Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Further musings on the race and racing

Some thoughts on "racing"
So I did my first real race. And it was good--definitely an experience I'm glad I did! It was an exciting event to be a part of, and mostly I was just happy that my mom got to see me run. Dan sees me come home sweaty from my runs multiple times a week, but my mom hasn't really seen me run since I've only gotten into it in the past year. I was excited to show her what I had been working towards and help her understand the whole scene.

I completely failed to get a picture of me with my mom on
 race day, so you get to see this one again.
But beyond that...I don't know. I haven't really told my whole former-chubster-gets-into-running tale on the blog yet (coming soonish!), so it is a little hard to explain. I had built up running a race as such an EVENT in my mind. That all the sudden I would feel like a real runner and would be part of the ranks of all those effortless track girls. Obviously this didn't happen. Even though I finished, and in what felt like a respectable time, it didn't make me feel more authentic or more like I belonged in the running world. I just felt like...okay, I did my weekly long run with some other people this week. Not anything life changing.

I also expected to get the "racing bug" that everyone talks about. And that didn't really happen either...I came home and was excited to have finished but just kind of moved on to the next thing mentally. I did start tossing the idea of signing up for a 5k around in my mind because I'm interested in testing my speed a bit. I got as far as looking up some local races, but I couldn't commit to the idea of putting money down for one. I just kept returning to the notion of why pay money for this when I get just as much out of running solo. 

That all being said...signing up for the race is 100% what caused me to follow through with my training for the 10k and is what helped me push myself past that 3-4 mile hump. If I hadn't made a public declaration (here and in real life) that I was doing a 10k, I would have felt comfortable slacking on my training or bailing on the race. So I am glad I did it for that reason, and would recommend that others struggling with motivation do the same. I'll probably sign up for another race for the same reason in the future--I'm toying with the idea of a 10 miler in 2013. 

But I discovered that I'm not one of those people that will be looking for a race to do every month--not interested in racing just for the sake of doing a race. Which a little bit surprised me! I'm fairly competitive, and I generally like being able to measure my progress and to evaluate myself against external benchmarks. But somehow running has become more personal than that. Racing too much and constantly trying to beat my times would somehow feeling like I'm tainting it? Turning this truly relaxing and rewarding activity that is all mine into another thing to try and succeed at and that others can use to measure progress. There is something particularly comforting in doing it without external pressures and just for me. 

Thoughts on the MCM 10k
My thoughts can be pretty much summarized in what I said to Dan after the fact: "I don't want to do another race where I'm running the sideshow event to the main race." The 10k is clearly an afterthought on MCM weekend--as it should be, seeing as the marathon had about 4 times as many finishers. But that made being in the 10k kind of sucky. Not enough portapotties, not enough (or really much at all) crowd interest, shitty course, eagerness to clear us out to make way for the marathoners...meh. If I'm going to shell out the cash to run a race (and deal with the crowds of a major race vs. a local one), I'd rather feel like I'm part of the actual event, not just the warm up act. But now I know!

Also, our shirts were hideous. Cotton long sleeves with mock turtleneck. Mock turtleneck! Why. At the least the medals were awesome! 

Man, nothing since the 10k. The first couple of days I was stilted by Hurricane Sandy* and the corresponding laziness of being cooped up inside and working from home. And yesterday I started to develop a cold! It seems to be peaking today, so I'm hoping it clears up for the most part by the weekend. I'd like to get a run in. 

*My thoughts are with everyone re: Hurricane Sandy, of course. I feel like that should go without saying, but I also feel like I'm not allowed to mention Sandy without saying that. So, there you go. Hope everyone is safe!

Today's eats
I made that kale/apple/red onion Real Simple recipe (sans bacon) again last night. Just a really tasty side that reheats well! I ate it with a grilled cheese (with pickles) tonight for dinner--that grilled cheese totally hit the spot. Followed by lots of Milk Duds and Whoppers. Best candies ever that little kids seem to hate. Oops. More for me. 
Grilled cheese and pickles. Sandwich of champions.

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