Why do you run so many races?

“Why do you run so many races?” Asks Chloe, a 26-year-old, former NCAA Division I middle-distance runner and trainer at Elite Fitness Training. I could tell she’d been dying to ask me this for a while, though she’d been unable to work all the judgment out of her voice in the time it took her to work up the nerve. “Wouldn’t you rather run a few races a year and run them well?”

I shrugged, as well as one can with a weighted barbell across her shoulders. “I do only run a few races a year that I care about. The rest are just training runs.”

“Yeah, but all those times are out there. I wouldn’t want those bad times associated with my name.” Says the woman who has a profile page on her University’s athletic department website.

“When was the last time you Googled me to study my race times?” I asked her.

“Well, never,” she admitted, sheepishly. “But still. Those times are out there.”

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I finished first of one in my age group at the Swan Lake Marathon in South Dakota last June. There were 40 entrants, it was 88 degrees, and I walked a few miles because it was just too hot not to. Yep; those results are out there.

 

Indeed they are, I thought. But here’s the thing — for the small handful of people that will, in fact, Google my race times (you need something better to do), I expect one of three reactions: (1) wow, she’s slow; (2) wow, she’s fast; or (3) wow, we run practically the same pace. Such is life. You can’t wait until you’re the best at something to do it; and you can’t only do those things that you are the best at. There will always be someone better than you. And there will always be someone who is not impressed by whatever amazing feat you are accomplishing. I’ve learned not to get spun up about it; I’m going to do whatever makes me happy. With 40 races on the calendar in 2017, there are bound to be some slow times, but I don’t think there will be any “bad times.”

Why do I run so many races? Because I can. Because there is no more magical place on Earth than the start line of a race. And because I know the courage it to put myself out there will make me better in the long run.

 

 

4 Comments on “Why do you run so many races?

  1. That is the truth. Sometimes the races are the only running I do. (Not smart, but it’s honest.) I love doing races, though. Youve inspired me to run more of them I 2017, though I dont think ill be running my age (50). Have fun!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love reading your stories. I was hooked the first time I listened to one of your live broadcast before a race.
    You have inspired me to try and broadcast and write about my experiences. I’m 65 gone through cancer and treatments, been an avid runnner for the past 6 years. Ran 69 races when I was 63, tried to run 100 the following year.
    The past 3 weeks I finished 4 races, one on an island one on the east coast, one on a naval base nnear San Francisco and 2 in San Diego.
    I absolulely love doing this
    I do it for the experiennces
    I’m a little out of my comfort zone writing about it
    If you could give me a few pointers on how to get started, I will attemp to write about my adventures. Adventures in running

    Like

    • Steve – First, thank you so much for the kind words, and congratulations on your races! I commend you on getting out of your comfort zone and writing about your running. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying that, “life begins at the end of your comfort zone,” so good for you for being willing to doing something that isn’t necessarily comfortable for you.

      A few pointers on writing about running (or anything, for that matter!). Stories resonate. Race reports that say, “mile 1 was hilly; mile 2 I dropped my water; mile 3 I got hot…” – I know you’ve read these before – they are not particularly engaging for the reader, and all that detail is usually not necessary. What did the run teach you? What happened that was hard or funny or unexpected, and what did you take away from it? These “lessons” are what will resonate with the readers.

      I hope this is helpful. Congratulations again on your running!

      Like

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