Why race? Why wouldn’t I be happy with just running? To me, running is like studying for an exam. It lets me see how well I have responded to the training. It gives me more goals to achieve and provides milestones along the way to something larger. When I race, I know there are so many variables I cannot control – such as the weather or traffic getting to the start – but I can prepare for these factors and have trust in my training.
My first race this year was the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle, held on Sunday, March 21 beginning and ending in Grant Park. This popular race is the largest 8k (4.96 miles) in the world and is known as the official kickoff to racing season in Chicago. I love the Shamrock Shuffle for so many reasons. It is well-organized and fun; and it is a flat, fast course perfect to achieve a personal record (PR). You run with athletes who are world-class champions and those who are new to the sport. At 9:00 a.m. that morning, I ran as smart and as best I could. I had a goal in mind and I achieved it. I ran the race in under 40 minutes – a new PR for me! Read a brief race report on my Dailymile profile.
I met with friends after the race to share stories of our individual experiences. Several of my friends achieved personal records or exceeded their goals. We were all very supportive of each other and congratulated our accomplishments with warm hugs and cold beers. Everyone was looking forward to their next “exam”. I enjoyed seeing the combination of competitive nature and camaraderie. It was fun to see what we all have next for our training.
That afternoon, I come home to shower and post my workout on Dailymile. And I also did something I’ve never done after a race. I cried. I don’t know why I did, but I cried! I t might be because when I set my mind and heart to achieve a goal, I thought of the possibilities of what’s to come. This race is a step towards more races on which I plan to do well. It is one race closer to the Chicago Marathon and qualifying for Boston.
Running a race is a great way to test your training, have fun with family, and enjoy some friendly competition with friends. Plus, you get great shirts and goody bags! We are fortunate to live in a large city that hosts so many races every weekend during the next several months. I encourage you to check Web sites such as Active, CARA, and Chicago Events to find a race in the Chicagoland area at nearly any distance to fit your schedule.
Go ahead and test yourself. You might be surprised and get totally hooked on running races. Or you might surprise yourself by crying tears of joy after knowing you did the best you could.