It's a funny thing.. there was a time when I signed up for and ran races just for the thrill of it. I didn't care how I did, it didn't mean anything to me. I cherished the experience of a newbie runner, trotting along side 600 or 6,000 other runners somewhere in the middle.. just soaking in the experience, and treasuring the fact that I felt "normal." If someone handed out a flyer at a race for another one next weekend... I'd seriously consider going. "Why not? This running thing is a blast!
Now, races must be carefully planned out. Goals set. Training executed. Race plans carefully crafted. Strategies read and re-read. Past winners' times reviewed. A race is now an "Event!"
Now, sadly I see these signs for local 5Ks or 4 milers, or whatever popping up all over the place. Midnight races, firecracker races, you name it. My kids see the signs, too. "Why don't you run in this race?" And I realize, that if I haven't trained for the event, then, I can't live up to some "personal expectations." So, the race comes and goes. And I don't run in it. And I suddenly think maybe I'm missing out on something. When exactly did this happen?
Wouldn't it be fun if you could register as running a "training run" or a "pacer" or some other designee other than "competitive?" I don't know why it bothers me, but I always think, well, if I just run xyz race in the middle of training for something else, then, it will just be a run. And then I'd be worried when people looked up my time they'd say, "Oh, wow, she was two minutes off her 5K time from last year." Even though they probably wouldn't and this is all in my head...
Somehow, I feel like doing a race "for fun" is just largely out of the question. I'm imprisoned by the fact that every race must have a purpose; a goal. But I do realize worrying about my expectations--or everyone else's (which probably don't even exist)--is really superfluous. I just need to let go of my competitiveness sometimes.
Do any of you who have raced for awhile get hung up on just running in some local races for fun?
Topo Athletic Ultrafly
12 hours ago