Don't like to Race? That Doesn't Make You Less of a Runner!

Hello!  I hope you are all having a wonderful, relaxing Memorial Day weekend.  Summer is almost here!

This week I was able to incorporate some faster running again in the form of four miles at marathon pace on Tuesday, and six cut down miles in the middle of a 14 miler yesterday, starting at 7:30 and working down to 7:10.  My actual splits are below.  Yep, first mile too fast. Thankfully I got ahold of the pacing as the run went on.  I'm still not back to my normal mileage post-Boston and to be perfectly honest I'm not loving it.  I feel like I'm losing my aerobic engine but am trying to focus on the fact I'll be starting to train for the Indy Monumental marathon soon enough, and I'll get back to my mileage happy place.

What I really wanted to talk about today was racing.  I have shared before that races can really mess with my head.  A few months ago, I decided the only way to get past it was to race more, so I went online and looked for some races to add to my calendar.  However, the idea of actually doing this didn't excite me.  Currently, I race two marathons per year, and if I can, I like to race a half marathon four to five weeks out from my marathons.  So that's a grand total of four races per year. Whenever I scroll through Instagram, I see the runners I like to follow racing left and right.  And they look really happy about it!  So this sets off a bout of worrying:  how can I build my blog/coaching business/get over being freaked out by races on my measly four races per year? Am I not a "real" runner because I don't race every other weekend?  

Recently an athlete that I coach said she currently had no goal race on the horizon and wasn't really wanting one right now, and she hoped that was "ok" with me.  My first thought was, "Heck yes, that is ok, because I am right there with you!"  She likes to train hard and work on getting fitter and faster.  She just likes to run.  What I love about training for a race is the training, not the actual race.  I like the work outs, the easy runs, the long runs.  The process.    At this point in my life, my children are 12 and 10 years old.  Our weekends are filled with their activities, and I love this.  Before I know it, this chapter will be over.  Right now, a weekend race is bit of a logistical battle in terms of finding one that doesn't conflict with the family calendar, and when I do find one of those rare races, I end up wishing I was hanging out with them.  I love getting up early every morning before anyone else is awake, getting in my run, and enjoying the rest of the day with my family.  When my kids are grown, I will have a lot of time to increase my racing frequency if I choose to do so.  And I'm perfectly happy to spend the money that is not going toward race fees on running shoes!

My point in all of this is:  being a runner is not synonymous with racing.  Running zero races or 30 races per year does not make you less or more of a runner.  If you like to race frequently and rack up that hardware and build a sweet race shirt collection, high five to you! Same goes with mileage:  running 80 miles per week does not get you a shinier badge than the person who runs ten miles per week.  We are runners because we get out on the pavement, the trails, or the treadmill to do what we love.  So no more pressure!  Do what you love and the way you love to do it.  I'll run the races that I am excited to race and that work with my schedule.  They'll probably still freak me out but hey, I'm a work in progress. 

Congrats to all of the Bayshore Marathon runners!  I really missed not being a part of the festivities this year.  Below is a picture from last year's race, an unbelievably warm and humid day in northern Michigan.  I was 12th overall woman last year and hope I can crack the top ten next year! 

My support crew!

My support crew!