Why We Race Part 3

Several weeks ago, I posted Part 1 of Why Do We Race, followed by Part 2.  I emailed a wide-ranging group of blogging buddies and sent out a general bulletin on the Endurance Athlete Project asking some simple questions:

Why do you race?

Why are you willing to pay to run on public streets or trails, sometimes paying large amounts for travel and accommodations?

Why are you willing to plan a race around a particular weekend?

What ARE your motivators to race?

As mentioned, I received a variety of responses and wanted to start sharing them with you. In order of receipt, here is the second group:

Amanda, Runninghood: Good questions.  Originally, I raced because I was on a cross country and track team.  I raced because it was my way of paying for college and doing my “job”.  I hated it really…always sick to my stomach and nervous about how I’d do or what I was “expected” to do.  Because of the pressure and nerves, I never really pushed past my personal barriers.  I could never run like I knew I had the potential to run. More often than not, I was throwing up and crying because of too many nerves to “perform” the way others thought I should.

 After college I began to run for ME.  I ran because I loved the feeling it gave me.  Eventually I started racing again but instead of racing against others or for a team, I raced only against myself and for myself.  My times were the best they had ever been and I finally felt what it was like to be in a zone.  I felt an ease to running that I had never felt before and I discovered that I was better than I ever realized I would be.  I ran my first marathon not knowing what the Boston Marathon was or even having an expectation for a time….my only goal was to finish and have fun.  When I ran a 3:22, I had people telling me that I qualified for Boston.  Boston?  why not.  Now that I am trying to get back in to racing again after kids and a serious injury, I realize what I had then and how I took it all for granted.  I hope to run again like that or even better.  So now, I race because it gives me a personal goal to work towards.  It gives me structure in my life and I feel that it makes me a stronger person.  Working towards a racing goal does this for me:
*  Allows me to do something for just ME.  (this is important right now as a Stay at home mom who misses her career a bit).
*  It is a Model for my kids to show them that we can do anything and keep striving to conquer big goals and work on improving ourself.  
*  Allows me to live a healthy lifestyle
*  When I am training and running, I am more focused on believing in the reality of my other dreams in life.
*  Mood Booster.
*  Personal Satisfaction of knowing that I’m Mentally and Physically strong and doing something only a small percentage of the population can and do do.  
*  OH, another big motivator is VANITY….gotta say that racing and training helps me stay in awesome shape and have a great body.  Love the way my buns look in my favorite jeans when I’m in training.  🙂  Hey, that’s a big reason why many many women race….having a nice ass.  🙂 
Jeff, Dangle the Carrot: The reason I race is because a race is a carrot on a string in front of my face.  That carrot forces me to chase it in the form of training and I love how I look and how I feel when I am training hard.  So essentially I race for the lifestyle that accompanies racing!
AND maybe more importantly: it is socially acceptable in this community to wear full body lycra in public!  
Kate, SuperKate:  I’m certainly not racing to win, though it would be nice.  Somehow, running in a race makes it all official.  Our money is always tight, so paying for a race is a strong motivator for me.  If I’ve paid for it, that’s a commitment, and once I’ve committed to doing something, it’s that much easier to get myself to train.  I think there’s an excitement to racing that isn’t there in training.  I’m coming to enjoy running, but I don’t LOVE it.  A race gives me a reason to run.  Racing takes me new places (or forces me to see familiar places in a new way) and introduces me to new people…or lets me see people I already know in new ways. 

I haven’t travelled more than about an hour for a race, so I haven’t put big money into travel or accommodations and can’t speak to that from experience.  I think all of the above still stands, though.  New places, new faces.  I love to travel, so travel + competition would be a real bonus.

I love the running/multisport community, and being at a race is a way to physically be a part of that in addition to the virtual communities we’ve built through different websites and blogs.

More to come: Be on the look out for Part 4!

25 thoughts on “Why We Race Part 3

  1. I'm with Kate, I like having something to train for, and I'm realistic about it, I know I'm not going to win, but I still try hard : )

  2. The Carrot man misnamed his blog. He should be “Chasing the Rabbit”. When you see him in person you can tell he is a greyhound just waiting for the gun to go off.
    5'8″ or so and 150#? What's with that??
    Fun posts, thanks

  3. I have enjoyed this series of posts and have pondered this question myself. It's so much more complex than most non-runners would think. Fitness was the initial motivating factor but now it's so much more. Running fills an emotional/spiritual and mental place that I hadn't even known existed. There's something about pushing your body to the limits (and surviving!) that has shaped confidence and personal growth.

    For me, as someone who lived much of my life as an obese, depressed, “I can't do anything” type of person, running gave me the gift of knowing,”if I can do this, I can do anything.”

  4. i like this series a bunch and it gets my little brain thinking. i don't have any good answers as to why i race so i'm fascinated to read other admissions. good stuff. 🙂

  5. Yay! Thanks Kovas… very interesting. What I love most is that although there are many similarities, everyone has their own personal reasons and it all works. Now if we could only get politicians and religious leaders to do the same…

  6. So funny seeing my mug on the blog roll…I was confused for about 30 seconds thinking that I didn't write a post about why I race and then realized that it was you and you were including me in your blog. Thanks Kovas. This is great. 🙂 I love reading what everyone has to say!

  7. and funny to me to see that you used my entire full name…I really should use a different e-mail account on my blog for privacy reasons. 😉 I totally forget that it has my full name listed. The person who opened that account for me in college did that and so now everyone who e-mails me knows my full name. hmmmm……:)

  8. I am loving this series. I love all the difference reasons why people pay money to lace up and run. Even in my small group of local running friends everyone has different reasons. It's cool that so many different things can bond us together for one common goal: to run.

  9. This is a fun read! Thanks for breaking it into bite-size segments so that my currently blog-fried brain can handle it (and so my wee ones don't go nuts while I am reading a long post)

  10. Great series Kovas. I also race for something to look forward to and prepare for. I also “race” to look good in my jeans, who doesn't want a nice ass, if I have to do a few hilly runs to achieve it, then so be it.

  11. I really like this series of posts. Everyone's answers on all 3 parts of the posts resonate with me. Above all, I think I run because it gets you in tremendous shape, and the feeling of almost being invincible on runs like you can run forever is the best feeling ever.

    I guess to determine whether something is worth doing I try to ask myself if I would do it if no one is aware of what you are doing. For running I would definitely say yes. But doing races does help to motivate!

  12. I get a lot of what Amanda had to say.

    Thank for introducing me to SuperKate!! New blog to read!!

    Jeff cracked me up! A reason to where lycra…HA!
    That's why I do triathlon – so i can pee on myself and have a “reason” for it 😀

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