the car. Problem was, I was in Colorado. So, my middle son, Logan, the one who needed to go to Virginia, gave me a ride to Pennsylvania. I picked up my car and drove back, finally getting to Arizona late last Sunday night.

Now, finally, two and half months later than planned, I could get back to consistent training, continued rehabilitation, and a focused return to doing what I loved. There was nothing that could stop me!

And, I am happy to report, my day-to-day life these last 10 days has finally been what I envisioned it would be all those months ago. I awake each morning to enjoy a gentle four-mile run through my new neighborhood, followed by a 45-minute session of exercises at my local Planet Fitness. After a productive workday, I head out into the desert for an hour hike/run followed by some light stretching and strength work. No agenda, no forcing things, just getting back to normal now that life is no longer in the way. Happy fall, everyone!

Bottoms up!

AJW’s Beer of the Week

This week’s Beer of the Week comes from Flying Fish Brewing Company in Somerdale, New Jersey. Salt and Sea Session Sour Ale is advertised as a sessionable gose and it does not disappoint. Light and crispy at 4.3% ABV, Salt and Sea is the quintessential summer beer. The tartness, fruitiness, and rich saltiness make this unique beer truly one of a kind in an increasingly crowded variety.

Call for Comments

  • What do you do when life gets in the way?
  • Do you have tips and tricks for managing training around other commitments?
Selfie of the author out running on a sunny day with a cactus plant in the background.

Normal service has resumed. AJW getting his mojo back in the Arizona desert. Photo: Andy Jones-Wilkins

Andy Jones-Wilkins
Andy Jones-Wilkins finished in the top 10 men at the Western States 100 7-straight times. He's sponsored by Patagonia and Drymax socks and is iRunFar's editorialist.