Once again, I’m coming to understand that I’m more of a runner than a racer.
A couple of days ago, I decided that I wasn’t going to do either of the first two races in my race calendar for this year. It’s made me wonder if I should just not race at all this year. Oddly enough, that train of thought brought a sense of relief rather than disappointment. I was surprised.
The back story here is that on Sunday, I decided I wouldn’t do either the Around the Bay 30K on March 27 or the Vancouver Sun Run 10K on April 17. The presenting issue is my training, which hasn’t been going the way I want or need it to. Continuing cold weather, a very busy couple of weeks at work, and a couple of Asperger’s-related meltdowns are behind that. But making the decision to bail also got me thinking (not for the first time) why I race at all.
It’s not as if I’m particularly competitive. I’m not, not even against myself. That is, I’m never very keen on achieving new PRs. Though I’m happy enough when they happen, I’m not motivated enough to work hard for them or to have them as race goals. I don’t enjoy the crowds or noise that inevitably come with organized races. And heavens know I have enough race t-shirts, medals, and finish line photos. I don’t get any sense of camaraderie from showing up at races. I do enjoy saying hello to people I know, but I always arrive alone, run alone, and leave alone. Nothing personal, just the way I am.
Why then, do I register in the first place? Mostly, I think, because I’ve been conditioned to believe that it’s not enough just to run. If you’re serious about running, the common wisdom goes, of course you’re going to race. That’s where the challenges are, that’s where the validation is, that’s where it all comes together.
Doesn’t work that way for me. I don’t entirely know why.
Anyway, for the time being I’m back to “just running.” Not better, not worse, than racing. Just the way I’m made, I think.