Well, another Dick Beardsley half marathon has come and gone, and I’m so glad I decided to participate. It was not a pretty scene, but I completed the “race” as a training run (which is a nice way of saying I’m not really in shape but I decided to run anyway).
I have to say, this “not-caring-so-much-about-training-and-just-running-for-the-fun-of-it” strategy sure does do a lot to calm my nerves on race day. Gone are the moments when I feel like I might throw up a little bit just thinking about the start line. Yes, running without “caring” gives me a whole new appreciation for the sport.
So, as the race began on Saturday, I thought about all the reasons I love to run without caring.
First of all, I got to eat whatever I wanted before the race. A great dinner of pasta and wine the night before will now be my standard pre-race meal. And breakfast consisted of the previously avoided cereal and milk – Lucky Charms- (because, duh, they’re lucky) and a delicious cup of coffee. My stomach is not nervous, so, hey, why not!
I didn’t have to worry about making a plan for the race. Where to line up, what my strategy is. Who cares! Just show up in time for the National Anthem, jump in line, and off you go. Stick the ol’ headphones in and let everyone else freak out in the first few miles of the race, breathing heavy and jostling for a good “spot”. Me? Honey badger don’t care, I’m just going at my own pace. Maybe I’ll listen to a slow ballad on my iPod, and run slow. On purpose. Cause I can.
But, then, the old me came creeping back. As I watched others pass me by – friends and strangers alike, I found myself wanting to let them know that my “slowness” was totally intentional. I mean, I could totally kick butt if I wanted to. And I felt myself trying to justify my return to running the half marathon to those around me. A few friendly runners passing me remark things like, “Having a good race today?” or “How’s it going?”. So I smile and say “well, it’s going ok, cause, well, I’m not really trained or anything…so I’m just out here having fun…hahahaha!” But before I even get the first excuse out of the way, the friendly runner has passed me by and moved on to the next one. Oh. I guess they just wanted a “good” or “ok” or something.
So, because a race situation is not conducive to discussing my reasons for not running my strongest, it dawned on me. I need to have a shirt with all the reasons why I’m not having a good race today. Then I don’t have to explain it to people. They will just read it and know. “Oh, I see, she’s not really trying today. Totally makes sense!”
I’m just trying to figure out how to put this on a shirt without it looking too “busy”.
Hi. I’m running today, but this run is not reflective of my capabilities because I’m not at my peak fitness right now, due to a number of reasons including but not limited to: I’m busy, I’m tired, I ate cereal before the race, it’s hot, I’m just running for fun, it’s more of a training pace day, I have a bug bite on my leg that’s been bothering me, I have a number of nagging injuries, I’ve just never recovered after my last marathon/half marathon/10K race, I was up late last night, this isn’t my best racing outfit, I’ve been chafing lately and so I’m going to slow down to stop the friction. But I’ll do better next time.
Maybe with a small font size, it will look OK.
No, running with no care for improvement or performance to be proud of probably isn’t the thing for me. I feel like I hit the “bottom” of my carefree attitude about running. I do have the desire to improve. Because if I’m honest with myself, I do care. I care to be the type of person that’s willing to put in the work for a good performance. But I’m going to do so with a realistic attitude.
So, even though I finished with my second worst half marathon time, I had fun. Particularly the beer and pizza at Zorbaz afterwards.