Sunday, March 12, 2006

Not a Racer

There was a 10k in Adare today, about 90 minutes drive from here. I was thinking about going, but decided yesterday not to bother. That’s the third race in a row I have missed voluntarily. There was a 10 miler in Mallow (90 mins drive) in January, a 5 miler near Cork (2 hrs drive) three weeks ago, and now the 10k today. I thought about this during my run today, and came to the decision that I simply don’t particularly like racing. Now that probably sounds strange, I am doing all this running and then I don’t want to race? Well, think about it that way. I ran for a good hour today, directly from home, which means that I was home again after that hour. If I had gone to the race, I would have had to drive 90 minutes each way, spend a good time there before and after the race, and with the race itself we are talking about 5 hours absence from home. That’s an additional 4 hours away from my family, and family time is very precious to me, especially on weekends. The only race I did this year was a 5k in Dublin, where we happened to be at the time, and I didn’t have to drive far. Bringing the family to the race isn’t an option as Niamh refuses to have three kids running around and with nobody to help her looking after them.

So, it looks like I won’t be doing much racing for the foreseeable future. I’m fine with that. The runs I have enjoyed the most this year so far were the two twenty milers in nice conditions, with the moon shining on the first one and the stars being so brilliant for the second one. Compare that with the race that I could have run today, a 10k after a lot of time in the car, and where I would have been lucky to finish something like 112th out of 250 racers.

Having said all that, I am still looking forward to the marathon. Marathons are different; they are the focus of my training, not some afterthought. Plus, Niamh and the kids are coming to Connemara with me and we’re making it a family weekend away.

Oh, and the run today was fine. I decided to run all the way up to the summit of the Devil’s Elbow. That’s a climb of about 200 meters and definitely counts as a tough hill workout. The last 2 minutes until the summit were not runnable, due to it being a very steep, stony and muddy trail. The view up there was breathtaking (it’s the one you can see in my header, but it looks much better in 3D), but the wind was rather cold and I didn’t stay there but turned back immediately to run back home. I felt full of energy when I rejoined the road and decided to run the last 2 miles at speed, probably close to 7 mins/mile. I don’t know how long the distance overall was, my guess would be 7.5 miles.

Finally, Good Luck to Jack, who is running his marathon as I write these words.

12 Mar: 7.5 miles (est.), 1:05, 8:40 pace (est.)


  1. And still that race is very close, so saving all your energy for racing that day, sounds very good.

  2. With a reason like that not racing is just perfect. And those views are definitely worth the hassle:)

  3. I don't blame you. I do enjoy the racing, but I like them to be convenient, too. (Or I want to go *with* someone to make it an adventure!

  4. Great pace. Is Devil's Elbow as scary as it sounds?

  5. I think if I had such a beautiful area to run as you do, I wouldn't race much either! I have a lot of races in my area (e.g. within 30-40 minutes), so usually have to pick and choose. I'm a lot pickier than I used to be.

  6. You are a runner in the truest sense of the word. You do not have to be a racer to have a runner spirit.

    I admire your perspective, perhaps because I understand it so well. I have a suspicion that there is a constellation or two that you notice on each run you do. Mine is Orion..

  7. I can identify with traveling quite a ways for a race that ends up taking most of your day.

    So I'll go only if some friends are also participating or my family is coming along.

  8. Thomas..i don't see that being strange.

    I am right now doing a few races more for social reason. I do a few run races b/c a few friends i know are doing it. Part of my training is to influence my friends into being healthy and active...and so far it is work ing quite well.

    Does this conflict with my training for Ironman? a certain degree..yes..but i will give up some of that to enjoy the compnay of some good friends...(good for the mind and the soul).

    and this summer..i will be running in a pink that's strange :D

  9. Niamh is a lot like my wife when it comes to dragging the kids to a race. For some reason my wife does not think it is fun to stand around in the freezing cold for hours with 4 kids watching me run off into the distance and then return in the same fashion. I don't blame her most of the time and if I tell her it is really important to me she usually comes. Good luck with the continued training.

  10. I enjoy racing quite a bit, probably a bit too much, since I can be a little bit too competitive about it. I didn't race much when my daughter was small, but now she's 15 and she goes with me to the races. She can also take care of my son, who's 8, if he comes to the race as well.
    My daughter has noticed my competitiveness in the races, particularly in those races in which friends or relatives are also racing.