I run, therefore I am. I am what?
I’m a runner..
Most people don’t understand my propensity to running OR why I run as much as I do. Runners for the most part understand one another, we understand what makes us get up in the wee hours of the morning to get our run in; when most normal people, most sane people are still asleep; or we understand needing to get home at the end of the day so we can go out and run. We understand the drive that it takes to log the miles we run on a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis. I often get the comment “Wow, I don’t even drive that many miles in a week” OR “Wow, I don’t know how you find the time”. When your a runner, it isn’t about finding the time, it’s as natural to us as, oh I don’t know, taking your daily vitamin, or brushing your teeth. Running is a permanent fixture on our daily calendar. I can’t imagine not running quite honestly.
I’ll be the first to admit that there are different classifications of runners. You have your hobby jogger, your seasonal jogger (you know who I’m talking about, the person who goes out and runs maybe 4 times a year..right before summer, right after Christmas, early spring and once or twice in the fall), and then there is the rest of us. Who are the rest of us? The rest of us are a group of people who run because we love to, we run because we love to challenge ourselves, because it makes us feel alive. Runners are a unique breed of athletes, we run because we can, but mostly we run to see how far we can push ourselves. When you run you only have to answer to yourself, you have no one else to blame for your failures, but yourself.
What? you run how far? Like everyday? but why?
See what I mean? Don’t get me wrong, there are days when I really don’t feel in the mood to run and I’m okay with that. I just don’t run. I know of people who would not possibly think of taking a day off. The mere thought of taking a day off or being forced to take a day off would be enough to leave them paralized in the very thought. Settle down Stimey, you won’t implode if you can’t run for a day or even two days (and gasp! You won’t lose your fitness either)..we runners know who those runners are.
Honestly, I have to laugh at the latter personality. I see it time and time again and I fail to understand that way of thinking. The over driven and over zealous kind. Oh, yes..we have those types in our sport as well. It’s safe to say that we are all not that obessessive about our running. When running starts to define who you are, then I think it’s time to take a step back and figure out what is really lacking in your life.
I run races. Yes..I said it..I run races. I have not necessarily really learned how to race in a race yet. Racing is an art form, racing is something that comes with time, patience, dedication, blood, sweat and yes, tears..sometimes A LOT of tears. Well, tears if your me..sometimes running frustrates me. I’m still trying to figure it all out to be honest. I know I have the dedication and I certainly have the drive, what I do lack, is the ability to race. Many people run races all the time, no biggie honestly…but few really go out and race. Why? I’ll tell you why, because racing hurts, which begs the question, who the hell wants to hurt? Herein lies the problem. I, for one, don’t want to hurt, not on purpose anyway. I mean, who does? Sheesh.
I have a few races earmarked on my race calendar, so I have claimed the right to say “Yeah, I’m in training right now for such and such” (runners are weird, let’s just clear that up right now). The time comes and race day has arrived, am I ready to tow the line? OF COURSE I AM! (except, I’m not)I’m a basket case and it’s clearly visible to my family, who has sacraficed their Saturday of sleeping in to take me to said race. The morning is a frenzy of nerves and short tempers (mine of course). I think, okay, so how many people know I’m racing today? Oh yeah, pretty much everyone, because I can’t keep my damn mouth shut! So, if I decide NOT to race they will all know, so NOT racing is NOT an option. I’ve got to do this.
My races pretty much go like this:
I do my warm-up jog (I really hate the word jog). Most of the time I do this too early and I end up freezing my rear off at the starting line, because I’ve managed to work up a sweat on my jog, and most races inevitably DON’T start on time. I stand there and scope everyone out and try to figure out who the real runners are and who are the ones who are just racing that day for fun, or because someone asked them to. Then I try to find where my family is standing, and if my husband is standing in a spot where he can actually get a good picture of me (most of the time he is not and if he is, I probably won’t like the shot he got of me anyway). I also torture myself by thinking of all the reasons why maybe I am not prepared to run this particular race. The National Anthem gets sung and I get teary eyed. I told you..A LOT of tears. The gun goes off and away we go. I almost always stand too far back in the line and I almost always get stuck in traffic. This is where I take a minute and say..if you do not intend to race or if your a 10mm runner and your standing in a 7mm corral..please, be respectful and get where your supposed to be. ALSO, please don’t run 3 across and gaggle at one another when the rest of us are trying to get through. Some of us are actually trying to run a time goal.
It takes me a little while to settle in, and I usually spend the first couple miles asking myself why the hell I’m doing this. Then I get to the point where I start doubting my pace and walk the line between pushing it harder and being too afraid to push it harder, because, well, I don’t want to be in pain for the next “x” amount of miles. So, I tend to do a LOT of, “Yeah, I can run the whole race as this pace..it’s comfortably hard”, OR ” I’ll just run this pace for a little while and then I’ll drive it home in the last couple/few miles”. Except, I never crank it up. I crank it up at the very, very end and that’s about the extent of my driving it home. Then I will spend the next couple days/weeks hating on myself for not representing myself on the race course. It can be a viscous cycle.
However, this is the year that I put an end to that cycle. This is the year that I make some changes. This is the year, that I have to hurt to prove to myself, that the hurt will only be temporary, but being able to say that I raced my race is life long.
So I say, bring on the hurt.