I was going to run in a 5K Independence Day race and decided not to run the day before. Also I was going to run in a 5K trail race on Memorial Day weekend and half-marathon a couple of weeks ago. I pulled out of them as well for various reasons or excuses.
I didn’t pull out of these races because I was injured, because I have run more consistently this year than I have in many, many years. So that isn’t the reason.
Cost – might be part of the reason, but not totally. Like they say if you really want to do something badly enough you will find a way. If I really wanted to run in races I would find a way to afford the entry fees.
I like challenge of racing and I enjoy the camaraderie of being around other runners. Yet I decided to not run in each one of those races and haven’t raced very often, since 1986.
This is one of those things that I have always wondered about – why I didn’t race more or seemed to find reasons not to run, instead of finding reasons to run in races.
Since I have started running more longer runs it has given me time to think and this is one of the things I have thought about a lot. Yesterday, on my 8.0 miler, I think that I have finally figured out the “why” and hopefully that is a step to the solving the problem.
The real reason
Is the ultra-competitive side of me that takes racing far too seriously.
Yeah I am one of those people who gets so worked up before a race, that I feel like puking, have to push myself to stay and not get in my car and drive off. This is much more than pre-race “jitters” and looking back, it is why I quit racing back in the 80’s and mostly just ran for personal pleasure for so many years. I didn’t want to deal with my pre-race “anxiety” that affects me.
In the three races I have run this year, I experienced the “need” to leave as soon as I finished registering. Even though I didn’t leave – I really, really wanted to get out of there and do almost anything but stick around for those races. I persevered and I was able to get to the start of the races and once the gun went off – I had a lot of fun, got to meet a lot of great people, but looking back, it was still damn hard to get to the starting line of each one of those races.
The reality is that
It is time to face my anxiety about running races, figure out some strategies to help me to register and then go to the race. If I can do this it will allow me to start enjoying a big part of the social side of running (which I believe that racing is a big part of), that I have missed out on for so many years.
Part of the Solution
I am going to run the Bond Brook Trail 5K Race series, which are a low-key, lower-cost series of races, which I plan to run all but one them over the course of the next couple of months. Then on 8/11, I am going run the Doc and Mardie Brown 5K in Waterville. After that I would like to run one road race per month through November.
Notice I say I am doing, not planning to do these races. There is a huge difference.
Sometimes you need know what the problem is, before you can move forward towards resolving it.
Hopefully, I have figured it out.
Does anyone else out there feel this way about racing? What did you do to overcome it?