A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Would you keep running if you never got any faster?

on October 18, 2014
In thinking about my goals for the half marathon (which is a day away!!), I found myself really debating setting a time goal. Like I mentioned in my goals post, as busy as things have been lately, I’m really not as set on a specific time for this race as I expected to be back when I started this training plan. It’s been a great training cycle and I’m just looking for a fun “victory lap” to celebrate. That had me wondering if I would ever feel the drive to really PR again, if I’ve already lost that drive this early in my running career? I don’t know that I’ve truly lost the drive to PR – it’s just temporarily misplaced in the midst of other priorities. I’m fairly competitive by nature and I’m sure that the urge to beat myself will come back in time. But what if I’m already running as fast as I’ll ever run?

It’s entirely possible I’ve set my PRs for good. I’m not going to get any younger or lighter. I’m a comfortable and (knock on wood) relatively injury free runner, but I’m not naturally athletic or speedy. With a lot of speed and strength work (which I’ve admittedly never done enough of), I might get a little faster but I might not. Would that be okay? Would I keep running if I’m already as fast as I’ll ever be? Why run races in particular if you’re never going to set a new PR?

Why would I give this up just because I'm slow?

Why would I give this up just because I’m slow?

For me, the answer is a resounding yes and that surprised me and would probably surprise a lot of non-runners. Why keep running races if you’re never going to win and you’re not even going to beat your own best times? The training for this race has been such a huge source of stress relief and distraction this fall, arguably one of the busiest and most stressful of my career, that I could never imagine giving it up. Even this weekend, when I have work and community things to do before and after the race, I’m still so grateful that I get to go run a half marathon in the middle of it all.

Training for a race is a gift of time to myself, a promise that I will get out and run and take care of my body and my mind. If I didn’t have a race on the schedule, that running time would probably fall to the bottom of the to-do list and completely off the list far too often.

Training for the race is a desperately needed distraction in chaotic times! So many times in the last couple of months, when things got overwhelming and my brain got a little fried with science, I’d step back and take a mental break by thinking about training things (where to run my next long run, is my nutrition working, etc). It was such a great little mental vacation! I confess I even started thinking beyond Des Moines, to the Rebel Challenge coming up in January!

Running the race is actually fun! It doesn’t matter if you win. News flash: the overwhelming majority of the 5000+ people racing the Des Moines half marathon aren’t going to win any kind of award. They’re all getting out there anyway, for the camaraderie and the effort and the celebration of movement and I love being out in that community in that moment.

If running races is what it takes to keep me running, then it’s absolutely worth the cost of registration. Running keeps me active, it keeps me off blood pressure medication, it decreases my risk of diabetes and helps keep me from regaining weight. For all of those things, it’s absolutely worth the investment of race fees a few (okay, more than a few judging by my races page) time a year.

If I really get desperate for a new PR, there are all kinds of new distances I’ve never run. 🙂

Would you keep running races if you knew you’d never beat your current times?

Aren't these so cute? I love the Chewbacca (far left)!

Aren’t these so cute? I love the Chewbacca (far left)!

PS Next week I’ll be out of town for the pumpkin auction at O’s school. We’ve gotten one of the pumpkins every year and I really want the Star Wars set (above). Send good bidding vibes to my husband next weekend to remind him it is for a good cause and they’re totally worth it. 🙂

My superhero loving toddler naturally wants these instead.

My superhero loving toddler naturally wants these instead.

One response to “Would you keep running if you never got any faster?

  1. […] In light of my post a few weeks ago wondering what running would be like if I never got faster, I really appreciated the ideas set forward in Miss Zippy’s post this week When Your PRs are […]

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