Bring back that Racing Feeling.
When is the last time you did a race? Last week? Last year? 2 years ago?
Two weeks ago I ran my first race in 5 years. That’s right - 5 years. It was awesome.
In 2011, I competed in and finished the Best Ranger Competition - one of the most brutal physical and mental tests for an athlete on the planet. After the competition, I did not really have much desire to do any races - not even a local 5k.
In the fall of 2012, I raced the Miami 70.3 and it was a neat experience. I trained for the race, but was not super motivated about grinding through a 4-5 hour affair down in Miami. I finished the race and felt okay the next day, but competing in Miami 70.3 confirmed for me that I had lost that Racing Feeling. Big time. I did not have a real desire to train hard for even a short race. I really wasn’t sure what it was - but I wasn’t interested.
For 5 years I did not do a single race. The closest thing to a race that I came to each year was completing my annual requirement for the Army Physical Fitness Test. That was good enough for me. I had training goals and met several of them over the years, but none of them involved entering a race and competing. I’m not really sure of the reason either. It could have been demanding academic requirements, deployments, a grinding work schedule, or just a desire to relax on Saturday mornings. I don’t think there is one specific reason I can point to for not racing - I just didn’t really feel like it.
This summer that began to change. I started to get back that Racing Feeling. As I started to put more miles on this summer, the Racing Feeling started to creep back into my bones. I thought - hey, let’s see what races are available in Virginia Beach this summer/fall. After some searching, I found a couple of races that fit the bill. I signed up, and two weeks ago - I raced. It felt great to get back out there and compete - even if it was a small race.
I trained hard for the race and the result was better than I expected. I ran a 9.1 mile race (a 9/11 memorial race) in under 70 minutes. 69:45 to be exact. Not too shabby for a 225 pound dude. My goal was 72 minutes, which I easily beat.
The next race? A half-marathon in a couple of weeks. I’m excited. The miles continue to pile up and I continue to improve each week.
If it’s been a while since you’ve raced - don’t sweat it. If the desire isn’t there, and it’s tough to force it, then just keep training without racing. There’s nothing wrong with that. Your personal life, work life or other commitments may outweigh any desire to do a race right now - and that’s perfectly fine. The feeling will return. It might not return in the form of storming through marathons like you used to as a young man or woman - but it will return. Keep your ear to the ground though because that feeling will return and when it does, you’ll be ready to pounce on it and attack your next race with the same joy and enthusiasm that you did when you were younger.
I’ll report back next month with my half-marathon results.
Train hard. Train smart.
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I’m a fitness and nutrition coach and a mountain-bike skills instructor. I decided to take all the things I love and start a business called TrailWorks. In a sentence, what I do is teach athletes to ride virtually anything by pairing riding technique with efficient fitness training. For my venture I sought out new and old sponsors to help jumpstart and enhance my rider’s experience.
I had personally used BodyHealth’s PerfectAmino for about a year and a half before I decided it was a product I did not want to train without. It had become my recovery weapon of choice. I wrote to them firing off my out-of-the-box proposal.
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These are, of course, just a few examples but think you get it. In its simplest terms we get something back for what we do that in advance we believe will enrich our lives.
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