Yup. I have it. I'm not afraid to admit it either. I love going to races. And not for the shirts and medals, although I do like the medals as mementos. I love races because of the atmosphere. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of runners all out there for the exact same reason and have the same if not more enthusiasm for running as I do. Then the race starts and you are psyched and ready to go. Sometimes you beat your PR, sometimes you don't. Each race is different. Then once you are done with your race you get to go home and compile your stats and compare this race to other races and see where and what you can do to improve. One of the great benefits of running is that you are in control of how well or how bad you do. Of course this is with every aspect of life, but this even more so because all you need do is step outside and run, just run. That is how much control you have.
On that note I love this time of the season. October, November and December are the target months for so many runners and race reports abound. You get to read and take part in other runner's trials and tribulations and learn from them. Or, as I do before each big race, you get to search for a race report or two on the race you are running and see what to expect from the runner's point of view rather than the race director's point of view.
Just recently we got to watch Notes of a Non Runner complete her first half marathon in Des Moines, or Runnin' Ragged finish her first marathon in Columbus, or see how Tom and Doug persevered through tough conditions at the Chicago Marathon. Or the races to come as we get to watch Marathondudebill try to break the 3 hour mark at the Richmond Marathon, or see Running... because I can's journey to completing his first marathon at Richmond as well. Then there are the inveterate runners who are machines, who run marathon after marathon as though they were out for a morning stroll. There's Run With Stevie Ray who is running for breast cancer awareness and had a goal of running 50+ marathons from the beginning of this year to February 17th of next year - and has already ran 51 marathons. His most recent finishes are the Indianapolis and Columbus marathons last weekend, he will be running the Miracle Match today, and then the Autumn Leaves 50k and iWUR marathon with Richmond among many others scheduled throughout the year (you might have seen him running... he wears the bright pink shirt). Or there is DaneGer Zone who ran a marathon every weekend last year in his Fiddy2 quest to raise $52,000, and will be running the Marine Corps Marathon coming up this weekend in an attempt to run a sub 3 hour. Then there are the extreme runners in Mountain Man Steve who ran the Javelina Jundred (100 mile race) on Saturday and Sunday, or And A (Ultra)Marathon Runner Was Born who just ran the Dick Collins' Firetrails 50 miler a few weekends ago. Finally there is A Trail Runner's Blog where I can follow Scott running ultras all over the Bay Area and can really learn a lot from just reading his numerous interviews and race reports.
The point of all this? There are all different levels of runners out there that are willing to talk about and teach other runners about their successes and failures. There is a wealth of information out there in the running community that I absolutely love to read up on. Give a few of the above bloggers a go around and see what message they have to say.
Hopefully I will be able to take what I have learned from my own running as well as what I have read about from others and apply it to the Silicon Valley Marathon next weekend... Here's to happy running!