Why I Run Wednesday #3

The ‘Why I Run Wednesday’ posts are a weekly feature exploring a past, present, or future reason why I run. 

Race medals
Race medal display–the best part of my cube

This is a simple reason. Extrinsic motivation… A reason for the training plan… A tangible reward… Races.

I experienced the glory of the finish line in high school cross country. A cross country race–whether on a golf course, around a rival school’s property, or a certified XC course–provided the showcase for all that training, for all those hills repeats, long runs, and after school practices a chance to prove their merit.

After a running hiatus during college, I came back to my [running] senses and ran a 5K in Verona, Wisconsin. Finishing just fast enough to earn an age-group award, I was back once again into racing. I use the term “racing” loosely as I am a mid-pack runner, and racing might more appropriately refer to the type of running done by those competing against one another, and not just against themselves.

That’s what racing provides though, the opportunity for the individual to compete with one’s self. Or, perhaps a brighter spin is that races provide that short or long term goal to not only work toward, but to concretely accomplish.

It surprises me that I’ve lost count of the number of races I’ve completed, but each one has been a treat in its own way and I have the medals, bibs, and online results to help jog my memory of the details.

I truly believe you can be a runner and never have stepped foot on a finish line, or starting line for that matter. I just also happen to enjoy the inherit cheeriness of a bunch of runners in the morning, anxiously waiting to run their guts out.

So why do I run? Because the medals and bibs provide a colorful decorative element to my work cube. Just kidding (I mean they do, and provide a great conversation starter about running, but it’s not THE reason of course). I run races because they switch up the routine and provide just the right mix of internal and external motivation to work toward that next goal. Simply, they are… fun!

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