Who are you really racing?

PHALFFor my 12 mile taper run I signed up for a very small, low key half marathon instead.  It was held on the Glacial Drumlin State Trail, which I know is completely flat, and on a tightly packed gravel surface so that extra 1.1 mile more isn’t cheating my taper, in my opinion.  I didn’t “race” it either, though I did focus on finding a comfortable rhythm preferably in the 9:40s.  I managed to get half of the splits in that range, and the other half was all over with the fastest being 9:02, and slowest being 11:00 where I ended up taking a walk break.  My overall pace was 9:49.

Enough about the numbers.

It’s funny what I’m able to take away from the races that I do.  From this race I was reminded that you never know who you are racing, even if you’re not really racing.  At around mile 7 I started a game of I-pass-you-you-pass-me with a girl in an orange shirt.  She’d pass me, minutes later she’d slow to a walk, and I’d pass her again.  It was clear to me she was doing the run/walk method, and kicking my ass during her run ratio.  She eventually lost me around mile 9 or 10 when I started to peter out.

After the race, she was stretching, and I was… uh, sitting on the grass drinking my post-race beer.  Our eyes met, and she smiled.  I took that opportunity to congratulate her and say she looked strong out there.  She responded, “Wait, I think I recognize you, who are you?”

Hah.  “I’m Steena”

“OHhhhh, I’m Gustorama on Twitter, I don’t tweet much any more, but I still follow you and see your tweets.  What’s your latest injury?”


I was racing a girl that I used to chat with on Twitter on a regular basis.  She was incredibly sweet and supportive of me during my runner’s knee depression.  It makes me think of all the people that I notice on the course.  Who are they?  Is he an experienced runner with dozens of marathons under his belt?  Is she doing her first half marathon?  Is he coming back from an injury?  Is she on the brink of getting an injury?  Is he a former high school track runner?  You just don’t know who you are racing, and what their athletic situation is.  That’s why it’s important to remember it’s you against you out there.  Sure, it’s fun to try and pick off people during the race, and frustrating when seemingly hundreds of people pass you, but it’s important to run your own race because you never know if you’re racing your Twitter friends.


15 thoughts on “Who are you really racing?

  1. It’s entirely possible that a thousand people passed me today, including some people I follow on Twitter! I thought of you when I remembered the beer tent at my race. I am just not a post-race beer kind of person.

  2. It’s fun to talk to the people you ran near after a race. Even though I’m usually too exhausted to talk to them during the race, I feel like we bonded with each other just by running in the same vicinity.

  3. I had the exact same thought during a half marathon 2 weeks ago! I was wondering who was doing their first half marathon, who was doing their last one, etc. I am even planning to blog about those thoughts! Haha!

  4. I think about this stuff all of the time. It translates well to life – you never know what someone’s going through or where they’ve been.

  5. Too cool!! This is a GREAT post and reminder! It really is so true, you just don’t know and therefore it’s kind of not our place to judge! Love small worlds like that!

  6. Love it! I was reminded of a race I did last month when I kept passing/ falling behind this girl, and got kind of annoyed so I bolted ahead. Then I tripped, fell, and twisted my ankle, and of course this girl was the only person who stopped. She helped me up and ran with me for a bit, cheering me on. I had this whole mental competition with someone who turned out to be way supportive. It was a great reminder to run my own race and not worry so much about who I’m running against, because one of them might help me up!

  7. Very cool…and good advice. I am vowing to remember to race hard in my marathon but to finally enjoy it for once. I am the only one making me do this crazy ass thing…

  8. In life when I get pissed off at people or during a race when I think I’m suppose to race everyone around me or suspect they are racing me…I always tell myself, “everyone has their own movie and YOU (meaning me) are NOT in it” 🙂 Its hard to do…fine, fine advice!! AND great 1/2 mary to you!!

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