It’s true what they say about learning something at every race, and I definitely learned a few things at Sarasota. My list of ten is stuff that really specifically applies to me but I bet there are a few we can all agree on.
1. I like racing alone. As I started with Brad I kept wondering if I was going too fast to keep up with him or was I slowing him down? His leg turnover is a higher cadence than mine and it made me feel panicky. The second he agreed to go ahead I felt calmer. It’s not because of Brad by any stretch, I love training with him. But I’ve noticed that I prefer to race alone regardless of who it is. I just get too analytical about what I’m doing to the other person. I liked running alone at Jacksonville after Randy and I split up even though I enjoyed his company for the first 13 miles. What can I say? I’m a loner.
2. Other people’s breathing patterns freak me out. Listen, I know how you breathe during a race is not something you can really control. Breathing during a race is almost as unique as running gait during a race. There are people who sound like they are wheezing, there are people who sound like they are blowing up a balloon, there are also people who sound like they are just flat out going to die. And, it freaks me out during a race. More often than not, I have to get in front of these folks or let them drop me just so I don’t start breathing the same way they are breathing. It’s really weird but, hey, I’m weird. (Yes, I know I probably have some weird breathing thing too.)
3. Most people don’t feel chatty during a race. I’m probably THE most annoying person during a race because, since I find myself hilarious, I will often try to say something funny to other runners. Most of the time they just sorta stare blankly ahead and ignore me. I have learned that I need to really stop doing this, especially toward the end miles. I know when I’m hurting the last thing I want is to hear some dork tell me a joke. Sorry to anyone I’ve annoyed during a race, sometimes I just can’t help myself. I’m like a long, lost vaudevillian actor and there are miles of people to entertain.
4. I will smile for any and all cameras. I think this is a given considering I look happy in even my most horrendous races. See number three.
5. I am annoyed by people who wear their music so loudly they can’t hear me or anyone else behind them during a race. I am all for headphones and music, if the race allows it. I just don’t understand why you have to have the music so loud you can’t hear anything. I have seen runners ignore volunteers telling them to move right in order to let emergency vehicles or front runners by. At Sarasota someone had their headphones so loud they couldn’t hear people shouting that a wheelchair athlete was coming up behind them. Seriously people, turn them down if you’re gonna wear them. This is about safety just as much as courtesy.
6. I will high five small children. Yeah, if you bring some little kids and they are handing out high fives, I’m your girl.
7. I take water at every aid station. I learned that I have to do this since I’ve not been great at hydrating lately. I’m not good at drinking the water and I usually choke on it while trying to run but I’m going to keep taking it. Thanks volunteers!
8. I absolutely cannot calculate a finish time to save my life. I used to do math in my head during long runs just to occupy myself but in a race, I’m a straight up dunce cap wearing dumb dumb. I got to mile ten and tried to figure out where I would be finishing based on pace and I started laughing because I COULD NOT figure it out. It’s sad really.
9. I LOVE seeing the elites run by going the other way. They always pump me up and I cheer for them and then think about how they are going to be done for hours and hours before I am. But I love seeing them anyway.
10. I have said this before but it bears repeating, I heart finish lines.
What have you learned during your last races? Do any of these hold true for you too?