I love racing. There is nothing better in the whole wide world. Some people I know get stressed out just thinking about race morning. But for me, if it’s a Saturday or Sunday and there are no numbers scrawled on my legs and arms, I get the shakes. Here is why racing is a heck of a lot more fun than training:
- Swag is the key. Every time you race you get a goodie bag, a t-shirt and a finisher’s medal. Maybe even a cookie. When you train? All you get is sore.
- It doesn’t matter if you’re not very good. Actually, being slow is important. Otherwise, how would the fast guys and gals ever know how awesome they are? They have to be way in front of somebody to feel good about themselves and impress the world. That’s where people like me come in. You’re welcome, fast guys.
- People cheer for you no matter how crappy you’re doing. And they’ll always smile and say something awesome like “You’re almost there,” even though you never are. I love that.
- New races equal new roads and new trails. In local races you get acquainted with parts of your neighborhood that you didn’t even know existed.
- You will always have someone to chat with during the run and bike, which at the end of the day is why we do this stuff anyway. Make new friends, tell jokes. There are lots of great folks to hang out with, and I don’t even have to pay them or buy them breakfast to spend time with me!
- Racing allows you to create your own reality. In my mind, nobody ever passes me on race day. I just decide beforehand that anyone who passes is actually part of a relay team, even if they’re not. For some of us, denial is a good thing.
- Races usually start early and, if they are short triathlons, you can actually be done and in the beer garden before most of your friends and family are awake. 9 a.m. is the ultimate time to kick off happy hour.
If there is a Camelot in my life, it’s a finish line – any finish line. The sponsors are happy, the race directors are happy, the volunteers are happy, the announcers are happy and, of course, the athletes are ecstatic. Everyone is cheering, and there is a feeling of accomplishment that hangs in the air no matter how long or tough the race. Then you get to savor the rest of the day and that great finish-line-induced adrenaline high. Of course, we all know that this amazing feeling won’t last forever – which is why you need to hurry home and figure out where you’ll be racing next weekend.
My Camelot appears in my book: Never a Bad Day