There are runners who simply run and then there are runners who race. Me? I’ve become a race junkie, an addict of sorts; see Patty’s post on the race bug for further clarification. There are certainly worse addictions to have. Running is good cardiovascular exercise and has many health benefits; racing has different implications. Racing can be time-consuming, fill your weekends, require travel, and be expensive. One can argue that these negatives are completely outweighed by the positives and that some of these negatives can be mitigated or turned into positives, i.e. early race registration can sometimes cut the race fee ($50 vs $95) and busy weekends are better than sitting around feeling bored or you might never travel to X if there wasn’t an awesome race there. Regardless I’m definitely a racer. I would never try to convince a runner to become a racer, but recently I was asked why I register for so many races. I took time to ponder my response and here is what I came up with:
- Races give me a goal on the horizon, a target to train for; they keep me motivated even when the running isn’t easy. They keep me from quitting.
- Races impress me. I would never have glimpsed the runner I could become if I had never run a race. I run faster and harder in a race than I ever can muster on a training run; must be the adrenaline and the other runners. Seriously this is my absolute biggest motivating factor. I don’t need to win, but I adore doing better than my last race; PR’s are the BEST! Also all the other runners in a race inspire me because they are out there doing it – running the race, passing me on the last 200 meters, kicking butt and finishing no matter how hard the going is.
- Races give me bling. I could do without the race shirts, sure I could, but I do love me some medals. It’s a validation of all my hard work – I may not place but I can still PR (did I mention that PRs are the best?). I really do love all the medals.
- Races give me a sense of accomplishment. I don’t care if I finished last, crossing that finish line is golden. Finishing a race validates all my hard work, all the hours of running. Every race I run I face different challenges and sense of accomplishments – I treasure them all.
- Races allow me to set an example for my children. My boys still only run 5Ks, although I foresee a 10K in the near future, but in a 5K they beat me every single time and yet they still see me trying, striving, finishing, and feeling ecstatic for the finish. They see me try, maybe fail, and keep going. What an example, I am privileged to present to my boys!
So are you a racer or a runner? If you are a racer, why do you race?
I’ve got a ton of 5K races coming up, then a few months of half marathons to run….The inaugural “I Dream of Jeannie” half in October (I am in need of a good costume), the Disney “Wine and Dine” in November (running with the hubby and cannot wait for the park after hours and of course the wine!), and a Divas Half Marathons in December (who doesn’t love a pink boa and a tiara to cross the finish line – it is going to be an awesome girls’ weekend)…over 50 scheduled race miles before the end of the 2015 calendar year and I’m still looking for more races to register for, not to mention what my registrations for 2016 look like already…I couldn’t resist the Sarasota First Watch Half early bird special and a few others…
So are you a racer too?
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