Because I used to be one of those runners who simply enjoyed running for the mere act of what it was...running. One foot in front of the other, lots of interaction with the spectators (and as many fellow racers who would put up with me), and a glass-half-full attitude. Somehow, in 2016, I found myself on a different route (no pun intended)...and kept seeking out PR's (Personal Records). Sure, I still had fun on the race course(s), but my focus had shifted to a more competitive (?) place where it didn't belong. And it didn't feel right...though I desperately tried to fight what didn't come natural.
In reflecting on my triumphs (and defeats) of 2016, I realized I had not been true to myself (for the greater part of the year). As I have said (repeatedly, in recent posts and comments), I am a runner, NOT a racer. I had a lot of fun reaching new (faster) speeds in my training, but I never quite was able to bring that "speed mojo" to the race course. Of course, numerous races happened on unusually hot or humid days (when even the most well-trained Olympian would probably not perform at 100%). There also were several times I experienced unexpected muscle cramping, symptoms of dehydration, as well as improper fueling....all on days when I was really amped for a potential PR. Although I finished most of those races with decent times, none of them were the coveted PR's. Instead of celebrating my "good" finish times, I mourned the numerous elusive PR's that were MIA.
Not good. So not good.
So.....(Can I have drum roll, please?).... I am declaring 2017 to be the year of FUN, and the finish times can kiss my booty.
I spent the greater part of 2016 being a slave to my watch (which was way out of my comfort zone). Typically, I am not co-dependent on such a device. I seldom wear it for training runs (unless I'm doing speed intervals, or drills, etc.). Although I wear it for most races, I use it to monitor my pace at the mile marks, but seldom pay much attention to the constant "stats" flashing across the screen (though I do like to see the final stats/splits AFTER I've finished).
I think I have simply evolved (matured?) in my running. I no longer need the faster finish times to validate my status as a runner. I realize some people need to constantly strive to be faster, but I have moved beyond that. I finally had the epiphany that being a "racer" is not my gig...and I'm flat-out exhausted from posing as one.
Bottom line, I have found that I tend to "race"better when I'm trying not to. The Red Shoe Run proved that I can run a great race, even in less-than-ideal conditions, and I can have FUN while doing so...too bad I didn't pay better attention at the time. Coincidentally, my watch's setting was whacked that day, and I couldn't get it to show me my actual "running" time (until afterwards), so I had no idea what my finish time was gonna be until I saw the clock at the finish line. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss. Lesson learned.
A lot of peeps are talking about Resolutions, Goals, and Challenges this week...so I'm linking this with numerous others to celebrate and share in the excitement of the New Year. Do head over and check out all the hostesses, and take note of all the bloggers linked up with them.
Patty and Marcia and Erika for the Tuesdays on the Run ...
Deb for the Wednesday Word (which is involvement...that's a given!)
Rachel and Suzie and Lora and Debbie for the Running Coaches' Corner.
How about you? Are you a goal-driven person?
Do you prefer big year-long goals, or shorter, monthly challenges?
Have you ever ran a race and finished much faster than you thought you were going?