I’m Not Running Races and That’s Okay

I love running.  When I first started running, I found I loved the push toward self-improvement, the camaraderie in the distance running community, and the spirit of competition.  I’ve loved all of it.  Part of me still does, but due to countless other obligations, and a few injuries, I haven’t run a race in over a year.  My disappearance from races has taught me something unexpected.  I’ve learned that I still love running, but for different reasons.


In 2008, I began training for my first half-marathon and became focused on improving my distance, my time, and my overall conditioning.  However, in 2010 I began thinking about writing a novel and found I was “writing” in my head during my long runs.  This kept up throughout the publication of Resolve and continued as I pieced together several more books and stories.  As this process became a habit, I realized I was running for different reasons than before.  My long runs had become quiet periods of introspection and isolation.  Those miles had become a haven from the stresses of life and allowed my mind to run free, rather than milestones toward any particular goal.  My race times suffered.  My conditioning deteriorated to some extent.  And that was okay with me.

Distance running is special and it means something different to every person who falls into the lifestyle.  We learn a lot about ourselves as we push ourselves down the road.  We learn how much we can endure.  We learn how to deal with setbacks.  We learn how to keep achievements in perspective.  And sometimes we learn our reasons for running have been redefined.  But no matter the reasoning, we churn out the miles and continue to learn more about ourselves with every mile.


J.J. Hensley is the author of RESOLVE, which is set against the backdrop of the Pittsburgh Marathon, Measure Twice, Chalk’s Outline, and other works. Hensley is a former police officer and former Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service.

image1Cyprus Keller wants a future.
Jackson Channing has a past.
Robert Chalk has a rifle and a mission.  Kill Cyprus Keller and anyone who gets in his way.


An addict is killing Pittsburgh city officials, but Homicide Detective Jackson Channing has his own addiction.



In the Pittsburgh Marathon, more than 18,000 people will participate. 4,500 people will attempt to cover the full 26.2 miles. Over 200 of the participants will quit, realizing it just wasn’t their day. More than 100 will get injured and require medical treatment. One man is going to be murdered.  When Dr. Cyprus Keller lines up to start the race, he knows a man is going to die for one simple reason. He’s going to kill him.

resolve-cover art CL (1)

Finalist – 2014 International Thriller Writers Awards – Best First Novel
Named one of the BEST BOOKS of 2013 by Suspense Magazine!
Top Ten Books of the Year – Authors on the Air

 And look for my short story FOUR DAYS FOREVER in the LEGACY anthology

Legacy cover



4 thoughts on “I’m Not Running Races and That’s Okay

  1. Joe C

    I’m always torn about racing. I, too, love the camaraderie and energy you get from a being around hundreds (or thousands) of other runners, but don’t ever feel the same level of peacefulness/contentment I get when I run solo. For now, I’ll continue running some races, though I’ve started getting very selective about those I choose. It’s quality vs. quantity for me right now.

    1. J.J. Hensley Post author

      I’m much the same at this point. I love the race atmosphere, but I’m particular about what races interest me. I’ll probably run 1 or 2 this year, but only if they are convenient (and not too expensive). Currently, I get more joy from my solo runs.

  2. hollyida

    Love, love, love this post. I *hate* running in races. I get so nervous beforehand and for no reason. I’ll never be fast enough to win, but I want to be fast enough to not be the last one, you know? I haven’t run a race in several years and am so much happier. I now run for my own peace of mind. I still have running goals, but running in a race just isn’t one of them.


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