Why We Race Part 7

At the end of 2010, as people planned and posted their race schedules for 2011, I couldn’t help wondering where all these people got their motivation. I have goals and experiences that I look towards in the coming year, but somehow racing just wasn’t that important. Why?
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?

Part 1 was my introduction, while Part 2 , Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, and Part 6 began the sharing of people’s responses. Here, in order of receipt, is Part 7 of the responses:

Barbara, Trying A Tri:

Why do I race?
I absolutely thrive on the competition, not just with other people but within myself. I am always striving to better my last time – there is nothing better than knowing I have given my all and come out with a PB. I also love searching for my next goal to train towards and know that I will one day achieve. I guess its kind of like a cycle – dream, train, achieve (only to do it all again) WHAT COULD BE BETTER.
Why am I willing to pay for a race?
 Well firstly, not many things are for free – especially races. But aside from that I don’t really see the dollar sign – I focus more on the fact that I really want to do that race – for many different reasons, whether it be the meaning behind the race, the area, if friends are going – because I CAN. I am really lucky I have a supportive husband and family who tolerate my craziness and who are willing to help to help me succeed in everything I do.
My motivators?
It’s really quite simple, because 2 yrs ago I couldn’t and now I can. Because 2 yrs ago I was sick and in a really bad place and now I am healthy and stronger than I have ever been in my whole life. Because 2yrs ago I thought I had lost all sense of who I was and now I am ME again. I also race because I want to show my kids that anything is possible. It doesn’t matter how old you are – you can do anything so long as you set your mind to it. I hope I have become a positive role model for them.

Adam, The Boring Runner:

I think that there are a number of reasons to run actual races (I run only road races).
I think a lot of it comes down to goals.  Or, maybe more accurately the bookends that I put on each of my training cycles.  I use formalized races to measure my level of training success.  The fee is a small price to pay for an objective third party to help me test my overall fitness.  I can and do conduct time trials of my fitness, but there is something special about shelling out money.  Probably a placebo effect.
Also, I generally run alone, and running races is one of the few times when I can run with a very large group of people with a common goal.  Similar to the blogging community, within the race community, friends come easy and relationships sometimes last a very long time.  I have met a number of people whose names I still remember who helped me get through the very tough miles of a race.  Additionally, I’ve met up with a number of blogger friends at races and bonded with them over the very common goal of traversing the same 10K, 13.1, or 26.2.

Jason, Cook Train Eat Race:

Racing to me is a the measuring stick.  It shows me how my training has been going.  It shows me how much further along or short I am compared to previous races.  It also helps me to measure myself against my peers.  I am a very competitive person and racing allows me to prove that I am prepared against those in the race as well as against myself.
As a numbers person I am capable of seeing the numbers (data) and say that this discipline improved and this one lagged.  I can then adjust my training to focus on that area and get better there.
I also love the camaraderie of race day.  We are all lined up looking to do our best and be better than the person next to us but once it is all said and done we have conversations, hugs, high-fives and smiles with those around us.  Training can be lonely but come race day there are others around you and the community is there for support.
That said, I do seem to plan races in random cities (more directly in alignment with my 50 states goal).  This is probably a result of my love for travel and the fact that I have frequent flier points which makes it relatively affordable.
Oh, and the medals……I love the medals…..

Allie, That Girl Is A Running Fool:

I think I race because to me spending money is the ultimate commitment. I love money and if I pay for a race it pretty much guarantees that I will do it, otherwise it was a waste of money. 

I also like to be out there with other people that share the same passion for running as I do, I think this part is especially meaningful for me since I have yet to meet a real running buddy. Maybe it wouldn’t be so important to me if I had friends in real life that ran. 

A marathon is a whole other beast, I will run a marathon some day (not this month since I got hurt) and the money will not matter. I will run a marathon to be able to say I did it, to prove to myself that I can do it and of course so I can display a really nice medal on my wall for everyone to see. 🙂

Stay tuned for Part 8!

12 thoughts on “Why We Race Part 7

  1. And just when I think we are nearing the end….Part 8 Coming Soon.

    Please send out more questions to more bloggers to keep this going. Let's get 52 Why I Race reports for 52 weeks of the year……you can do it!

  2. will you be copying and binding hardcover books of all installments?

    i will be emailing mine soon…hopefully the series will keep going…

    it's actually something i think about during long runs…quite the question during those teen miles to contemplate… 🙂

  3. How do we know if we responded? Is there a cheat sheet somewhere? It is so interesting to learn what makes people do what they do… like why they race. I have really enjoyed this series 🙂

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