Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Today, I'm supposed to race.

I say "supposed to," because I've pretty much decided I'm not taking part in the actual event.  Yes,  I know that sounds bad, but I do have my reasons.

First, I signed up for this race as a way to stay motivated to run through October, November and December.  I'm pretty confident that as someone new to this running thing, it would be too easy to hibernate through the winter months rather than getting out and actually running - whether at the gym or in the great outdoors.  That was my sole purpose for signing up.  Well, and I got a running jacket out of the deal.  Mission: Accomplished.

Second, I really wasn't thinking about the logistics.  I live outside of a large city.  I work downtown and the office is open for a half day today, which means at noon I go home.  Outside of the city and it's about an hour commute.  The last thing I really want to do is trek all the way back downtown where the race is.  Along with everyone else heading downtown for the NYE festivities.  To run in the cold, snow and potentially ice, ahhhh the weather of Southern Alberta.

Third, the race is not actually timed.  I mean, sure, they'll have the big clocks up which will give me a gun time, but I know how events like this work, I know I'll place myself toward the back at which point the gun time will make me sad when I cross the finish line.  Not that I'm expecting a PB on ice and snow, but it'd be nice to have a shot at seeing a lower time for my finish.  And maybe I just prefer a timed race because I do get that feedback and can see how my running has improved.  Officially.  Because, you know, that treadmill is a lying liar who lies...

Fourth, race reports I have read indicate that the route is shorter than the expected 5K.  Yes, this gives me a better shot at seeing a great number on the clock at the end, but it also gives me the knowledge (with my trusty Garmin to confirm) that the actual number means nothing if the course does measure short.  Boo-urns, short course race, boo-urns.

Fifth, races are frustrating.  I place myself toward the back of the pack every time.  I mean, I'll be AT THE BACK. I  wait until just before the event begins then put myself at the end of the line.  Then others do the same and put themselves behind me.  And then the race starts and I'm dodging walkers, strollers and small children while trying to stay out of the way of the faster runners who put themselves at the back of the pack.  I then get passed by walkers which, frankly, is not a great feeling.

From what I've said above, you probably get the feeling that I hate races - I do not.  A well-organized, timed event is a pleasure to run, even in bad weather and with the start line frustrations.  And while it sucks to be near last, having official times that I can compare from race to race is motivating and gives me some benchmarks for improvement.  There are many benefits to running races.

For me, this race just doesn't hold those benefits.

BUT.  I can still get that feedback today.  After work, I will be running a 5K, just on my own.  It will be timed and it will be the full 5K.  I'll still get that feedback on actual race time and I'll be able to see if I've improved since my last event in August.

With the added bonus that I can do it in the afternoon and have the evening free to do NYE-type things.  And I won't be angry, frustrated and feeling defeated.  I hope.

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