So, this one is my thoughts on why I like racing, and what provoked it. I was talking to one of my friends the other day who likes to run a lot, and he's fast too. Another friend and I were talking about racing and I asked him if he ever did any races, and he said no, that running is his time to relax, and racing would basically take that away from him. Good point. It's interesting that I like to race because I don't actually like running fast very often. I like long, slow runs where I can talk or think, and just enjoy where I'm at (which is why I hate the treadmill so much), but then I got to thinking... There's something about racing that is so cool. About pushing yourself to a level you didn't think you could achieve.
I'm by no means FAST... I don't win races, and if you put me against a bunch of competitive college-type runners, I wouldn't stand a chance, but I usually come in toward the top of my age group - somewhere between 2nd and 10th place, depending on how many people/how competitive the race is... I usually average around 3rd to 5th place, so I'm a decent runner. It just always amazes me at how fast I CAN push my body compared to my usual runs. I mean, anyone who is my friend on dailymile knows that most of my runs aren't a very fast average. Most fall into the 9 minute to 9:30 minute mile average, while some of the shorter ones are closer to 8-8:30 minute miles, and the longer ones might be close to a ten minute mile average. On those shorter ones I always ask myself "How in the HELL was able I able to keep that pace for 13.1 miles???" My last half marathon was at an 8:05 minute mile average. Okay, that pace itself isn't SUPER fast, but for that distance, it's a decent pace, and for ME to be able to hold it for that long, I was really really surprised. The same goes with shorter distances, like 5ks. The pace I hold for those is usually the same pace I run my longer intervals... Okay, it's a bit slower, but nonetheless, I know when I'm on the treadmill running my 5K pace, I question how I was able to hold that for longer than half a mile. It's such a mental game. I just keep going, keep my eyes on the person in front of me... and after awhile, I start passing people as I start feeling stronger. Around mile 11 or so of a longer race, I feel the temptation to slow down, and I might a little, but not for long. I think that's why I like longer racing, you have to KEEP telling yourself to keep going. And then at the end, I am surprised again that I was able to do what I was able to do. And for those of you who don't know, I do listen to music on most of my training runs, but I DON'T listen to music during races. I like to be able to concentrate on what my body is capable of, and while I might feel the pain a little more, I kinda like it :) Now, if I could keep from getting injured and run the miles that I used to run (which was almost twice of what I run now, thanks to my constant nagging injuries), I bet I could do even better! Hopefully that will come in time.
One thing I do like about the way I run - I'm rarely ever actually training for a specific race, though I do like racing. I AM trying to increase mileage again, because once again, I'm going to attempt to do a marathon, though when that's going to happen, I'm not really sure! It will probably need to be sometime in the spring, or I may be able to do one in the fall (November? I have to see what happens at my new unit!). I'm doing a 13-mile long run this weekend, so there would be plenty of time to get up to a longer long run!
So that was a long elaboration on that thought! Alas, I cannot remember the rest of them... *sigh*... Tonight is going to be the first time I have gone out dancing in quite awhile! I think the last time was when I was home. It's my FIRST time going out here other than going out to dinner. I did go out in Atlanta a month or so ago, but that wasn't in this area with the people I am at my BOLC class with.
Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!