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When I first started running races, back in 1981, I found that raising funds for different causes kept me on track to do the training and make a commitment. The reasons changed over the years, but the commitment did not.
Altruism in itself is a great goal, but sometimes it is difficult to keep asking others to support your causes. Going to the well too often sometimes is very difficult, even if we have good intentions to help others.
Most races that I undertake have meaning to them. Many are all about performance. Doing ones best every time is noteworthy, but after several great performances, the next undertakings will suffer and for that reason, not every race should truly be a race.
Using certain races as part of training for future races is one of the things that keeps me racing. Doing several marathon races prior to an ultra marathon event is very beneficial, if done with that intent in mind.
Racing should be fun too! Busting your butt at every race you do will not only wear you down physically, but mentally, as well. Keep in mind the only person you should ever attempt to outdo is yourself.
We all know how difficult it is to set a personal best or personal record (known as PB or PR) in anything we undertake. Setting reasonable goals to reach our ultimate goal is the perfect way to accomplish it.
Recently, I ran the Cowtown Marathon in Fort Worth, Texas as part of my training for an upcoming 50-kilometer race. I wanted to run a controlled pace on a rather hilly course. For the most part, I accomplished that. The weather for one trained in a northern climate was not beneficial in the performance, but I got out of it what I expectedand more.
I latched onto the pace group leader for 3 hours 40 minutes who the race provided. That would be the pace I felt I would be capable of holding at the 50K. I stayed with the group through the halfway point when the sun threw its rays at me and made me slump a bit.
Eventually, the 3:45 pace group thundered down on me. I hooked up with them, but could not hold on. When we reached the hills between 18 and 22 miles, I was pretty much spent. Overheated, my pace slowed even more. At that point I just tried to remain as steady as possible.
I finished in 3:52 and change based on chip timing. My watch said 3:53:24, but it took nearly 45 seconds to reach the start line with the 12,000 runners starting with me.
I look back at races to see what I can glean from them for future reference. One of the things I look at is how I was dressed for the race. I knew going in choosing what I was wearing would be a key to a successful run.
I put on Wigwam Compressor socks and over them a pair of Ironman Surge Pro socks. Two pair for one reason; performance under the conditions I was expecting. I knew the course was hilly, so wanted the support of Compressor. I also wanted a bit of extra warmth as it was near freezing at the start. Yet, it was expected to reach the mid 60s by the time I finished, so I wanted something breathable and fast drying.
On top, I wore Wigwams Windbreak Sleeve, and a tech shirt over a singlet. When the temps rose, I removed the tech shirt and tied it around my waist. I then rolled the sleeves down as the temperatures rose further. I managed to stay comfortable in the beginning and middle, but my body not being adapted to the warmer climate hindered my performance.
The next morning at breakfast in the hotel with my wife, we were browsing through the local paper, the Star-Telegram and I noticed the coverage of the Cowtwon Marathon. I scanned for the results and found, to my surprise, that I had taken 3re place in my age group.
No matter which race or how many races you do, always look for some meaning to them. You will be surprised how helpful each experience is on reaching or setting your next goal.
See you in a few miles.roy