Racing: My Addiction

I am someone that likes to push myself.  Ask my coach; before every workout he warns me not to go crazy.  I have to stay in control.  Workouts are only hard runs.  You are not allowed to compete.

Well, I am a competitive person, so workouts sometimes frustrate me if I do not get to push some limit within myself.  Racing, on the other hand, is when I get to let loose.  I get to be crazy, intense and passionate.  I get to throw my entire body into propelling myself forward for just those few meters after every turn and then again and again.  I get to ignore the pain in my hips and the voice in my head that says this hurts.  The pain, the body, they get no say when it comes to racing.  All that matters is catching that girl with the perky little ponytail swooshing in front of me.  I am out for blood in a race and if I can, I will get it.  One of the members of the coaching staff told me last race of mine that I looked like a bulldog that bit into my competitor’s butt and would not let go. Isn’t that is what racing is supposed to be?

As one develops as a runner, more and more time in put into base work, so that the our peak will be higher and faster.  All of this base work means less and less of the time spend running is spent racing.  It means that every race gets me excited.  It means I get a few minutes of pure power and pain where all I have to do is push myself physically and the emotional and intellectual parts of my brain get to fall out of existence for just a minute or two or more, depending on the length of the race that you call your own.

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Running in a Sports Bra

Many people often feel that females who run in just a sports bra and shorts are not wholesome.  I sure many people would use harsher words than that.  For example, someone called me a slut out of a car window recently.  But I have a question for these people, why?

I doubt that half of the people who say disparaging things about a girl in just a sports bra and shorts work out, let alone outside in the hot sun.  They are probably pulled from that same group of people that admire those same girls’ ability to run when fully clothed.  The thing about the sports bra and shorts decision is that it is not really a choice if you want to have a good run on hot days.  I mean running is a shirt really hot days literally makes you feel like you are going to faint. 

Males never seem to have quite the problem when they do not wear a shirt.  They often tend to be a lot more willing to lose thier shirts while running also.  There are several days where the many members of the boys’ team will be shirtless and the girls’ team will all remained covered.  The guys are doing the same thing that the girls are doing, why are they being treated different?  Aren’t we all supposed to be equal?

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Injury Awareness

It is so easy to be injured as a runner. It is also really easy to forget that fact. I was reminded of that fact this past week when my right quad started to hurt after one of my runs. I took the next day off. After that, my coach had me take the next two days very light. I rolled and iced, but stayed away from stretching because that is when my quad hurt the most.  The pain which was probably a slight strain is gone now. But it is because I did not pretend that nothing was wrong.

Denying that something is wrong is one of the biggest problems that you can have as an athlete.  It is not the worst problem. In fact, it usually means that someone is dedicated and does not want to take time off. This is a much better problem than someone that need to be convince to train.  But, it is still a problem, an easily fixed problem. As you gain experience running, you can more easily tell when something does not feel right. You need to know your body well enough to know when you should say, “No more running for a while.” This skill comes first from knowing your body at all.

One must be aware of any pains in the body and assess these pains. When you run, you hurt. It is simple math. You usually hurt evenly, i.e. both hamstrings are sore. If there is an uneven balance of pain, this could be a sign that you have the beginnings of an injury.  If you take precautions immediately, it can be very small injury.

In fact, it probably came from something very small.  For example, I probably just cooled off too much in the time between my run and then I did some strides.  Being aware of your body is one of the most important things while training.  Being able to overcome pain in your body is one of the most important things while racing — don’t do it when you are training.

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Why We Keep Running

The reasons that people run can be hard to define.  There are both emotional, mental and physical reasons why we as humans choose to run. Some people may only run to stay in shape or to lose weight.  But those people probably will not keep running for long.  Some people really want to improve their times or feel that we have run the perfect race.  These people are the competitive runners of the world.  They might not always be fast enough to be defined as “elite” or “competitive” racers.  But they have fire and competition in their hearts.

When I started this post, I was planning on talking about year-round running and the benefits that it has for your aerobic base.  I have just finished my freshman track season.  As you end a season, you get back into the rest period and base-building parts of your year and these are the times where your commitment to this crazy little obsession called running can really be tested.  This is when you are suddenly left on your own.  The summer is when us student athletes have to wake our lazy butts up and go run all by ourselves.  It is when those that are not committed start getting caught by those that are.  Even though there are several scientific reasons that people run year round.  Sometimes, I think that real answer is we just love it.

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