Saturday, March 24, 2018

A Race I'm Unsure About Running

In my last post I talked about how you don't have to run races to be a runner. You just have to run.

I talked about how once upon a time I loved running races, but lately races just haven't been fun. Racing has begun to feel like a burden and reminds me of all my shortcomings. I said I was going to be more careful when selecting races and choose only the races that I was really excited to run or ones that I could run with friends.

So guess what managed to sneak up on me?

I, like many runners in Chicago, run the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8k every year. It was always a lot of fun with a great course through downtown Chicago, great energy from runners and spectators, and I usually love the 8k distance. I had forgotten that I had signed up for the race this year until I started getting emails with the participant guide and reminders about packet pick up. Now I find myself, the day before the race, sort of dreading it.

Last year, the race wasn't fun for me. In fact, it was pretty terrible. I was planning on running with friends (a sure way to improve on a race day experience), but that didn't happen because the folks I was planning on running with ended up assigned to a corral in wave 1 and I was stuck back in wave 2. My friends were unwilling to move back to run with me, and you aren't allowed to move forward to earlier corrals, so I had to run alone. I also ended up being slower than usual, so what I had hoped would be a PR ended up being far from it (my slowest ever Shamrock Shuffle, in fact). During the race, I couldn't get the negative thoughts out of my head. I was too slow, too fat, I wasn't a real runner, etc, etc. By the time I was finished, I just wanted to go home and never run again.

So here I am, with a bib number that I don't know if I want to wear, debating whether to run or not.

I don't want to be a negative person. I want to be happy and have fun. But you don't always get what you want.

To race or not to race?

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