Today I’m the host of Take It and Run Thursday for the Runner’s Lounge. I’ve been looking forward to this for months! I enjoy reading everyone’s contributions each week and I’m really looking to hearing what you all have to say.
So, my question for this week was this:
We’ve all discussed why we run, but why do you RACE and how do you choose which races to run?
Do you look for certain distances, swag, location, start time, or something else? Tell me how you decide where and when to race. Also, I’m currently on a quest to run a race in every state. Please tell me–and others about a particular race you’ve run that is not to be missed.
I guess I should answer my own questions, huh?
Why do I race? Pretty much the obvious reason – I need external motivation to improve my running. I’ve run on and off for years as a way to keep my weight where I want it and to keep depression at bay. Starting to run races, however, has taken my running to a whole new level. My longest run before I started racing was 4 miles. Now, that’s my minimum run length. I never would have pushed my body to achieve the endurance I now have if I hadn’t trained for a marathon. In fact, I really need to get a half marathon on the calendar soon as I’m struggling to find the motivation to get past 10 miles on my long runs.
Also, I run by myself. Running races gives me a chance to interact with my IRL running community (as opposed to all the cool runners in my computer). It’s fun to chat with people I’ve never met and challenge myself at the end of a race to keep up with (or pass) another runner.
As for choosing races, for the most part, races have to be either 1)walking distance to my house or 2) in a state in which I haven’t raced. I’m lucky in that I have 3 or 4 races every year that start within a mile of my house. These go on my calendar as soon as they are announced and the rest of my racing schedule works around them. The next most important category for me is new states. I raced in 6 new states this year (plus 2 in prior years), so I have 42 more states to go and 10.5 years to hit 50 by age 50. I try to find a race anytime we travel out of the area. Also, since Beer Geek loves to travel to new brewpubs/breweries and to geographic “oddities”, I can usually convince him at least once a year to take a trip specifically to hit a race.
As far as individual races go, I have yet to run in a “bad” race. (I’ve had some sucky races, but none of that has ever been the organizers’ fault.) They’ve all been well organized, with good swag and decent courses. My favorite race so far though was the Marine Corps Marathon. It was incredibly well organized (as one might expect), the course was awesome, and the swag was pretty nice (a long sleeve mock turtleneck and a medal). The fact that it started and ended only a few miles from my house didn’t hurt either.
Thanks to all those who participate! I can’t wait to hear about why you race and where you race.
Unrelated to TIART, I managed to run 10 miles today. I was not feeling the love of running, thanks to a cold my body is fighting and the fact that Beer Geek has been traveling this week. I really just wanted to spend the time Shoo was at preschool sitting by myself with a book and a cup of coffee. Instead, I forced myself out the door with a Honey Stinger gel (awesome and didn’t upset my tummy) and my handheld full of Nuun. I promised myself I’d run at least 4 miles and then ran 2.75 miles away from my house to guarantee I’d have to run at least 5.5. I started at a ten minute pace and managed to speed up every mile, finishing mile 9 in 8:48! I then did mile 10 very slowly as a cool down. Other than being overdressed (capris and a short sleeve shirt), it was a really nice run.