Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Racing Season

This is the season that we have all been training for....fall racing season.  By profession I am a librarian and love to read when I can find the time.  I am enamored with my Kindle Fire which I often read while I eat lunch or hang out in the coffee shop.  The latest book I am reading is "Accidental Athlete: A Funny Thing Happened..." by John "Penguin" Bingham.  Some times I can really relate to what he is saying.

But let's back up. Speed has just never been my thing.  I was a swimmer in High school and love the long distance events.   I took up running in college because I was giving lessons to a lady who was a runner and wanted to be a triathlete and in exchanged she gave me running advice and got me started. Did a few community 5k's and 10k's for fun and a challenge but was never the fastest runner.  But I enjoyed the challenge.
Got married, had kids, and let life get in the way so I just never ran again. But when my kids got older and my weight pushed higher, I began to slowly take up running again.  Over the course of 6 years I have worked my way up to the Marathon. Why do I feel compelled to join races? GOALS: I am a goal setter and if I set the goal I will achieve it.

This weekend I participated in my favorite 1/2 marathon, Fort 4 Fitness.  This was 1/2 marathon #5 for me and I was really hoping to improve my time. I have been getting all my runs in and have been improving my cardio/hills/speed.  I started the race out with a friend so that I wouldn't go out too fast (cause I have a tendency to do that and then pay for it in the end).  We were running great, feeling great, and keeping our projected pace.  As my friend began to slow at around mile 8 we made the decision to split up. She had had a more difficult training season .
I really though this was going to be the race where I would PR.  Everything felt so good.  My final time: 2:11
So close to the same time as all the other races (except my first at 2:20) Four other 1/2 marathons all between 2:09 and 2:16.  So should I be running for time?  Should I be setting other intrinsic goals? Will I ever get closer to 2 hours?  Now I am not beating myself up about my time and I don't feel bad.  The whole morning went really well: great shoes, good nutrition, no porta potty stops, and I am even learning to get through the water stations without walking!

"challenges, the achievements, and the satisfaction you get from running can be obtained from any pace" -John Bingham "Accidental Athlete"

"It isn’t pace that separates those who are willing to test themselves from those who are content to be what they are. It isn’t speed that makes a person a better runner or a better racer. It’s that moment when you aren’t sure what you’ll find when you reach deep into your guts and discover there’s something left."

Bingham, John "The Penguin" (2011-09-14). An Accidental Athlete: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Middle Age (pp. 138-140). Ingram Distribution. Kindle Edition.

"I am literally running for my life. I am running because, for me, the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual benefits of running far outweigh the struggles, setbacks, and challenges. I am running because, for me, not running is unthinkable. I am running because I am a runner. It’s that simple."

Bingham, John "The Penguin" (2011-09-14). An Accidental Athlete: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Middle Age (p. 164). Ingram Distribution. Kindle Edition.

"Running has become an act of faith. Running allows me to believe that there is something better out there for me. Running allows me to believe that I can be not just a better runner but also a better person. Running allows me to believe that if I am willing to work hard enough, I can achieve the impossible. Running has taught me that the limits I place on myself are illusions. Through running I am learning not just how to run today but how to run tomorrow. My running is a mirror of my life, and my life is a mirror of my running."

Bingham, John "The Penguin" (2011-09-14). An Accidental Athlete: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Middle Age (pp. 164-166). Ingram Distribution. Kindle Edition.

So now I am 5 days away from running the Chicago Marathon.  Now it is important to remember why I am running this race. I am running this race to challenge myself and be a better person.  Not a faster runner but a better person who runs.
Does running carry over into other areas of your life?  Do you see your race as a goal time or do you see it as a way to be a better person?

So close to my goal with World Vision.  Support the cause at

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