Recently my sister asked me to do a race with her the first weekend of June. I thought to myself as she said “with me,” “Does she mean run the ENTIRE race with her or just run the same race she is doing?” You might be wondering why would it matter, oh but it does!! It matter’s a lot to me.
As she was describing the race and how the owner of the local hamburger joint she went into while we hung out by the lake, told her the nitty gritty on the race, I was thinking “…it’s not really fun if I can’t race it.” She kept saying it would be fun and “The boys (meaning our hubbies) can watch the kids for us.” She named the price, the distance, and the course. And finally, as if this would reel me in for good, she said “There’s prizes for the overall finishers and the overall age group finishers.” She then threw in the “I’ll do the 5k and I am assuming you’d rather do the 10K.”
It’s as if she knew I wouldn’t consider the race if I had to run the entire distance with her. She knew I would be more tempted to say yes with there being prizes for the top finishers. See for me races are fun, and for her races are fun, but we have a different idea of “fun.”
My sister knows that it wouldn’t be a “fun” race for me if I was stuck running with someone who wasn’t serious about their time. My competitive spirit makes it hard for me not to aim for gold or at least try to run for it. My competitive spirit makes it hard for me not to constantly be chasing a PR.
For some there are “fun” races and then there are competitive races. My sister likes to do races for fun. To just be with other runners, enjoying the race and the presence of the other racers. Other times she’ll take a race “more seriously.” For me, races are viewed differently. I don’t divide “fun” races and competitive races. My races are always competitive races. Maybe it’s a personality difference.
Take the example of my husband and I’s difference in training. Lately he hasn’t taken his training as seriously, skipping workouts nearly every week, sometimes skipping entire weeks. It drives me nuts!! I shouldn’t care, because he’s the one racing his own race and I have my own race to run, but I do.
My training is followed to a tee!! Some days have to be cut short, but then I just switch days. I pour hours into training, so come race day I can have my “fun.” He says “I just run races for fun.” Many times family will ask me “Can’t you just race for fun?” I always reply “I always race for fun. It’s why I race, because it’s fun.”
Here in lies the difference: my idea of fun is taking racing seriously. If I show up to a race under prepared and under trained, the race wouldn’t be fun for me. I would be miserable and hurting more than I should be because of my lack of training. For me, racing is fun when it’s taken seriously. I go in with the mindset, “I paid good money for this race. I am not going to waste it.”
So, yes I do race for “fun.” Fun for me is being competitive and going for podium finishes. Fun for me is pushing my limits and getting a new PR. As much as it irks me that my sister and husband are sometimes under trained for races, I have to let it go. It probably irks them just as much that everything I do is taken so seriously.
I tried twice to race with my sister. To do a “fun” race. It was a 50k, both times, and by the end of the race we both wanted to pull each other’s hair out. Why? Well her idea of a “fun” race was taking it easy, drinking Pepsi at the aid stations, taking breaks and “enjoying nature.” I promised her husband I wouldn’t leave her since her longest training run was only 3 miles!! Yes, you read that right, she only ran as far as 3 miles before her first 50k in training.
My idea of a “fun” race was running until it hurt, and then running some more. Was powering up the hills, racing through the meadows, and trying to beat as many guys as I possibly could. To me frolicking in the meadows and getting cramps from all the soda wasn’t my idea of “fun.”
I try to explain to my family that it’s not that I have to be serious all the time, it’s that a race is only fun for me when I am competing and trying my best. I don’t know what it is. I feel cheated if I don’t race it, after all it’s a race isn’t it? I feel I have wasted my time and money if I don’t try my best come race day. You only get one shot at each race.
Is it a personality difference, or am I just so crazy obsessed and serious about running that I really can’t “race for fun?” I will argue until my death that a “fun” race is when competing and actually racing it, at least it is for me.
Maybe we’ll just agree to disagree. I’ll let you have your “fun” races, if you let me have my “fun” races. Deal?
Until Next Time Be Whole and Be Fit
What’s you idea of a fun race? Do you ever race for “fun”?