Do you find yourself signing up for every Tom, Dick or Beardsley race in town? 5k’s, 10k’s, relays, walk-a-thons, costume runs, virtual runs, it doesn’t matter to you. Admit it. Some of you are serial race-ists. You sign up for EVERYTHING. I read blogs. I know who you are. You have more “race reports” in one calendar season than I’ve had in six years of blogging. I’ve seen more photos of you with your head tilted to the side, mouth agape in a frozen WOO-HOO! cliché camera cheer than pictures of my own kids playing soccer.
I’m not a race-ist. In fact, I can barely match a race with the fingers on one hand during an entire year. Usually, I have a few fingers left over. Why are some of us serial race-ists and others barely notice things such as race? Is it congenital? Are non-race-ists inherently better people?* Do race-ists need to diversify their hobbies?** Am I just being jealous?***
For me, I’m kinda picky. I’ve got to really want to run a race before I’ll sign up. I might hear about one, check out the race website, and investigate the course and location. I might let a year go by before the seedling sprouts into full blown desire. Then I have to carefully count my dollar bills and triple-check the kids’ soccer schedule. Maybe I check out the website 2-28 more times and then, if I still want to run it, I go ahead and register. It’s an exhausting process - almost as exhausting as the training itself. In fact, by the time I hit ‘submit’ on the registration, I feel like they should just mail me a medal and, let’s not kid ourselves, an age group award and we’ll skip the rest of it.
I’ve never signed up for a race with less than two weeks prep time. And I've only got as close as two weeks once and that was for a 5k. Normally, I sign up for races 3-4 months in advance.
In my area of the world, there’s a 5 or 10k seemingly every single weekend. I’m often asked “Are you running the race this weekend?” and my response is usually something like, “No, what’s it for this time? The VHS to DVD Low Income Transition Assistance 5k?”
But some of you don’t seem to care what a race looks like. Like a Pavlovian dog, you hear about a race and your legs automatically start trotting.
There’s a 5k this weekend? Ohhh, sign me up!
A costume run? Honey, is my costume back from the cleaners? Go get my moisture wicking pumpkin costume HOORAY!
A Sandwich 10k? A Cupcake 5k? An Ass Slapper 5 miler? All good. I’M IN.
Face it, you are a race-ist and it’s exhausting to the rest of us. I know, I know: Once you’ve gone weekly 5k, you never cease to pay race fees. I’ve heard the ole race-ist saying a thousand times. Now, I love to run. I rarely miss a scheduled run. I just don’t race that much. I only race when I feel like I’m good and prepared and ready to give my best. I don’t need to pay $25 and up for a half-ass effort. I can just go out for a normal Sunday run and save myself the cash. Who needs to eat rapidly browning bananas off a folding table at 8:30 AM? Do Fig Newtons somehow taste edible after a race? And who needs another race shirt?
If you are not sure if you qualify as a race-ist, check yourself against these guidelines:
YOU ARE A RACE-IST IF:
(1) You’ve run more than 10 races in a calendar year. –or –
(2) You have more than 4 photos on your blog of you with a #1 pointy finger and a WOO-HOO! scream for the camera. – or
(3) You entered a costume 5k dressed as a giant hot dog (or equivalent). – or –
(4) You considered playing the banjo during a marathon.
It’s time for self judgment. Be honest. I know it’s not easy to call yourself a race-ist but if the glove fits…
To be truthful, there’s part of me that would like to race more…to not care about PR’s and general preparedness…to acquire a sickening amount of race shirts. But it’s hard to justify this when I’ve been staring at the same busted out piece of lattice fencing in my backyard for 4 years. If I don’t have time to go to Home Depot and buy one 2x6 foot lattice replacement piece, can I really justify dressing up like a giant baby in a wicking bonnet and disgustingly real looking diaper for the local Kiwanis Club costume run?
Maybe a day will come when we’ll judge a race by its content rather than the color of its shirt.
Until then, I guess I’ll just live my racing through your seemingly weekly reports. WOOO-HOOOO! Just don’t move next door to me. Race-ists drive my home value down.