My Non-Race Report
I spend quite a bit of time thinking about running and racing. I read many different blogs, review race reports, and pour over countless gear reviews. Over the past year, I feel like I’ve really found my rhythm when it comes to training, and have grown to really appreciate running for the sake of running. I certainly enjoy having race goals, and my previous posts on my upcoming key fall races are a testament to that fact. I think this back-and-forth between simply getting out there and running and “training” for a particular race leaves many runners questioning the direction they want to take. Running is certainly an amazing recreational sport, and something that folks at all ability levels can participate in, so it draws a large following. THe number of races around the country has grown considerably in the past few years, with 5K, 10K, and half marathon distances leading the pack. Clearly the desire to run and race is a part of our culture.
On a personal level, that internal debate weighs heavy on me. There will be days when I head out to run and think about nothing more than the road or trail in front of me. Future races don’t enter my mind, and I’m simply in the moment, enjoying the release of connecting with the world around me. Other days, the only think that gets me out the door is the commitment I’ve made to train for _____ race. Neither approach is better than the other. They are simply two ends of a running spectrum that many runners swing between on a regular basis. That being said, the act of registering to me is a commitment to run a race, if for no other reason than I paid the money!
This internal dialogue came up significantly this past weekend, as I was scheduled to run a 10-mile trail race down in Des Moines. I had registered for the race several months ago because it looked like fun, and I had never explored the trails in question. It wasn’t a part of my training schedule, per say, and certainly had no bearing on the remainder of my fall season, but it still looked like fun. However, life has a way of forcing your hand and changing your schedule whether you want it to or not. The beautiful epicurean and I have had a rather busy past few weeks, and the race itself snuck up on us a bit without even thinking about it. Without thinking about it, we made other plans on Sunday. Oops!
In reality, I could have made arrangements and adjusted my plans in order to get down for the Sunday AM race, and still make it back in time for our other commitments. However, I made the decision that the level of inconvenience just wasn’t worth the extra effort. I enjoy the entire race experience- waiting at the starting line, focusing on the course, and relaxing/celebrating at the finish line with friends afterwards. Rushing to and from this race would have removed those pieces for me. So, we decided it best to just eat the registration costs and chalk it up to yet another life lesson.
I can’t say that walking away from a race I had signed up for was easy, regardless of the circumstances of the distances, but it was still the best decision in the end. I still enjoyed a lovely 13 mile run yesterday, after my first 25 mile training run on Saturday, so I really had nothing to complain about. A few friends picked up our packets for us so we could still keep the arm warmers that came with the registration, so the cost wasn’t all for not. In between, we happened to head out on a kayaking adventure along the Des Moines River to catch carp with our hands…but that’s a story for another time. We may not have run the race, but the weekend (and the decision) left me with the same level of satisfaction, if not more. So, I highly recommend this “race” should you ever find yourself in a position to run it!