Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Rediscovering the fun in racing

Connor (number eight) cheers for his teammates at last night's baseball game.

With a group of friends, I rehashed Saturday's 5K race with Caleb. After imparting a few details, I finally said, "I forgot that races could be so (pause) enjoyable."

My friends erupted into laughter.

I couldn't stifle my own giggles.  I knew my statement sounded absurd.  Why would I near 40-something, non-elite runner subject herself to numerous races if she didn't find them enjoyable?  

In post-races photo sent to my email, I look anything but happy.  The typical shot features me scowling, hunched over, and an inch-away-from death.  (To add insult to injury, the runners next to me in those photos always seem to be beaming and hardly breaking a sweat!)  Those pictures certainly don't depict a woman gleefully passing time.

In my normal runs, speed is king.  I can rattle off my PR as quickly as my social security number.  That figure dangles over my head, directs my strides, and impacts my post-race temperament.  While the chase is not always easy, in some weird way it is enjoyable.  Silly, I know.

But Saturday's race reminded me that races can be fun, really fun.  During that race, I chatted with fellow runners.  We carried on extended conversations about baseball teams and summer plans.  I gazed at the scenery and waved at the race personnel directing traffic.  We stopped to take a water break.

As we neared Saturday's finish line, another mom runner and her son strode along side us.  The running mom pulled out her iphone and blared the "We are the champions" tune.  She said to me, "This will get him moving.  He's so embarrassed to be by me now, he'll race to the finish line."  Sure enough, her son blew past us both and sprinted to the end.  We both erupted into hysterics.


That's certainly something I haven't experience during a race as of late.  It felt good.  It was fun.  I forgot.

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