Thursday, August 18, 2011

Racing vs. Running

An old high school acquaintance of mine and fellow runner just had an article published in the New York Times today.

I like the article because it parallels some of my own experiences in running.  She writes about minor running successes she experienced, such as placing in her age group at local 5K's, and of her desire to improve on these successes.  She trained for her first marathon with the goal of qualifying for Boston.

So far, I'm right there with her.  I've won my age group a few times, and I've even won a few races. In my 6th marathon, I actually did qualify for Boston.

Before she was able to run that marathon, though, she injured herself and had to drop out.  She didn't want to give up running, though, so she continued to register for races, and went from racing them to just running them.  She drank beer during some races, talked with fellow runners, and didn't worry about the numbers displayed on her Garmin.

This is where we part ways.  I get the notion of not stressing about times and slowing down to enjoy the whole race atmosphere.  I do get it.  I'm just not at that point myself.  As long as I'm still injury free, I'll worry about savoring the race atmosphere until after the race is over and I'm passed out on the ground.  During the race, however, I still want to push my body to its limits.  I want to see how fast I can really go.  I want to see what I'm made of.  

Don't we all?

My only issue with the article is that it was clearly her injury that inspired her to slow down and appreciate running for the sake of running, not a speedy heifer on the side of a race course.  The title of the article, then, is just a shrewd attempt to lure wayward internet surfers into the article, which is fair enough, but strikes me as poor writing when it has nothing to do with the rest of the article. 

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