Do You Race?

There is so much to say about racing, about competitiveness, that I’m not sure one post is up to the task. My own feelings about starting lines, which are somehow far harder to reach than finish lines, are oddly complicated. The simplest way to say it is that I only ever race to train. I only sign up for races, let’s call them events because I’m never competing to win, to give some shape and impetus to my training.

Even calling it training is wrong, because it implies that the running I do daily, weekly, is somehow only a means to some other end, when in reality it IS the end.

The emotional jiu jitsu of putting an artificial stake in the ground (a race date) and using it to force yourself to do a thing you already want to do, only maybe a little better/harder, is weird, but we’ve been trying to untangle the tortured machinations of the human mind for a long time with little success.

I look forward (mostly) to trail running races, because they show me new trails and give me an opportunity to do cool things with my friends. I don’t look forward to bike races as much, because for some reason I can’t entirely explain, my ego is too bound up in my performance, even though my friends are always there too, and they also introduce me to new terrain.

What I’m really curious about is, do you sign up for races? If so, why? What do you like about them? What do you dislike? Are you a competitive person and does that motivate you on race day AND in your training? Or is all about the social scene?