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.
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.