Running Loyalty and Favorite Races

“Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming what you thought you couldn’t do.

Everyone has those things to which he/she is loyal. A restaurant, brand of shoes, type of toothpaste, nutrition shop – there are likely several things on your list, even if you don’t always think about them. What about races?

I personally have some strong race loyalties. First, the Fargo Marathon. This was the first race I ever ran, first half marathon and first full marathon. It’s a great race and the course is a little different every year so it’s one I’ve run every year for the past nine (planning on the big 10 year anniversary in May!). Same with the YoungLife Triathlon. Great event, perfect setting for a tri and, again, my first triathlon. Makes it kind of special to me, a race I enjoy and one I like to support every year.

Roger-Maris-61-For-61-Run

First-ever running award!

The race I’m running this coming Saturday is one of those special ones. Aside from the fact it supports the Roger Maris Cancer Center in Fargo, it’s the race where I earned my first running award (third place age group). I’ve run it every year since the first time, except one year when College Game Day came to Fargo – I couldn’t pass up the chance to see that in person!

Anyway, back to my first running award. Taking home an award did more than give me something for my office shelf. It gave me the competitive spark and the confidence to think, maybe I could run fast.

See, when I first began running, I started with a half marathon. After years of being overweight, smoking and doing numerous other things that weren’t great for my body, mind or soul, the idea of finishing 13.1 miles was an incredible accomplishment in itself. There was no way that I could be a fast runner, just being a runner was a huge deal for me – and that’s what I told myself. So, without ever trying to run fast, I convinced myself that I was just an endurance runner and I wasn’t fast. Again, I never even tried to be fast. I just always told myself I wasn’t. I mean, come on. Wasn’t it enough that I could run for an extended period of time? Who did I think I was? Trying to be fast…come on!

Well, that race showed me that, maybe I could run faster than I thought. I had the distance thing down; maybe, if I just tried pushing myself a little bit, I could run a little faster. “Fast” forward a few years later, a few more awards later and I now confidently consider myself a fast runner. And I love it. I love pushing myself with speed work and sprints. I love lining up for a race with the intention of finishing in the top 10, top three or even first.

I’m really looking forward to Saturday’s race and putting up my best showing possible. Unlike years past, I’m not shooting for the first place overall finish. The August heat and humidity have both been really tough on me and I haven’t logged as many outdoor tempo runs as I would normally like to prep for a race win. But I’m excited to do what I know I can do now – run fast!

Runners, triathletes, OCRers: do you have race loyalty? Are there certain races you always run? Why? Comment or tweet me @runlikeagirl311 on Twitter.

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