My boyfriend doesn’t understand why I pay to run. He is very active and works out on the regular, including running, but he does not run races. I get it. I used to say the same thing to my college roommate – “why would you pay to run when you can just go outside and run for free?” But then I started racing. Today I ran my 38th race, which was a 10k run in Burnsville, MN.
I signed up for this race just a few days ago because I am behind on my half marathon training and I needed some motivation (and the race wasn’t very expensive). It was a beautiful morning for a run: 47 degrees when I woke up and only 53 degrees at the finish. Perfect! It’s always hard to determine how to dress for a run when the weather has changed. I wore workout capris and a lightweight long-sleeve black running shirt. Of course I was cold in the beginning while waiting around for the race to start but once I got running and once the sun came out I was quite toasty and realized 1. black was probably not the best choice and 2. short sleeves would’ve been fine. So I made note of this for the next time.
Some thoughts I had during the 10k race:
> This is a great morning for a race, I feel great.
> One mile down, already? That was fast and pretty easy. Sweet.
> (Around mile 2) Ugh, I should’ve worn my sunglasses, that sun is bright.
> I do not enjoy running on the shoulder of a road – the slight slant does not make my left knee happy. Should I run over on the sidewalk? No one else is running on the sidewalk… I’ll just continue.
> Halfway done, woohoo! Keep trucking.
> Uh oh, why’s my stomach making the rumbling?
> Why am I thinking about walking? I know I can run more.
> Why does this feel so hard? (In the words of one of our high school athletes at work, “my legs feel like noodles”)
> How I am ever going to run 10 miles in 2 weeks or 13.1 miles in 5 weeks? Ugh…
> Am I starting to get a blister?
> STOP THINKING, just RUN!
> (Passing the cop that’s stopping traffic) I smile and say thanks. He says “you’re almost there” and “it’s all downhill from here” (I take him literally. It was NOT downhill from there. In fact, there were several uphills right around the corner from him. Not very nice, police officer!)
> (Approaching the 5k walkers who are still walking) This is great, I have run twice as much as them… but should I walk now because I could easily blend in? NO… KEEP RUNNING.
> Almost to the finish, just keep going.
> Keep up with this lady who suddenly decides to pick up the pace… ok, she can have it.
> Glad that is over, but I do feel good!
> Time for food.
For me, the biggest barrier to my running ability is mental. I start long runs thinking “this is going to suck” or “I can’t run this far” when in reality I know physically I can run the distance and more. When I used to run a lot on the treadmill, if I could really get engaged in a TV show I would run without even thinking about it and always felt great. But more often than not, I overthink and that’s what causes me to breakdown – either I stop and walk or I start to run all crazy (on the treadmill) because I’m trying not to run all crazy and I can’t stop thinking about my leg knee and what my left leg is doing… it’s exhausting. Usually once I get a little more than halfway of the distance I am trying to accomplish, that’s when my mental negativity begins to quiet and I finish the run feeling pretty good. If only I could be more confident and quiet that mental Nancy (Negative Nancy) from the beginning.
How cool that 17 miles away from downtown Minneapolis you can see the skyline?
Since I was already out this way, I decided to head over to Einstein Bagels because, why not? And OMG am I glad I did because look what’s back:
I LOVE their pumpkin white chocolate cookies. I discovered them when I lived in Salt Lake City, UT and they quickly became one of my favorite things ever. Since they are a seasonal item I had to get my fix while I could. But the next year I went back super excited for my cookies and they were no longer making them. WHAT?! Not cool. When I asked about them, the workers said they had never heard of them. This is terrible. I even wrote to the company “please bring back the pumpkin cookies, they were the best” but got no response. But now they are BACK! And I am so excited.
For my post-race recovery meal I also had a pumpkin bagel with pumpkin cream cheese, the pumpkin cookie, and a bottle of milk. This has all the key recovery components – carbs, protein, and fluids. And it was delicious!
So to address the title of this post – Why I Pay to Run (Races) or Why I Sign Up/Enjoy Races, here are some of the reasons:
> Motivation! (I can’t NOT finish the distance of the race)
> Inspiration (people of all ages, shapes, etc. are at these races and I love it)
> Encouragement (think big races with spectators and fun signage)
> Camaraderie (misery loves company)
> Fun (this race had a ferris wheel and everything)
> Explore new cities
> T-shirts (let’s be real, this is probably #1)
> Swag bags
Check out the SWAG I got with this race! Water bottle, drawstring bag, koozie, sunglasses, coupons, KIND bar, pizza cutter (!), pen, paper, chip clip, one of those non-slick jar opening things (!) EEK! Yes!
Some races are better than others and it’s hit or miss on the look, feel, and fit of the shirts but overall I enjoy races. They motivate me to wake up at ridiculous hours of the morning and head to the start line when, otherwise, I would almost ALWAYS choose to sleep. They get me excited about running and the running community just about everywhere I’ve lived is very nice and welcoming. And lastly (for now), I love that before I would normally even be awake on a Saturday morning, I have already logged 13,565 steps on my FitBit, which of course means I started a Daily Showdown challenge with my family last night before I went to bed. 😀