Add to Technorati Favorites "Going the Distance!": Addiction vs. Passion, Number of 100 Mile Finishers in 2007 and My Weekend in Nashville (Yee-haw!)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Addiction vs. Passion, Number of 100 Mile Finishers in 2007 and My Weekend in Nashville (Yee-haw!)

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Addiction vs. Passion: What's The Difference?
A few weeks ago a friend of mine left me a voicemail suggesting that I focus on Moderation as a resolution for 2008; he felt my running was simply substituting one addiction for another and he was concerned. He is a recreational runner who logs around 25 miles a week in addition to weekly Yoga classes and Personal Training sessions so it's not exercise he's worried about; it's the fact that I run "extreme" distances. From his viewpoint he feels I'm addicted to running whereas I would say I'm passionate about the sport; so what's the difference?

According to the Merriam Webster Online Dictionary the non-substance definition of ADDICT is to devote or surrender (oneself) to something habitually or obsessively and the definition of PASSION is a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept. After reading both definitions I think it's easy to see the confusion. For most people running 100 miles is incomprehensible and they cannot understand why anyone would do it; many say, "I don't even like to drive that far!" For me it's about more than just covering the distance, it's embracing the entire experience and savoring each moment as you go from extreme highs to abysmal lows. It's the amazing volunteers you meet along the way and the life-long friendships that are forged while out on the trails (Finishers of the 2006 MMT 100 pictured above). Running ultras is about pushing on when every part of your body and mind is begging you to stop; it's knowing that you can achieve anything you set your mind to and that when the going gets tough you can handle whatever comes your way.

To me addiction is something negative and "dirty" that takes over your life and controls you whereas being passionate about something means that it is enriching your life and possibly the lives of others; there is a very fine line. I say I am passionate about running but can it be an addiction? Absolutely! When you are hobbling so bad you can barely walk due to shin splints but you still "have to get your run in," when you neglect your loved ones and make running the most important thing in your life, when you're physically and mentally beat and need rest but head out anyway because you "have to hit your weekly mileage goal," THEN you may be addicted and need to take a step back to evaluate whether you control your running or running controls you. Have I been this way in the past? Admittedly, yes. Today? No, but it is something that I am keenly aware of and ensure I keep in check. What are your thoughts on the difference between Passion and Addiction?

2007 Finishers of 100+ Mile Events
Ever wondered how many people finish 100 miler's in a year? Well I actually have and apparently others have too because Ultralister Jason Walz crunched the numbers to give us the answer.

Number of 100s finished in 2007:
11 (1): Dan Brendan (Pictured right at Across The Years)
9 (3): David Goggins, Dennis Drey, Hans-Dieter
8 (1): Phil Rosenstein
7 (3): Andy Kumeda, Gilles Barbeau, Jamshid Khajavi
6 (3): Jack Meyer, Karl Meltzer, Rob Apple
5 (9)
4 (31)
3 (66)
2 (283)
1 (1641)
2679 total finishes; 2053 ultrarunners; 80% of hundred+ milers run only one race, and 94% of hundred+ milers run 1 or 2 ultras.

And Kevin Stroud added that considering the population of the U.S. is currently estimated at 303,559,949 that makes each of the 2,053 100-mile finishers "one out of 147,861 people."

And now I'm sure you all will sleep better at night knowing this bit of trivia :-)

My Weekend In Nashville, TN (Yee-Haw!)
I flew down to Nashville Friday evening to visit my friend Shannon and have a low key weekend. Shannon and her friend, Michelle, picked me up at the airport and we headed down near Vanderbilt to meet their friend, Janet, at the Red Door. After sipping on a Diet Coke we headed to Park Cafe for an amazing dinner (highly recommended)! Saturday was a bit dreary and foggy so we slept in quite late and then headed down to get in some miles along the Shelby Bottoms Greenway. This is a paved path that runs along the Cumberland River and will eventually connect with other greenways all over Nashville; I calculated that there will be around 89 miles when the project is completed. Shannon and Michelle stayed strong in the cold, damp weather pushing themselves even though their bodies wanted to quit and I got in some speedwork along the flat, paved paths.

Saturday night Michelle had invited some people over for a delicious, homemade dinner. As Shannon and I were out exploring Nashville on Saturday afternoon Michelle was busy baking pies, marinating the meat, whipping up some fresh mango salsa and preparing the salad. We got home around 6:00 pm and were blown away by everything she had accomplished. We were joined for dinner by Rusty and Jenn and all chatted as Michelle grilled up the meat; we offered to help but being that she tunes into the Food Network 24 hours a day she declined and said she had it all under control. As we sat down there was silence as we all dug into the feast; everyone cleaned their plate and most of us went back for seconds!

Sunday morning we had a bit of a food hangover and slept in again before Shannon and I headed to a nearby park for a run. It was overcast but warm and humid; after 7 miles I ditched the shirt. Sunday afternoon the temperature reached into the upper 70's as we played "tourist" and hit all the spots downtown including 2nd Avenue and Broadway. The highlight was the Charlie Daniels Museum where Shannon picked up a Charlie Daniels Santa Bobblehead as a gag gift for my parents; they love it by the way! We headed out to the Opryland Hotel to see the Christmas lights before dropping me off at the airport for my 6:50 pm flight.

I am so blessed to have friends like Shannon in my life and continue to meet kind, generous and friendly people every where I go. Shannon was the perfect host treating me to delicious food, fun times and great company and Michelle, who I didn't know before the trip, made me feel welcome at her home and filled my belly with home cook'in. To view all of the pictures from my weekend trip to Nashville click HERE.

Hope all of you are well and staying upright in these icy conditions!
Happy Running (or sliding),


Amy@RunnersLounge said...

I really like the trivia about the 100 mile finishers! I am not one of them - but am absolutely fascinated by those who do run those long miles.


Anonymous said...

Runners are also vain, self absorbing and obsessive compulsive. I can see where some think it to be an addiction and if it truely is then so be it. As you know though there are worse things you can be addicted to. Running is in my opinion not one of those things. How often do you see runners holding up liqour stores or mugging or beating people senseless in the streets to get a fix? Not that all addictions get that extereme, I'm just saying. People need to lighten up with the neighsaying and worry about themselves.

Deanna Stoppler said...

All I can say is, PASSIONS RULE! And, of course, run dudes run, but I'm bias. Like the post, Carey--I like how you are reflective about your experiences.

Love the cowpoke photo. Yeeha pahtnah!

Jeffro said...

One can become so obsessed with running that it is destructive. When someone is passionate about something they will generally feel good about what they are doing and try to share that passion with others. On the other hand when someone is addicted to something deep down they know it is destructive and while they may have difficulty in admitting it, they typically do not like what they are doing. I’d say you are passionate about running not addicted to it.

Andy B. said...

Next time you are in Nashville, you have to visit the "Dukes of Hazzard" museum and gift shop. It's a hoot. Right across the street from the Gaylord Opryland Hotel complex.

Loved the ultra trivia, and you are right about there not being a big distinction between addiction and passion, definitely something to stay alert about. Many runners skirt the boundary regularly.

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