Pressures of Racing

Posted on Jan 22, 2010 under Random | 3 Comments

I’m sitting here, a little over 24 hours before my half marathon, reading about race information I need to know so that I don’t have to worry about something as trivial as logistics before the big day. But what I should really be doing is focusing on the upcoming race. Unlike many other runners that I’ve known or read about in blogs, I get pretty tense around race day. The pressure just seems to build up, and it’s always been like this even back in high school running cross country and track. Before and during each meet, I would see my teammates joking around having fun, while I’m sitting down, listening to my CD-Player (iPod not invented yet!) trying to concentrate on the upcoming race. Maybe it’s because I was never as talented as them or they just didn’t care as much as I did about doing well. But the truth of the matter is, that’s just the type of person I’ve always been. Even for other things like tests, I would always be nervous and not want to do anything ‘fun’ until I got the test over with first. It’s sort of like that saying, ‘work now, play later’.

I think when other people know about your race, it just to add to that pressure. I never talked to my old boss that often, but one day he asked me what I was doing for the weekend. Other than races and visits back home, I never have anything eventful planned. But my boss happened to ask the week before my first half marathon, so I told him. He wasn’t necessarily a runner, but he had ran a marathon the year before and he did work out pretty often. So knowing that my boss knew about the race and would most likely ask how I did made me feel pressured to do well. The same for my upcoming race. I just found out one of my new co-workers is a frequent runner and was training for her first marathon, got injured but still managed to run a half while training for the full. So the Friday before my race, out of nowhere she asks me when my next race was. I mean, what are the odds? So I’ll be going into the race with more pressure than I would have wanted.

That’s why when I read about runners who ‘had so much fun’ at race xyz, I’m thinking, ‘Really? Was it really that fun running so hard, being so tired?’. But I think that’s just the pessimist in me thinking out loud. Or else, why would I keep doing it? Why put yourself through so much pain for months at a time all for one moment, one event, which itself is no picnic? Because I can. And I will keep doing it until my legs give out. End. Rant.

Update: Apparently the pressure didn’t get to me and I rocked my Half marathon the next day, 1:28:53, 6th AG, 102 Overall. Full race report of the Carlsbad Half Marathon.

3 Responses to “Pressures of Racing”

  1. Anne Says:

    You definitely add another level of accountability when you announce your intentions online or in person. But it can be a good kind of pressure. And, you’ll notice tomorrow that many people are not trying to run as fast as they can, just quick enough to make it to the finish without passing out. And, hey, at least the weather’s improved dramatically for you and everyone. Good luck!!

  2. GoSonja Says:

    I read a book once that talked about “outcome oriented thoughts” and how dangerous they are. It really was an ahh-hah moment for me and I basically stopped worrying about how I would do. Now I just keep my thoughts focused on being prepared, enjoying myself, and being ready for the competition. I haven’t had a bad race since.

  3. Jason Says:

    Great post. Besides telling your friends and others you are about to run a race, what else have you found that really pushes you to do well?


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