There's a very good quote I've heard---
[I guess from teachers. When I Googled the exact phrase the first link was an education website]
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
So true. They left out the importance of being able to crack open a coconut. But I'm going to go out on a limb here and say this is about more than just education or nutrition.
Tell a friend good luck and they'll eventually cross the finish line; run a race with a friend and they could become a distance runner for life. At the very least they'll remember it for life!
I realize I'm not that fast of a runner naturally. Sometimes I don't even think of myself as a runner because I've yet to get an "official time" that sounds impressive. But you know what I have my treadmill times. And I know I've done 2.5 miles in 22:10 and 3 miles in under 26 minutes. And 6 miles in under an hour.
I think I was nervous about the Shamrock because I didn't KNOW if I was trying for a PR or going to have a "fun race." And what would happen if I started with a "fun race" mentality but then my friend I was running with needed to walk and told me to go on... would it be too late to PR? I think a PR was definitely within my grasp but if I didn't start the race with that mentality there was no way I was going to realize my full potential. So was it even worth it? If that happened I'd want to do another race this Spring anyway.
Ideally, the Shamrock would have been the race to try to destroy my PR.
1) It's flat as a board. (There was some joke about a "heartbreak hill" on the course. I'm not even sure where that joke could have been referencing as a slight incline.
2) I was familiar with this course. I ran it a year ago and could recall the course in my head.
3) I LOVE THIS RACE!
4) The weather was perfect! It's not hot or humid yet in VA. But, I didn't have to wear running pants. And we couldn't see our breath in the AM like last year.
5) I've been training pretty hard. Probably harder than necessary "to just cross the finish line."
6) Not that I could have known this ahead of time but I "felt great" the entire race.
That being said... I LOVE Running. The Race Bug has bitten me for sure. I'm slowly but surely finding more friends to run races with...but I don't really have a friend who is slightly faster than me and could push me in a race. I have friends that blow my times out of the water and would never want to run with me. And friends that are less experienced than I am (which is a really weird statement to be making, but I guess I should just embrace it). So as I work to get faster I can either run races alone or run with friends at a speed that is slower than the one I've been training at.
I get the whole "running is a sport. Break your PR. Break your PR again and again mentality." If I didn't I wouldn't be reading running blogs, a book by Hal Higdon, and making myself sprint last laps at a speed of 8.5* on the treadmill. *If you're really fast just read 8.5 as 10 or higher.
BUT, I can see all the positives that running has added to my life. I would be a completely different person if I didn't run. And I know this because I never ran in high school. I feel like so many American's aren't tapping into the benefits of running. I wish they would because in addition to the whole "obesity thing" being a non-issue, I personally find that the mental health benefits and increase in energy are the best rewards.
I'm not saying if you're hardcore and have never ran a race with a "newbie" stop the hardcore training. But I have to say words can't even describe the feeling of jogging next to a friend who is about to cry happy tears at mile 12 when they realize they are actually going to complete their first half marathon without walking. Or when a random girl runs up to you at mile 12 and thanks you for the "Living on a Prayer" sing-a-long you started at the halfway point. It "really helped her" and she wants to finish the race with you because she lost her friends in the course of the race.
That was what I was blessed enough to experience yesterday. And I'll never forget it! Who knows how many races I'll do this year or in my lifetime. But, moments like that are what it's all about. I think running can be a pretty intimidating sport to a "newbie" or someone who doesn't run period. Luckily I've had some great encouragement from more experienced runners than myself and I do my best to keep that "Chain of Love" going whenever I can.
So proud of this girl! She accomplished a life goal yesterday!
If I'm being honest one of mine after we ran the Army 10 together was probably to be by her side to see her complete a half ;)