As mysteriously as asthma came more than a year ago, it's suddenly gone and I've started running again - though very little and very slowly, as a year off is just slightly better than death to performance.
I'd done some thinking about what I'd do if I could start running again and here's how it went:
1) I really don't enjoy long races. You train forever and any little thing could ruin the day and then you're a mess for weeks or months. Otherwise, you're not really racing; you're just out there. The crowd that has the income to waste on frequent overpriced races (and then just showing up) is irritating me and I don't want to be part of it.
2) Track races are too infrequent and are the province of the supremely talented. I thought about Bill Fraser's over-55 mile of 4:55, which was once the world record and now is only the Minnesota record. Age-graded, that's like running a 4:09 when I was running 4:30. That's not going to happen for me and not breaking 5 is just a little sad (like knowing a sub-3 marathon is probably not in the cards again either).
3) I do well in bad conditions. Unfortunately, races have polarized into ridiculously hard trail races and perfectly smooth road races. No one competes against other runners any more on the roads, so it's all a matter of time - so the races have become flat and boring. Tactics, strategy and positional running mean nothing. The trail races are full of specialists. I'm not running under the worst possible conditions just to say I did it.
4) That leaves me with entering a ton of road races and waiting for bad weather, when the top runners either don't show or put in only a token effort. I can't do that either.
5) Finishing 188th of 13212 does not appeal to me.
That pretty much leaves me with continued retirement, with an occasional race when I wake up and feel good and can find something that still allows race day registration.
2 days ago