Friday, October 20, 2023

I "Ran" a 50 Miler and Now I'm Unemployed

Hey, I've missed you.

I suppose it's very possible to have an existential crisis at the age of 56. Not that I would know anything about that. I mean - I just lost my job, my husband got laid off, my kids have flown the nest, I have been dizzy for the past seven months and I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up.

Why am I like this? Maybe this is why I don't have a job?

On another note: remember when our kids were young and someone would ask how old they were and we would give their age in months? I'm going to start doing that now. I am officially 682 months old. Never mind. That's sounds awful. My existential crisis (EC) just got worse. 

Back to the EC. There is nothing like job searching to really emphasize all of the things you are not good at and all of the jobs you would hate. Like, who wants to be a dog food canner? And who is qualified to work at all the cool places like Google where they have personal baristas and toilets with seat warming and anal hygiene? (that's a rumor. I have no idea what toilets at Google are like but I want to find out).

I knew my job was ending. I was an independent contractor for the past 8 years and my employer was getting rid of contracts September 30. I knew this. Yet, it hit me really hard when it actually happened. I didn't realize how much my job anchored me and made me feel like I was good at something and that I had purpose each day. Even on the days I didn't like my work, and they were frequent, I still felt a sense of productivity and satisfaction. Yes, some of that was tied to making money and some of it was just knowing I had done the best job I could that day.

So, here we are. Early on (and it's only been less than three weeks) I knew I needed structure to my days. I committed to:

1. Job search for 2-3 hours day/apply to one new job a day

2. Run (or get off my ass one way or another)

3. Do something nice for someone. This could be as small as letting someone in during traffic or as big as doing CPR to the beat of "Stayin' Alive" and savings someone's life. Trust me, it's all been small stuff so far and my CPR has expired so there's that.

The only thing that has really boosted my spirits these days is running. When I run, I get perspective and feel I can conquer the world. I breathe in the fall air and everything feels okay somehow.  You know what I mean. I know you do.

There is no easy solution to dealing with life's unknowns and timelines. It's a quick and unconscious deep dive into pessimism sometimes. But, I try to reframe things, remembering the words of Mel Robbins, "What if it all works out?" instead of, "What if I end up canning dog food and never get to experience a Japanese toilet?" 

But, guess what? I ran a 50 mile trail race in September (Run Rabbit Run in Steamboat, CO). My first one (and probably my last). I was severely undertrained due to my VN condition (dizzy, foggy, unbalanced) but I figured I would go for it anyway. If I had my first DNF, so be it. I fell hard at mile 11, but pressed on even though I thought I might have broken my hand (see grotesque image below). The first half of the race was phenomenal and I felt great, then the last half was a slog to the finish as I got more fatigued and feared falling. I also had to poop and felt a major blister on my toe explode. Why is running so glamourous? Have you ever almost crawled across a finish line? Well, it wasn't that bad, but I was in a pretty pathetic state. And, you know what? I was stubborn and determined and I did it. At 681 months old, I did it.

Trying to haul ass up Rabbit Ears Peak. Some guy at the top (not
with the race) took my picture because he thought it was a cool shot.
As I went by I yelled out my cell number and told him to send it to me
and he did!!

The hand the day after. It looks like my hand is dressing up for 
Halloween. 2 x-rays later, not broken. But still hurts, actually.

That finish line feeling. Sheesh the volunteer waiting for me was just happy
to finally be able to go to bed.

And, now. I look around at all of you employed bastards smiling like you love your jobs. Just like I look at people running when I am injured and can't run. It's jealousy mixed with longing or something like that. The reality is I know not everyone loves their jobs, not everyone has a job. Maybe we place way too much emphasis on our work and not enough on all of the other things that make for a balanced life like hobbies and Golden Retrievers and wine and running and Netflix and travel. Oh, did I tell you we went to Spain and Greece in August? I like the traveling version of myself a lot. She is relaxed and tan and drinks Ouzo at lunch. .

Bike tour in Barcelona sponsored by Old Navy skirt and very heavy bike

Roof top sunsets in Barcelona. Same skirt I wore on my honeymoon. 
Maybe I will get lucky tonight

The island of Naxos in Greece. Still wearing the skirt. My eyes say
I have had a few of those small glasses of wine.

Ouzo FTW. If you go to Naxos you must visit Giannoulis Taverna
where the food is incroyable and the living is good.

Some village in Naxos where shirts were not required and they served
Rooster stew

Hmmm...the conclusion is a probably just don't want to work and would prefer to travel and drink wine and be with friends. I think my new job is meant to be - RETIRED. Welp, too soon for that unfortunately.

Enough of my ranting and complaining. Tell me about you.

- How many months old are you?

-Ever DNF'd a race? Nope, not yet, but I'm sure it's in my future

-Did you travel this summer, if so, where? We went to Greece, Spain, Las Vegas, San Diego and Michigan for a Ragnar Relay.

-Ever been laid off? Yes

-Did you make a career shift in your later life? Not yet. Please tell me what to do. 



PS: I might be on here more often. Clearly I've got time to kill

PPS: Do you want to hire me? Kidding. Not kidding.


  1. I am 684 months old. I was running a half marathon in oppressive heat and ditched at a spot where I could shortcut to the finish line and cheer my friends in (who were not as bothered by the heat). No travel for me lately. Trying to save money for kid #2's college tuition payments, lol. Never been laid off but my husband was and it was scary. I feel your pain but lots of places are hiring so you will find something. Can't help with that career shift but I am 100% sure you will be able to do it if you put your mind to it!

  2. 1. I'm 431 months old!
    2. No, but I severely adjusted my pace so that I could try harder at another race in the near future.
    3. Florida, Estes Park, and Buena Vista.
    4. Twice
    5. So many times. I don't know what I'm doing.

  3. 591

    No, but I’m considering signing up for my first full Ironman 140.6 and a hesitation is the very real possibility I might DNF!

    We moved - does that count as travel? 🙄 (See last answer).


    Yes! My husband decided to move me twice in 2 years for his career (Dallas to Houston to OKC) so I found myself job hunting TWICE IN TWO YEARS at almost 50. We are 1. still married (yay me) and 2. on my 2nd job search, I changed from secondary education where I spent 26 years to higher ed. I am VERY happy with my new job. It was so stressful and scary starting over and all the transition, but it turned out to ultimately be great. Good luck!

    1. YAY go for 140.6!! Which one?? I'll be cheering you on. Especially if I'm still unemployed lol. Job hunting twice in 2 years sounds awful, but I'm glad you landed on something that you are happy with!!

  4. I’m 824 months old. I DNFd the Big Sur Marathon in 2022 - forced to stop at mile 21 because of time limits. They gave me a 21 mile medal 🤷‍♀️. I’ve never been laid off. I am now retired, but I had 3 different careers - microbiology lab research assistant, small business owner (Gymboree Play Program), elementary school clinical aide. Never made much money, but loved all my jobs. Now I’m loving retirement !

  5. I will probably be the first person to respond, since I am currently unemployed, too, and like to comment on social media rather than working on my resume. I actually made the consious decision to leave my school librarian position at the end of last school year, but like you....I am feeling a little lost without the routine & sense of purpose (not to mention paycheck). Not yet sure what I'm going to do next, but I ordered a copy of "What Color is My Parachute" (updated for the year 2000!) and am reliving the angst I felt in 1994 when I couldn't decide what college major to declare. This time, I'm 594 months old, and am not quite sure what career fits in around hot flashes, gimpy hips, aging parents, a husband who plans on early retirement, a 19 year old cat, and college aged kids. Dog walker and cat socializer sound like rewarding career options, but might not make much of a dent in college tuition payments.....

    Ah, well - congrats on your 50 miler - that's an amazing accomplishment, even more so considering your vertigo and hand injury. I've only tackled the marathon distance, and have had one hip surgery for every marathon that I've run (3) so my running days are over, but I do miss the bad-assness (or is it bad-assery?!) and grit that is required to *not* DNF in those tough situations.

    Spain and Greece look stunning. We have those both on our 5 year travel plan, but kept it US-based this year and visited the Outer Banks this summer. Did you work with a travel agency/tour or just strike out on your own?

    1. I had no idea they republished that book. I loved it back in the day and found it really helpful although I still don't know what color my parachute is! Regarding the travel - I did not work with a travel agency. I planned it myself (yes it was me planning it - husband just rolls with it). I did a multi city flight option on Expedia since we went Denver>Barcelona>Athens>Naxos>Athens>Denver. Then I researched hotels and Airbnbs in the areas we would be visiting and asked people for recommendations. Spent a lot of time on TripAdvisor. Everything worked REALLY well. And, we were able to do it on somewhat of a friendly budget. If you are planning to visit any of these places let me. I have some great recommendations!!

  6. 500 months exactly (that’s fun!)
    Never DNF’d, always want to though
    Traveled to Seattle and loved it
    Never been laid off, but often wanted to be (kidding mostly)
    I’ve made two career shifts so far, both very healthy and positive. My advice: Take an honest look at your strengths and interests. Consciously go through your contacts and find ways to connect with people and figure out what’s out there. Say yes to every meeting/coffee/random get together and keep an open mind. The next right thing will come along. Or sometimes it’s the next, next right thing. Good luck!

    1. Hahahahahhaa "never DNF but always want to" pretty much every race for me when it gets tough. I love your advice - I think rather than just being the victim to what you find on Indeed it makes more sense to be proactive and keep in my your strengths and what you want. I have always been shy about using connections and I don't know why. Definitely need to be more bold.

  7. I missed you too.
    Yes. Vancouver Island just before summer, Ontario just after, and just home from Jasper.
    Yes. Oh very yes.
    Yes. I've shifted 'careers' so much I can scarcely be said to have had a career. I can't count the number of different places I've work without writing them down, and even within the same place I sometimes did different jobs. Retirement is the best job yet! I highly recommend it.
    What to do? You've got part of it right, hunting for work part of the time, and enjoying life some of the rest of the time. I went a year and a bit looking for work one time, back in 2008 or 9 or so. I was beginning to wonder if I'd ever actually work again. And then I did. There's specific job hunting strategies I could suggest if you wanted. What you might want to add in is working on ways to create a job for yourself. There's a lot of scams out there, don't fall for them. Rely on yourself and your spouse, and stay strong. Don't let someone else run down your sense of self worth.

    1. KEITH! Hi! I know retirement will be my favorite job. Eventually. Since I am not having luck finding anything I want to do or any job that excites me, I might just create that job for myself. And thank you for writing this: "Don't let someone else run down your sense of self worth." Bravo.

  8. We’ve missed you too! And I’m laid off as well (8/11). No career change for me…IT project Management is my jam. Hope your hand feels better soon.

  9. Funny story. Just returned from Italy. Drinking wine and eating was the job description. Also will be unemployed end of the year. Either forcefully removed or walk away kindly. That is TBD, one of the other in inevitable. Also, spouse took a new job so we have just sold our kid-raising home and are searching for the next one in central TX (I am a MO girl). Gym is the only rhythm that makes sense. And the drifting sensation has begun. What is happening to us mid 50’s kids??

  10. Age - Older than 682 months
    DNF’d in race - 3rd place in Turkey trot💪
    Travel - Scotland and ate a bite of Haggis🤢
    Laid off - Nope🤞🏻
    Career change - Yes and recommend it♥️
    Hire Beth - Heck YES!🥰

    1. Kim?? Is that you? Scotland gave it away. And, the Turkey Trot :)

  11. Sorry to hear about being laid off. I was laid off three times in a three year period. It is hard to come to terms with even if the work is yucky or you know it is coming. I was younger then and didn’t change professions. Looking for work every day is a good idea. I did get some part time work from this. Jeffco has what’s called the work center where they host webinars on job hunting, etc. does your county have anything like that? It’s been so long, I don’t know how to find a job. Good luck! Keep us updated!

    1. I have no clue how to find a job. Haven't really looked for one in 30 years. And, no, the county has offered nothing as I was a contract worker. Can't apply for unemployment either. Sigh.

  12. KSR Specialty JewelryOctober 20, 2023 at 4:21 PM

    -650 months old
    -Haven’t DNFed yet… if I do, they will find me at the bottom of what ever body of water is associated with that race.
    -Only traveled for triathlons this year (Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and Wisconsin)… and a quick trip to New England to visit the kiddo.
    -Yes, I have been fired 🥴 and I do not regret it
    -career shift? I am just now figuring it out at the age of 54 with my own business.

    Welcome back, I have missed your blog… especially the poop stories 🤣🤣🤣

    1. I love that you are running your own business. And - more poop stories coming, I promise.

  13. I am 652 months old to the day! I have not yet dnf’d. I wait until I finish, get home & showered & then pass out hitting my head on the hardwood floor. I made a career change in June after 17.5 years at the same firm, partner for the past 10. I was tired of life passing me by. When cousins in their 50’s started passing away unexpectedly, it was time to live more & work . I now eat dinner with my husband every night. 😀Thankfully no youngsters want to be accountants & even fewer are interested in being CPAs so there were options for a ‘reduced hours’ job. Hang in there & please post more often!!!

    1. Happy 652 month old birthday! Sounds like you have a great perspective on life!

  14. 651 months exactly.
    I’ve never dnf’d. I prefer to finish, come home , shower, then pass out in front of my husband on the hardwood floor. (DNF a better idea…trust me!). I did have my first DNS a couple weeks ago. Was supposed to run St. George & could not finish long training runs in AZ summer heat.)
    Just left my job of 17.5 years in June. Moved full-time to Scottsdale with husband who is fully retired. Luckily, very few kids are interested in accounting, even fewer in being CPAs. I now work about half the hours I used to…but enough for insurance.
    Only travel this summer (besides moving) was to Chicago & Michigan (no Ragnar).

    Hang in there with your job hunt. 💪

  15. Nice to see you back, and congratulations on the 50-miler! Sorry to hear about all that's going on otherwise. Good luck with the job search.

    I'm 668 months old now. I've only run a few races, and I finished them all, but I did DNF a bike event once when I broke the bolts on my small chainring (I'm not that strong, the bolts were the wrong length for Reasons). And I had a DNS on a 200K ride once when I hurt my leg getting out of bed in the morning. I was mostly in Michigan this summer, dealing with elder care, but I did go to France for a wedding (of French friends/chosen family, so not a destination wedding, though it was in a remote part of France). Never laid off, due to getting the golden ticket (a tenure-track professor job) just as I was finishing grad school. And no late career shift—though I did just step down after 7 years in academic administration, so I have to figure out exactly what I want the last decade or so of my career to look like.

    And you reminded me that I really should take CPR and first aid refresher course soon, since "Stayin' Alive" was less than a decade old when I last practiced CPR....

    1. I wish I had a Golden Ticket! Let me know when you figure out what you want your next decade to look like. Exciting!

  16. I had to do the math twice on my age. I never actually remember how old I am. I just always say 34 because I liked that year. I have been 34 for about 26 years now.
    And ten of those years ago I decided to teach.I like it. It’s not easy, but it is fun, challenging, and no day is the same. I love the schedule- summer off, holidays off, and generally off 330 ish helps with being able to do errands etc. with the little I know about your background from this blog, you might be able to do your as a SW in a school. Just throwing it out there.

  17. Hi! Welcome back and way to finish RRR with a broken hand and dizziness! Sheesh, I thought broken bones were a legit reason to DNF, but now I have to reconsider that. I am also 56 yrs old. I DNF’d the Chicago Marathon 2022. But I finished the Deception Pass 50k that same year. I’m training for it again this year but having trouble getting my long runs in.
    -Did you travel this summer, if so, where? We went to Crested Butte and Sonoma.

    -Ever been laid off? No, I work for the Federal govt (DOI) it’s very secure and they are always hiring!
    -Did you make a career shift in your later life? I’m considering this now. Thinking about working for a nonprofit once retirement benefits best. Some kind of water or enviro non profit.

    1. Hi Avra!! Great to hear from you! Dirty 30 seems so long ago. Maybe I'll look into DOI! Keep me posted on any job shirts for you and maybe we will cross paths out there on the trails again.

  18. I'm so glad to see your posts again! My calculator blew up when I tried to see how many months old I am. 819 months-- whoa that cannot be possible! And these legs still run! I still find things that bring in the money but gotta know more than that you were a contract employee. Oh and congratulations - that is a huge, HUGE accomplishment.

  19. Rick Boudreau, Halifax CanadaOctober 22, 2023 at 10:23 AM

    So good to hear from you, wish you were in a better mental state. I am told all things happen for a reason, just don’t like not knowing the reason or what the outcome will be. I am 728 months old (closing in on 61 for anyone challenged by math) and can not decide if it is time to stop now altogether or leave for a part time more enjoyable(?) job. I very much dislike Sundays because of what the next day is. Running is a great distraction but I need to get to pull the chute day. Yes, what job to take ….. try to land where you feel you will be happy, not so much focused on the money if possible. Keep running for sure and never show that hand again!

    1. Hey Rick! Love your advice about landing where you are happy and not focusing so much on the $$ especially if the job makes you miserable. I don't want to dislike Sundays!

  20. Bethie...have you considered being a travel agent?

  21. I hope you update more often! miss that. Sorry about the hand ouch!! 50 miler - kudos!!!

  22. I am 665 months old.

    Ever DNF'd a race - I finished a marathon, but missed about two miles in the center due to horrible weather up on a mountain (it was in Westcliffe CO), but they showed me finishing it. I even told them that I missed it.

    We traveled this summer, all for marathons: Minnesota, Washington and Maine (well Maine was this fall).

    -Ever been laid off - No

    -Did you make a career shift in your later life? No

  23. I’m 616 months old. I’ve never DNFd but only ran a handful of races. I also traveled to Spain last summer! Beautiful! Yes I’ve been laid off and yes, I switched jobs after I turned 49. I suggest getting recruiters (hire multiple). They will look for you and if you get hired, the company will pay the recruiting fees so it will cost you nothing. Good luck, and welcome back!