“You mean you pay to run?”
It is the inevitable question every time I am about to or have just completed a road race.
I boldly say, “Yes! It is so fun! You should give it a try!”
This is where the reasons why NOT to race begin to pour forth…
- That sounds like torture.
- I can run anywhere. Why would I want to do it with a bunch of other people?
- Races are too early in the morning.
- That seems like a lot of money to me for something that lasts such a short time.
- I can’t run that far.
- I can’t imagine every running that far.
- I have no desire to run that far.
I am sure I had some combination of these in the works before I ever ran a race.
If I am honest, and I try very hard to be, I actually used to mock people who competed in road races. I thought it was a ridiculous idea for someone to put themselves through months of training, only to go out and work their tail off one morning.
That all changed in January 2010, when Christina begged, pleaded, and convinced me to sign up for the Cowtown 5k.
Maybe there was a conspiracy between she and Iron Jess to introduce me to racing’s gateway
drug race… the 5k (3.1 miles).
One problem… I had never walked, let alone run, 3.1 miles without stopping. I did do more walking in the days leading up to the race, but I walked really slowly at first, and it took me about an hour to finish that distance on a treadmill.
Before race day, February 27, I never once completed 3 miles. This made me nervous. That was alot of walking for me at that time.
I approached the race with 3 goals
- Pass someone.
- Finish before someone.
- Finish in under an hour.
It did not matter to me if I finished before an 80 year old… I just did not want to be the last person on that course!
Race days came and I was a bundle of nerves. It was an extremely cold day, which started extremely early.
Iron Jess was running the marathon, which began at 7. Christina was running the 10k, which began at 7:30. My race did not begin until 8, so waking up at 5am left me with a lot of walking around and time tp be nervous.
Chris and I were extremely unprepared for this race, as it was our first. We went out around 8:30 pm on foot in search of bottles of water. Being downtown, the only places open were bars. We ended up going in a bar to buy bottles of water. We were desperate!
In the morning we had no plan for breakfast, though we found a Starbucks for coffee and muffins.
Did I mention it was cold? It was really cold. Really, really cold.
After Jesse and Christina started their races, I had time to peruse the expo, looking at everything and nothing at the same time. I stretched, kinda. I paced. I tried not to be intimidated by the people who clearly knew what they were doing.
I was still new to exercising and my endurance was not enduring yet. But, I did it! I walked all 3.1 miles in 52:35 and I was beaming from ear to ear with pride.
I am not going to say it was an easy accomplishment. It was hard. There was definitely one moment where I asked myself, “Why am I doing this to myself?” But, by the end of the race I knew why I was there and I knew exactly why I would be back for more!
So, here are 10 reasons I think that you should sign up for your first race:
- It is really a lot of fun. The environment surrounding the event is almost electric. There is so much anticipation before the race and excitement after.
- The t-shirt.
- The discounts on running gear at the expo. The day before a larger race there will be an expo various companies and local stores where you can score great prices on clearance running gear (To be worn on another day, because we all know it is a bad idea to wear new shoes to a race or try anything new. If you did not know, you do now.)
- You will meet people who are just like you… whether a new runner or walker, a seasoned pro, or someone just getting into the sport.
- You will be more motivated to walk or run to prepare for your race. YWhen you know the big day is coming, you want to be ready to do your best! Doing your best on race day requires putting in the time on your feet day after day.
- You will be inspired as you come face to face with what the human body is capable of when challenged. It is powerful to see men and women cross finish lines. Sometimes the look on their face or the tears on their cheeks, the signs, and the hugs, maybe even their t-shirt, tells you that they have a story and this race is another part of their journey.
- You will be infected with the racing bug. I am telling you, it is infectious! You will want to race again!
- You will experience a sense of accomplishment and pride. It is about you and your time. The only person your are competing against is yourself!
- You will likely begin to ask yourself, “If I could do this, how much more can I do?”, which generates further incentive and motivation to stay active.
- It is a chance to contribute to a worthy cause. There are small local races all of the time that aid people in your own community, such as the race in Lubbock that I did in August to benefit individuals with epilepsy that can not get government assistance but can not afford their prescription medication either. The larger races generally benefit larger causes, such as Heels and Hills and Him, which I will race September 25.
So now you are all ready to sign up for a race, but where do you find a race to sign up for?
Don’t feel pressure to go out and run the whole race!
There will be other walkers, joggers, walk/joggers, slow runners, and fast runners too. There will be overweight people, moms with strollers, kids, teens, various ages, every ethnicity, etc. Racing is for everyone!
I have a few races coming up in the near future
Please let me know if you will be at any of these races! I would love to say hello and cheer for you!
If you are in DFW, there is a 5k for the Matam Project on October 29th to build a school in Senegal. I am not sure that I will get to run this one, due to training for White Rock, but it is more than a worthy cause!
So, what about you?
If you already race, when is your next race?
If you have never signed up for a race? Will you now? What is stopping you?