Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Are You a Serial Race-ist?

Are you a race-ist?  Are you one of those people that begin unintentionally race-ist sentences by saying “I’m not a race-ist but….” and then finishing it with “…I really want to run another 5k this weekend.”

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:

(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.

Happy racing.



Elizabeth said...

I am not a race-ist. I plan races months in advance after very careful consideration. In fact, for 2012 I will have run 4 races by year's end, which is record number for me and these were all selected last fall. But hey, I judge not. Whether a race slut or monogamously running the same one race every year, we are all equal. We may look different on the outside, but we still bleed red and poo brown. We are all Running God's children.

BrianFlash said...

Let's see:
1) I have (but only one race so far this year)
2) No (because I have no friends or spouses who will take my picture on the home stretch - and paying for race pictures? No way!
3) 10K superhero (twice) and an Underwear race (twice) The shame
4) No banjo but I have contemplated joggling...

But I do plan my races ahead. Its just that when I find a good one, I just can't get it off my calender so I keep going back...

Sun Runner said...

I've run two races in one weekend before. I've run three races in one month. I've run 18 races in one year. I'm running a Dances with Dirt relay this weekend and a 200-mile relay in Vermont next month. I have more race T-shirts than non-race T-shirts. I'm a race-ist.

Viper said...

Hey, I know that fourth criterion was directed at me, but I only wrote about a guy running with his banjo.

You don't have the "I used to be race-ist, but I'm not one now" option on the ballot, so I didn't vote.

In the first couple years of my running endeavors, I was definitely a race-ist. Now that I've got that good old ball and chain, I neither have the time nor money to race that much. And I'm fine with that.

Xenia said...

I've participated in two Santa runs and a Nun run but only because they provided the costumes. Other than that, I don't meet the requirements for a race-ist. I'm still considering the sumo wrestler run though...

Deb said...

Damn - it appears that I am a tremendous race-ist. I'm hanging my head in shame...and wondering when the Race to Eradicate Race-ism 5K will occur.

Anonymous said...

If you don't lose any readers after this, then I think your blog is bullet-proof.

If you run 13 races in a year but only kick down 20 bucks to run them, then what does that make me? (and its not a serial bandit because unfortunately I am not banditing (<spell check says that isn't a word) them.

PS - Fix that lattice fence before the kids, I mean, dog, run(s) off in the middle of the night.

Jamoosh said...

I am a reformed race-ist. Or maybe I have just gotten old.

Real Food Runner said...


Jess Milcetich said...

I raced three out of the four weekends in april...guilty as charged

Laura said...

VERY VERY VERY behind. I read this but was on my phone and was too lazy to type a response that way, so you get the long delayed response now that I finally have a few minutes at my laptop.

I am absolutely a race-ist by your criteria. My goal this year is to do a marathon a month, and I think it's going to come out to more like 20. However, I think there is some difference between doing more long distance races vs shorter distance. I really enjoy running with others, and it's not hard at all for me to find friends in my area who want to do a 5k or 5M training run; it's a lot harder to find friends who want to go out for a 26.2 mile run. I thoroughly enjoy chatting and meeting new people while running, so for me, running a marathon fulfills that.