People Who Run Races Are Totally Insane

by Kim on February 11, 2013

Running is one thing. But people who race are nuts.

crazy people

I mean, think about it.

–They devote hours and hours and hours to running, so that, on one particular day, they can run again.

–They do something that’s considered punishment in all other sports. (And they even pay to do it!)

–They force themselves to run faster than they want to, for longer than they want to, and when they just plain don’t want to.

–They get up early on Saturdays to participate in self-torture methods they call “long runs.”

–They poop in the woods. (Yes.)

–They claim that they do it “for fun,” and yet they complain about it all the time. (“Ughhhh speedwork today…”)

–They subject themselves to completely unnatural things like nipple chaffing and ice baths.

–When it’s all over, they are given a shiny medal circle, which they take home and bury in a drawer. A week later, they get an email full of super unflattering pictures of themselves.

photogenic runner The pictures are guaranteed to look NOTHING like this.

This is not the behavior of sane, rationale individuals, right?

So why do we do it??

Well. Because racing changes people. That’s what it’s really about.

Racing teaches people things about themselves. It shows them not only what they can do, but who they can be.

Have you ever wondered why the Biggest Loser caps off each season with a marathon? Wouldn’t a 10K or something be sufficient? Well, I bet not one of the participants ever thought she’d be able to run a marathon. And nothing is more empowering than the realization that, holy crap, I CAN do this. ME.

As this Runner’s World article put it: “[The Biggest Loser marathon] provides a dramatic showcase for the show’s underlying dream-big message: that anyone—even overweight Cheetos-snarfing couch potatoes—can join the elite ranks of endurance athletes, so long as they’re willing to push themselves. Push hard.”

BL marathon

In that same article, one of the participants admitted that the prospect of running a marathon was about as feasible as running for president.

Exactly.

And that’s the point.

Forget the running—in the beginning, battling your own inner voice of self doubt is the biggest challenge. And winning that battle is one of the biggest rewards.

Fortunately, something I’ve always loved about the running community is that it’s very diverse, and extremely welcoming to newcomers. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you look like, how far you go, or how fast you get there. You run? You’re a Runner. You’re in the secret society.

And then, once you get that first race out of the way, the racing world becomes your oyster. (Or something.)

I have yet to meet someone who says, “Yeah, I wanted to see if I could run a half marathon. So I did, and I could, and now I’m over it.” It seems like almost everyone gets hooked, or will at least go out for the occasional 5K now and then, just to remind themselves that they can. (Oh, and because it’s fun. Did I mention racing can be fun?)

How has running/racing changed you?

I’m one of those people who never dreamed I’d someday run races, including a full marathon. I feel like I’ve finally found something I can be good at, since I never had much talent for sports. Luckily for me, you don’t have to be a natural born runner to run—you just need some motivation, a little self-confidence, and a lot of determination.

And yeah, it’s still kinda crazy. But I think this might be one legit case where the end justifies the means.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Emma Barlow July 1, 2013 at 8:16 pm

I just love this, I have read it over and over and it makes me smile every time! This is just so true!! You are a very talented writer and I find it so refreshing to read your articles, blogs etc.
well done!

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Kim July 1, 2013 at 8:48 pm

Wow, that’s a huge compliment! Thanks so much Emma! :)

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Read More May 23, 2013 at 2:54 am

Thanks for the great share! :)

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Kathleen May 20, 2013 at 6:42 am

I love this post! After about 9 months of running 5Ks (And also losing 60 pounds) I am now training for my first 10K, and hoping to keep moving up the ladder of races. This coming from the girl that told countless people “I will NEVER be a runner” It really is addicting, and an amazing way to discover what you are made of!
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Kim May 20, 2013 at 9:00 am

It really is! Wow, congrats on the weight loss, and good luck with the 10K!!

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meredith May 17, 2013 at 6:09 pm

Given the fact that I fainted and then threw up on my gym teacher back in 9th grade when forced to run a mile for the physical fitness test, it didn’t seem likely I would turn out to be a runner…Hey Mrs. Tirado (my gym teacher), look at me now!
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Kim May 19, 2013 at 10:52 am

Atta girl!

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Amy February 12, 2013 at 2:24 pm

This is exactly how I feel about running. I was 100 pounds overweight and never dreamer I would ever run for even a full minute. Now I do triathlons and am training for my first half marathon. It’s unbelievable what you can do when you push yourself.

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Kim February 13, 2013 at 11:21 am

WOW, good for you Amy!!

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MrsB @ Mind over Matter February 12, 2013 at 9:03 am

Wow. Awesome post. I started running 3 years ago and am totally and utterly hooked and proud to be crazy! :D
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Kim February 12, 2013 at 9:11 am

Atta girl :)

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Britt @ A Life Worth Living February 11, 2013 at 10:27 am

I was a cheerleader in high school so running was considered a punishment for us. I used to be able to run 2 miles with absolutely no problem. When I would try running once I got out of high school I would huff and puff and just give up; it was really disheartening. Recently my boyfriend and I have been training to run for a 5k and every week we run a little longer. A couple weeks ago our challenge was 22 minutes straight and needless to say I was daunted and terrified, but I did it! 22 minutes just flew by and I actually starting crying because I was just so surprised at what my body could do. Running makes me feel strong and like I can take on the world. It just plain makes me feel better.
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Kim February 11, 2013 at 5:02 pm

That’s awesome, Britt, way to go! That’s exactly what I’m talking about–I think there are a LOT of people who’d be surprised at what their bodies can do. Good luck with the 5K!!!

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Kloe @ Running Shoes & Chocolate Mousse February 11, 2013 at 8:59 am

I’m extremely new to the running and racing world!
Last year, I competed in the Nike She Runs the Night race, which was incredible- it was hundreds of women, running in a pack during the night, surrounded by bright, inspiring quotes in lights, DJs… It was not only empowering to run a race, but it specifically celebrated the strength of women all over Sydney!

Now, I’m hooked. I’m so ready to run a half-marathon, and maybe one day a marathon, if I’m crazy enough ;)
It just provides such a sense of achievement, and it’s one of the most challenging things, but it’s so profound when you finish it and you realise you CAN do it.

Kloe xx
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Kim February 11, 2013 at 10:03 am

So true! That race in Sydney sounds AWESOME!! But then, any race (or any THING) in Australia sounds exciting to me! :)

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