Liza Howard. Ultrarunning Mom.

Ultrarunning Mom

Introvert

I am alive.  And I’ve reconfirmed that I’m an introvert.  By the time I get back to the hotel after talking from 8 to 5, I feel like I’ve been run over by a truck.  I always kind of thought I must be a bit of an extrovert because I’m a bit over the top energy-wise when I teach.  26 of 26 evaluations from the students in the WFR described me as “energetic” or “full of energy,” “energizing” or my favorite “pocket sized power house.”   But apparently I don’t gain energy from teaching.  I just expend it.  In any event, I’ve been thinking about a lot of blog posts, but I haven’t had the energy to actually press the keys on the keyboard.  Honestly, I am not this wiped out after running 100  miles.

Anyway, I’m sitting at the back of the WFR recert class right now and I need to get ready to head out into the rain for a scenario.  Check out Talk Ultra’s podcast if you haven’t already.

  • http://www.tim-runs.com Tim Smith

    Interesting that you bring that up. John Sharp mentioned at Freetails that he believes some large percent of ultra runners are introverts. We just posted a poll last night on the TRN site asking people that very question. Will be interesting to see results.

    • Liza

      If you go by the “where you get your energy from” definition, it seems like it could go either way.  Do you prefer to run with a bunch of people on your long runs or not. 

      • Tonym1211

        Interesting. I love people but also enjoy running alone. l enjoy meeting people/friends for a run or post run get together. Quite moments don’t make me nervous if I’m with a close friend. Running with One or two friends Is ideal.

        • Lizajanep

          I would like to schedule one of those runs with you. :)

  • Olgav100

    Tim has something on it. May be that’s why we love running for hours in the middle of nowhere so we don’t have to see anybody or talk to anyone, and best friends considered to be folks with whom we are as comfortable talking as being quiet. Personally, even when volunteering, as much as I love it, at about 6 hrs into it I want to revert into a shed and turn into a ball, all alone. And I love people. I just get overwhelmed a lot, and need a space to retrieve:)

    • Lizajanep

      It seems like most of the ultra runners I’ve known are introverts (energized by time alone on the trails). It’ll be interesting to see what the response to the TRN poll is. I’d rather run with good friends than alone most days, so I’m not sure how that affects the equation. My co-instructor’s teaching right now, so I’ve got time for pondering.

  • Larry

    Guilty!  Introverts are laregely misunderstood and sometimes to a fault. We can come off as aloof or conceited when, in reality, we’re just scared to death to walk up to a stranger and start having a conversation. Going to a party where I hardly know anyone is the worst case scenario. I’d rather show up late ensuring that there will be someone there i know, just in case.  And, that goes against my proclivity regarding punctuality. There’s a new book out called “Quiet”.  I need to read it–all about introverts.  I actually love running with people on the trails, but I’m fairly obsessive with efforts and paces laid out in my training plan, so i choose to run alone most of the time. It’s difficult to find someone to run the same pace/effort and I wouldn’t want to inconvenience someone in case I’m having a bad run–ergo, running alone. :o)

    • Liza

      I’m putting that book on my reading list, Larry.  Do you think a person’s interests are a confounding factor in your party example?  Going to functions where I don’t know people leaves me looking forward to time alone, — unless it happens to be a group of trail runners talking trail running. That’s energizing and I’m bouncing off the walls afterwards.  

  • http://www.seriouscaseoftheruns.com/ Paige

    I am in the same boat :)  I am definitely an introvert, but a lot of people wouldn’t describe me that way for some reason (just like your students).  I am completely drained by social interactions that are forced (i.e. work functions, blech), but totally energized by things like group socials with my running clubs, pre-race festivities, and pretty much anything to do with running and the outdoors and all the people that those things involve :)  Like Larry mentions below, in reviews at work the words ‘aloof’ and ‘conceited’ have come up in describing me…I’m like “whaaaat?!” every time.  Seriously?  And it’s because I keep to myself and just do my job.  The peeps I work with all just like to complain about how much they hate this and that ALL DAY LONG (and watch really bad soap operas in the lunch room, so I eat my lunch at my desk or outside), and I just like to keep quiet and do a good job.  I certainly don’t intend to come off ‘aloof’ but my quietness and lack of complaining apparently causes that perception, lol.  Oh well :)  I’ll have to check out that book Quiet, too; bet it’s interesting!

    • Gene Taylor

      Very interesting post.  I never thought of myself as an introvert, although much of what you say fits the way I thought when working.  I have always thought of ultrarunners as introspective since the act of introspection is  analysis of how one is feeling which is a good thing in the midst of the challenges and pain of a long and/or difficult run.  I guess, being an engineer, I thought self analysis was simply a good way to logically gage what to do next when things are going wrong.
      Gotta love semantics.  
      GT

  • Lisa

    People say I am an extrovert but I am not truly one.  I am described as open, talkative, friendly, outgoing, nice, curious, etc.  I may be that but I don’t like to be in the limelight and I don’t consider myself a leader.  My attributes make me a good nurse I think but I find I enjoy a lot of time alone.  I like running with like minded people and I like running alone.

    Sometimes I wish I could be quiet and thoughtful and soft spoken like some of my friends. They seem so poised and collected.  I am a very passionate person so half the time I feel like a spaz when I talk to people!  And Liza, after seeing your interview with Bryon Powell from I Run Far, before a Leadville race I thought, oh, she seems soft spoken and shy, but friendly nonetheless! 

    Perceptions are interesting for sure.  My favorite runs when I ran in northern Arizona were long runs with friends and running for miles without saying a word. It was just comfortable- no worrying about the other, just enjoying.

  • Domingo

    I find I am an introvert for sure. I find it hard to socialize. Not sure if it is my own issue or a common trail runner issue.