I read occasional articles about being a competitive runner. I have read and tried the tips and advice to get faster. I subscribe to “Runners” magazine.
I have run in dozens of 5ks, a couple of 10ks, a couple of half marathons and various other runs. While I wish I could run faster, I am not a competitor against others. I never have been. Maybe it’s because I am older and I know my limitations. Maybe it’s because I have come a long way and know where I am now.
But…I am a fierce competitor against myself.
I try to beat my previous time. I try to go further than before. I do love pushing myself and lots of times, I surprise myself.
On my first half marathon 1 year ago, at the 10 mile marker….I almost quit. Those people holding up funny and clever signs, pulled me through that tough spot. Those things actually do help runners on long races. I love the crowds and cheerleaders along the way!
Some memorable signs are “There’s only a 5k left”; “Run like you stole some bread”; “Run stranger, run”; “If you think you’re tired, try holding up this sign”; “Your camel toe is sexy”; “I heart man boobs”; “Sweaty cracks make me hot”; “Hurry up I’m cold” “Yeah, I’ll look at your ass after you pass” Many funny signs….I love it! It gave me the strength to push on for 3.1 more miles. I don’t remember those 3 miles but dammit I remember that finish line! HA
I’ve said before that I love talking to other runners. I don’t know many, unfortunately.
I spoke with someone today who is a runner. She is very fit and close to my age. When we do talk occasionally, we talk about running. She loves running. But she has never run an official run of any kind. Now, there is nothing wrong with that but I was surprised by it. I asked her why and she said that she doesn’t like to compete against others. It stresses her. I went through my spiel about it’s a social thing, it’s fun, it’s camaraderie, it’s inspirational…etc. She shrugged that off and said if she ran, she would have to compete and running is not that for her. It’s her own run. Well, I first thought she was a snob of sorts..I still think she is but maybe if I think about it, I can understand her.
It is easy once the race gun goes off to try to sprint ahead of others. I learned that on my first official 5k. Maybe it’s because I know I can’t do that anyway so I keep a fairly constant pace. I analyze the race, the terrain and usually know the routes and for the most part, know my capabilities.
I get something special out of each organized run that I enter. My favorite by far was the “Marine Run” in St. Louis in June of 2011. I ran with hundreds of marines in a drill like formation with the chanting, drill sergeants who were encouraging and yelling at us. An added plus was that sexy and handsome marines were encouraging me. I ran my PR on that 5k. And at the end, I hugged so many marines…I was sweaty and smiling.
Maybe it’s because I’m not a competitor against other racers but I have never analyzed why I run if I don’t want to beat others! I will admit that toward the end of my races, I look around to find women who are near my age to try to beat them so I can place in my age and sex. 🙂 Maybe I do compete.
I have placed in 3 races in my age and sex bracket. I must admit it felt good to collect my little medal or trinket!
What I’m saying is enter a fun run or race! You’ll get a cute t-shirt, it’s usually for a charity and you will be with your own kind….runners! 🙂
Mostly, run your own race in your own head. That’s my advice to new runners. And especially to runners who will never win medals or place in races. Once you run across that finish line, you won.
~Now, go get that cold beer~