running & being: some viewpoints


What if it wasn’t just a hypothetical? What if it wasn’t just the theoretical question of whether running faster, running happier was worth knocking an undetermined number of years off of your life?

What if you accidentally discovered that discontinuing a drug required to extend your heart’s shelf life allowed you to increase your speed? To resume a run vs. a shuffle? What if that came with the consequence of an increased toll on the heart that would cause you to lose an undetermined number of years from a nearing finish line? If you knew it was harmful, but wouldn’t know HOW harmful for a number of years from now?

What if those were your two choices, not in a “rah, rah, we love running” way, but in a “I really need to decide” way? Would you choose to go a little faster or live a little longer? What if it wasn’t just BS? What if it was real?

What would you do?


A shuffle is better than a dead stop. 

I’d look for option C – a drug (or something) that worked, but had less of an affect on my running.  But otherwise I agree with KRG – a shuffle is better than a dead stop.

I gotta go with KRG- running is what does it for me now- but maybe down the road I find that other thing that I am passionate about.

I think there’s a big difference between something maybe, theoretically, possibly shortening your life and something absolutely, definitely shortening it. 

I tend to lean toward dropping the pills and increasing the joy of life, at least for a trial period. Shortening your lifespan is not such a bad thing, since the last years often suck anyway.

You know that I would first fully, completely, and totally awkwardly cross examine the doctor. Upon determining that there is no better alternative, and that the doctor really couldn’t provide even a “guesstimate,” I would conclude that it could be 1 year off of my life or 20 if I stop the medicine. Then, I’d remember that some a-hole could run me over tomorrow while I am shuffling along on my meds. Then, I’d probably say screw it. The quality of my life is much more important to me than the quantity of my life. 

That’s just me, though. I’m less stuck on the idea of staying on this ride forever than most.

I would not give up years to run faster, but I would give up some life to just be able to run.  Facing that right now with the fact that if I run it will shorten the life of the artificial hip I currently have.

in my opinion, this is the argument surrounding steroids.  in an attempt to improve speed, strength, endurance, or whatever, they decide whether to take them or not, and risk side effects (like shorter life).

“What if you accidentally discovered that discontinuing a drug required to extend your heart’s shelf life allowed you to increase your speed?”

I think it’s important to be phrased this way.  Alternatively, would you take a drug to improve running speed if you knew it reduced your heart’s shelf life?  Everyone will basically answer no, except Lance Armstrong.  But if I’m already taking the drug and it’s slowing me down, I might stop.  I eat vegan and my great-grandma lived to 104, I’ve got a few years to spare for faster times now (fingers crossed).  Then again I have no kids/grandkids yet so that might change things.

Depends on how much happier I need to be. If I’m happy with my running now (which I am), I don’t need to be faster.

How would you feel about it if it was your wife/sibling/child/etc making the choice to knowingly shorten their life in the name of a good time?  Would you be okay with it?

Hypothetically speaking, if running fast or far shortened my life I would run slower and shorter distances, because it just isn’t about me. I have a wife and kids that I want to stick around for, and grow old with. Running is great, but there is more to life than just running.

It depends in part on when the money runs out.  There’s not much point in being 100 and broke–and I’m assuming, of course, that the running would have stopped by then.  But the bigger consideration would be my wife being left alone.  And even if I got faster for a time, there would always be faster people still, and I’d probably never be really satisfied.

This is going to sound like a selfish point of view, but it’s not. You would have to weigh the added quality of life added by being able to run how you want to against the quality of life added by soaking up more minutes and days with the important people in your world. I believe this should be a completely honest and private decision.
I am a firm believer that you serve loved ones best by being the best possible version of yourself, which means doing what’s necessary to maintain passion for experiences.
Anyone who truly loves another wants them to be happy. It’s your job to determine which will make that happen.

I guess my knee jerk reaction is that speedier times aren’t worth it. But then I got to thinking, mental/physical stress and sleep deprivation are all triggers for my seizures. Those three things are also frequent occurrences in ultras. Both Kynan and I know this and although nothing bad has ever happened (but there is always a chance something might happen and I could be hurt or worse) on the trails and I try to ensure I am as safe as I can be, I wouldn’t give up running ultras. It’s my passion and makes me a happy person.

I have always joked with my family that if something ever happens to me out on the trails please let people know it’s the way I would want to go out, but it’s completely true.

I don’t love running more than I love my wife. (Come to think of it, I hate running. Why am I wasting my time with this activity? Holy crap.)  It’s a hard thing to decide, for sure, but I am struck by something. Do you love running less when you go at a slower pace? Isn’t running still running, whether you go at a 9:00/mile pace or at a 12:00/mile pace?

 As a husband and father of 3 I would like to be around for a couple more decades.  I would in no way trade faster times if it meant death within the next few years; I wasn’t saying that.  The article I referenced in my post didn’t say that either, but seemed to indicate anyone who runs fast, runs over an hour and runs more than three days a week would be doing some harm to their body.  If doing any of those things means I die in my late 70s as opposed to my early 80s, or in my mid 80s as opposed to my early 90s, yeah, that’s a trade off I’m willing to make. My faith gives me peace that there is more after this life.  I know that’s offensive/ignorant/garbage to some, but that’s what I believe and it shapes my perspective.  

I used to smoke, but I quit before my son turned 2.

Do what makes you happy. We all die at some point and you never know when it will be. Could be tomorrow. Could be 40 years from now. I’ll always err on the side of caution, but you can’t take the happy to the afterlife. Or can you? I dunno… I haven’t gotten my invite yet.

I guess I would kind of piggy-back off of what QC said. Should we give up being happy now and chasing dreams just to hope that this adds years to our lives later?

Can we stop cancer with running? Can we help someone that gets hit by a car while running on the side of the road? Do we really know what each individual body is capable of?

I would lean towards enjoying life a little more now. As others have said….if I pull back now and don’t live life as full as possible, am I not also making those around me see a watered down version of me and consequently, providing a little less happiness in general.

I know that I am reaping healthy benefits from running now and it shows physically and mentally. I won’t give that up for a chance that I could be 85 when I died instead of 90.


About gary

no sock monkeys were harmed in the making of this blog.
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