7 for 7: Racing

Where were we?

Oh, that’s right: Racing.

I’ve stolen a bit of my own thunder through the course of 7 for 7 and my weekend race report, so I’m going to quickly cover a few things about racing that are very important to me.

RESPECT

Sometimes advertisers don't lie...

It should come as no surprise that I love this ad, considering my elitist streak. Don’t get me wrong – some people train very hard, yet still run very slowly. “Can’t put in what God left out,” as Coach Stanforth used to say every season back on The Hill. I get that. What I don’t get are some of the people I saw at Chicago. I mean, really, lady? You’re walking on the course, talking on your cell in the middle of a race? How about you, dude? Is it necessary for you to update Facebook every mile? Seeing these people, knowing that my wife was out there having to maneuver her way around these clowns at the water stations…it really got under my skin.

Respect the friggin’ race, people (and I don’t think I’m talking to anyone who actually reads this blog). Whether it’s a 5k, a 5 mile, or a five day race, respect those of us who are out there to seek a better version of ourselves. If you don’t belong out there, then stay home. Make the sacrifice, and earn your spot on the starting line.

HEADPHONES

"What? I can't hear you over the sound of how awesome I am!"

Leave them at home. Racing is an experience that engages all five senses; how much do you miss out on when you eliminate 20% of everything you could possible take in? The simple, miraculous sounds of your own breathing; your name in exhortation; even the lousy music inevitably played at every race (Eye of the Tiger anyone?) – these are all a part of the experience, and things you miss out on when you tune out the world with your iPod/Nike+ Super Neato Keano Marathon Motivation Playlist. Want to use your little mental crutch in training? I won’t blame you…I run with mine all the time. But on race day, do yourself a favor and leave it home.

LEARN

Racing is battle, all else is prelude. As such, racing is our greatest opportunity to learn. It’s the battleground, whether your opponent is a real-life rival or simply your own weakness. You could learn that your local age-group rival is weak in the hills, or has a habit of starting way too fast. Maybe you find out that for all your physical training, your mind is not ready to attack the goal. Whatever the case may be – take the opportunity after a race to sit and think quietly for a few minutes about what just happened. If you really take the time to sit down and evaluate your performance, you’re going to recall some things that make you smile, as well as some that will make you wince. You need to pull it all together and not waste a great opportunity to learn.

Well, that’s all for today…I guess I should have called this series 7 for 11 instead of 7 for 7, huh? Oh well. Tomorrow, we end the series with an uplifting bit on…injury. Don’t worry – things are always better than you think they are.

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