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Thursday, October 22, 2009

TIART: Why Race?

This week's Take it and Run Thursday comes from MCM Mama, who asks, "We've all discussed why we run, but why do you RACE and how do you choose which races to run?
Do you look for certain distances, swag, location, start time, or something else? Tell me how you decide where and when to race. Also, I'm currently on a quest to run a race in every state. Please tell me--and others about a particular race you've run that is not to be missed. "

My running and racing basically started at the same time. The day I ran my first couch to 5k training run, I dropped off an application in the mail to run my first 5K (because I used to mail in my apps!). I race because I have to have goals. Running would be far less interesting if I wasn't training for something. I try to keep it to 2-3 major (half marathon or above) races per year, though. Even having one as far as 4-5 months out is enough to get me out on the trail.

As far as choosing races... I factor in some of the following:
  1. Location. Often I need to stay local, which means I need to stay within a half a day's drive. The Philadelphia Distance Run was a bit of a drive for us (2 1/2 hours), and OBX is just a bit too far. So is Richmond. If I'm going out of town, I try to stay in the Eastern timezone because I usually don't have a desire to deal with jetlag or long flights, either. As much as I'd love to run San Diego or Portland, we take too many trips for our other hobby (scuba diving) to allow me to take time off of work to acclimate a different timezone and take a long flight for a race. Maybe someday, though.
  2. Friends. I'll often choose to run a race because a bunch of friends are doing it. This is why I ran Marine Corps in 2006. I had no intention or desire to run Marine Corps, but then most of my friends were, so I did. This has become a little less of an issue now that I've overcome my fears of running alone.
  3. Schwag. I'm a sucker for a nice bit of schwag just like everyone else is. I love my Annapolis Ten Miler stuff. I love my Celtic Solstice fleece. Those would be two completely different races if it were not for the schwag. I want my medals for races, and I've resisted getting a DNF just thinking about losing out on getting a medal. Gotta have that stuff! On the opposite side, there's nothing more irritating than a race that gives out the exact same shirt every year. Hooray, another boxy green short sleeve shirt where they don't even put the year on it anymore.
  4. Schedule. Being a group leader, I have to kind of do a few races that I really don't want to do. I dislike the Race for Our Kids 10K, but do it every year because it's part of the race schedule. This keeps me from doing some other races, like the Survivor Harbor 7.
  5. Disney. I'm just a sucker for Disney races. When I finally do go to another timezone, it will likely be to run the Disneyland Half Marathon (maybe in 2011). But, then, will I have time that year to also run the Princess Half Marathon? I think Todd's already decided we're doing the Wine & Dine Half Marathon... (I cannot wait for that one! It sounds AWESOME!) They just keep me coming back! No one does races like Disney.
  6. History and other random small things. For example, I won't run the Baltimore Half Marathon again because I do not like the 9:45am start time, and I won't run the Baltimore Full Marathon because I don't like the course (hilly and through ugly slums). I am considering not running the Frederick Half Marathon a third year in a row just because I've run it twice. So, there are other little things, but they're not as big as the others.
Not to be missed:
  • Any Disney Race (see above)
  • Non-Disney Florida Race: The Gasparilla Distance Classic (lots of distances, good race support, great city, medal for every distance, excellent expo).
  • Annapolis Ten Mile Run: GREAT race premium, competitive and challenging race (makes you feel like you DID something at the end), some of the best spectators anywhere, beautiful town - my hometown!
  • Philadelphia Distance Run: Beautiful town, flat and pretty course, Rock & Roll, great time of year to run.

2 comments:

MCM Mama said...

That Celtic Solstice race looks cool and it's during a "dead" time around here. I could definitely go for a December race!

Thanks for the suggestions!

Lacey Nicole said...

i love your list. "schwag" i especially enjoyed :)

philadelphia distance run is going on my list!

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