I have a confession to make. I kind of hate racing. I mean, I love it and I work hard so I can do it, but I also kind of hate it. Let me explain.

Ever since my running changed from “I wonder if I can finish this distance” to “I wonder how quickly I can complete this distance” racing has taken a turn for the painful. It’s a good kind of pain and I never regret it, but I wouldn’t exactly use the word “fun” to describe racing now. The type of suffering changes with the race– 5ks are gut-busting, quads on fire kind of pain and longer races are more of a slow burn, but it always hurts. And there is always a point, usually somewhere around half or 2/3s of the way in, where I think to myself, “what in the world am I doing? I am never doing this again. It hurts!”

Don’t get me wrong– I would consider some of my race experiences fun, but never the actual race itself. When you bundle the suffering during the race with the pre-race nerves, disgusting trips to the porta potty and the risk of a bad result it’s a wonder anyone ever races. I adore being around the running community, the excitement of getting your timing chip and packet, hard training (I actually enjoy training more than racing but without a race I won’t train), anticipating the race, setting goals, choosing the perfect race outfit, eating bananas and bagels with friends after the race but I just don’t usually enjoy the race itself.

But then you cross the finish line and it all disappears. I don’t know how to explain it. Seeing some green numbers on the clock suddenly erases all the pain and suffering of the last 20 minutes-4 hours and it’s like it never happened! I don’t get it. I’m just going to chalk it up to endorphin/adrenaline magic.

I’ve tried having fun in races, but that usually results in slower times. I set a 5k PR in a “fun” race I didn’t really intend on racing last year, but I recall feeling like my lungs were going to explode in the final mile. I had a good time at the half marathon I ran in March but not until after I got to stop running. But it’s worth it. No pain, no gain, right?

I don’t really know where I’m going with this other than to say, if your race hurts, I feel your pain. I really do. And also, if you’re in pain, it’s probably because you’re doing it right.


Training update!

I feel pretty good this week. No weird aches or pains and although my legs were pretty tired after the 19 mile workout I wasn’t sore or anything. I also ran through the crazy typhoon we had out here on Tuesday. It was actually kind of scary. I don’t really recommend running in 40 mph winds in the pouring rain while it’s dark out. But I have goals and they, and the date of CIM don’t change just because of some rain. So I ran! It was half adventure, half idiocy. I ran a really weird route because I got disoriented in a new neighborhood but it worked out.

Wednesday I ran 6 in the morning and then felt guilty about skipping my q2 workout so I decided to skip my evening volunteer work and get ‘er done after work. I felt massively guilty for bailing on my high school kids but kept trying to brush off the feeling. And then, 2 miles in, my garmin died. I decided it was God telling me to have a proper run/life balance so  I ran 4 easy and hung out with my funny, funny kids. It was the right decision. I don’t think any of them (and they are super low-income, disadvantaged kids who don’t really play sports) knew I was a runner but I was in my running clothes and one of them hilariously asked me, “why in the world would you run if you’re already skinny?” Which led to a great conversation about healthy living, exercise and having healthy hobbies as an adult. But it was very funny. I should have said, “so I can drink and eat ice cream without guilt” but that doesn’t set a good example…

Anyway,  I tackled 2 miles warmup with 8×5 mins 10k pace with 30 seconds rest, 2 miles cooldown this morning. It was terribly, terribly muggy (my roommate assumed it was raining when I got back but nope, that’s just my stupid body sweating like 300 pound man. According to the scale I lost THREE POUNDS of sweat in 10 miles) and my legs were really heavy. I got through 7 repeats (actually I cheated and rested one minute because it was just so hard) and just jogged home. I was starting to get the puke-y feeling I got at Cowtown and felt like I was bonking and had no interest in dry heaving on a Thursday before work. I actually think I underate this week because I felt hungry during my warm up even though I ate some toast before I left.

I should have run 63 miles this week, but I’m going to be over which is ok with me. I think I’ll probably end up in the 65-67 range. I suppose going over is better than under.

Sunday I’m running 13 miles at MP with some warm up and cool down. I’m nervous and excited.


6 responses to “Racing

  1. OMG I know exactly how you feel about racing – especially after my half last weekend. I ran harder than ever before because I was going for time and by the end (and for two days after) I was HURTING. But, I had a major PR and now that the race is over I look back on it fondly. In fact, when my playlist came on my iPod the other night I WISHED I was out there running the race again.

    I think races are only fun in hindsight.

    And good job on the life/running balance, I think that is SO important. That’s funny that one of the kids asked you that, though. I remember being in high school and I totally thought skinny=healthy automatically and why would skinny people have to work out? I know better now, haha!

  2. “But it was very funny. I should have said, ‘so I can drink and eat ice cream without guilt’ but that doesn’t set a good example…” HILARIOUS! And you just summed up why we all go through all that pain you were just describing about racing, too.
    We race so that we train, so that we can eat and drink what we like. But I agree with you 100%, there are some aspects of racing that I could just due with out: nervous pre-race tummy, porta potties, aches and pains afterwards. But hey, if it was easy, everyone would do it. So I find comfort that although I may sound like a sadistic, at least I’m not alone! 🙂

    Good job on your Tuesday run, I whimped out and hit the treadmill and also for yesterday with this nasty muggy weather!

  3. Everytime I run a marathon, I think to myself that this is the last, only to, hours later, go and sign up for yet another.

  4. I think the fun starts after you cross the finish. I love to revel in the glory of finishing.

  5. racing sucks! haha I always laugh when people are like have fun! There is nothing fun racing your hardest for 26.2 miles, but there is also nothing like crossing that finish line either!

    great training week! that’s SO cute what your kid said…you’re setting a great example 🙂

  6. Oh good, I wasn’t the only idiot that ran in our little storm on Tuesday … I felt like a major moron when branches were falling down around my path … and I realized that no one would find me for hours … haha!

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