I live in New York State, which means that for five months out of the year, the weather is wonderful and for the other seven months, it’s brutal. So, for those five months during which I can actually run outside*, I try to do so as often as I can.
Running outside also means running in races. If you’re a runner and you’ve never run in a local race, try it sometime. I started running shorter races because I knew I wanted to eventually run a half marathon and thought I should get some racing experience before going to a big event with 3,000 other runners.
Thing is, I got hooked. Now I run every race I can find during those five decent months. I’ve only been racing since Thanksgiving 2005 (my first 5K “turkey trot”), but since then I’ve run about six races, including a half marathon, and I have races scheduled for pretty much every weekend over the next month.
What’s fun about racing is that you have a purpose for running. You can train for specific race distances, and shoot for a particular finish time. Or just go to have fun. Most of the races I run in are sponsored by charities, so your money is going for a good cause — and it’s tax deductible. Plus, you usually get a free tee shirt. How cool is that?
This weekend I’ll be running in a 5 mile race in Bronxville, NY. I’m going to check out the course today, inserting it in the middle of a long run. Last weekend, I raced in a 10K in Congers, NY (Rockland Country). It was a nice, flat race around a big lake (although a bit windy). I was very happy with my time, as my goal was to finish in under 53 minutes. I came in at 50:53. That’s over four minutes faster than my first 10K, which I ran in February. Training really does work (and a flat course helps). I also came in third in my age/gender group. Yay!
*Soon enough, I’ll be stuck inside on my treadmill, doing my runs while watching the paint fade.
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