I have called myself a runner for the last eight years, but my running for the first four years looked a lot different than my running of the last four years. For a lot of reasons, this is a good thing, but I am definitely not as speedy as I once was, and as I think about my upcoming race this weekend, I am feeling a little defeated before race day is even here. This is all my own doing…I always mentally think I am better and faster than I am. I think this train of thought means that I can go big places with my running, but I still need to be realistic about where I am right now instead of holding myself to previous goals. And in the end, I will still have another awesome race memory. For now, I’m going to highlight my five favorite things about racing!
– Gear –
Clothes, shoes, fuel, belt, headphones, charged devices, bib, safety pins, ponytail, headband…it all needs to be laid out and ready the night before. Race morning usually comes at early o’clock and I like minimal thinking to happen when I roll out of bed. But picking out my outfit is always so fun. Dressing for success and all that. 😉
– Start Line Anticipation –
Getting warmed up, finding my corral, double knotting my shoes, singing the National Anthem, and hearing the gun go off…it’s the little moments leading up to the race that make you feel so excited about being part of the running community.
– Spectators & Signs –
Crowd support is the absolute best. When you are running along and feeling your best, those cheerleaders make you feel like a million bucks, and when you hit a wall, the crowd is still there pushing you along. I love when someone I don’t know reads my bib and calls out my name or cheers my on by the color of my shirt. Even if you mentally know where your friends and family will be along the course, a stranger’s words of encouragement go a long way!
Sarah and I spectated the Marine Corps Marathon last year, and this is the race we will both be at this weekend! I am running the 10K, and Sarah is running her first marathon, along with two of our other friends who are basically marathon pros at this point. 😉 But two of my other running friends and I got together last night to make signs for this weekend and I am so excited to cheer once the 10K is complete!
– Race Photos –
I might be in the minority on this, but I love spotting the race photographer and doing something silly. They can catch you at the worst of moments, but I can’t deny that race photos are some of my favorite. You will always have memories of the happy/sad/hard/awesome times during the race. Plus, putting a smile on your face can totally change your attitude and we have to remember why we’re out there running in the first place…because we love it.
– Digging Deep –
Whether you’re running for fun or trying to get a shiny new PR, there are always moments that feel harder than others. Pushing past mental or physical barriers that you put on yourself is the best feeling, and probably why so many of us continue to run day after day. We all need to feel like we’ve accomplished something, and nothing feels better than leaving it all out there on the race course.
At 7:45 AM on Sunday morning, I’ll be toeing the start line of the Marine Corps 10K and reminding myself of all of these reasons that I love to run and race so much. My running has changed a lot in the last 8 years, so while I won’t be chasing a PR in the 10K distance, I will be chasing a 10K PR for me where I’m at in my running right now…and if I can do that with a smile on my face, then mission accomplished. 🙂