I just want to run. Put the obstacles aside please
I had the following conversation with a buddy of mine a few months ago:
“When are you going to be a real man and run the race I am running?” He asks me. I smile back, tryng hard not to be mad. We were just talking about me getting ready to run a marathon when he unloaded this gem to me.
“What race is that?” I ask back
“The Spartan Race” He responds
“Thats what one of those obstacle style course races, yeah? I hear they are cool, but just nor for me”
“Too expensive” I fire back, trying to end this conversation because I know where its going. usually telling people something is too expensive is a good way to get them to back off. “Its like 80, ninety bucks”
“Well I find a deal and got it for 60. You should do it”
“I dont have that kind of cash dude, thats not enough dollar per mile” I say, tying to make a joke. It goes over like a lead balloon. I can see him start to get testy. I think about how to defuse the situation and end it amicably. Too Late
“You’re so negative man. I dont even want to sit next to you. Sometimes you just have to live a little and…” I stop listening at this point because I have heard this tirade/lecture several times before. Im already composing the pissed off text Im sending to my friends. Finally, Im pissed off enough t say something directly.
“Look, why I am negative just because I dont like the same things you do. Even if I had the cash to pay for that race. I would rather spend it on another half marathon/marathon man. Sorry”
The conversation ends at this point. He goes on thinking Im negative. I go on knowing Im not. Knowing that what I finally told him at the end was the exact truth. Give me a hundred bones to run any race and I am not running any obstacle course race. Im going running. Im hitting a halfie, Im finding a doable trail race, Im searching for a full. Hell $100? Im looking for the next ultra. Obstacle course race? Uh, just not for me.
Obstacle course races are everywhere these days. Just flip through the pages of any running magazine, look at the advertisements on any running site, skim the races on active and they are freaking everywhere. Their titles are so much fun to say out loud- The Spartan Race, Warrior Dash, Tough Mudder, Mud Crusade, Monster Challenges- that they draw you right to them.
On several separate occasions I have had people feel me out about my interest about one. I always tell them no on the grounds of expense. This is true, unless you sign up really early or in a big group (dont really have one) they tend to be pricey. With reason, the set up for these races must be crazy. But expense is honeslty half the reason. I just dont have a strong desire to compete in these races. Although they are certainly amazing challenges, I just dont find a strong attraction towards them.
I love to run, I absolutely love to run. I think sometimes people invite me to these races because they think that my passion for running is only about fitness or accomplishment. In other words, they think the only reason I run is because I am trying to stay in shape and trying to do well in races. Nobody really likes to run do they? Its so boring? Its long? Its so… It so… Woudnt you much rather compete in an action packed afternoon of ferocious fitness obstacle challenges to prove you are in shape. Isnt tha really more fun then 13.1 miles as a hot sun rises?
The answer for me is no. Most certainly no. I would simply rather run. While fitness is a big part of my running and accomplishment is also a piece of why I love running, they are far from the only reasons I run. Somewhere along the line at the beginning, I realized how much I truly enjoyed the overall experience of running and that it had moved beyond being a hobby to keep into shape into a full fledged passion. I remember thinking during the Dunedin Midnight 10k how much fun I was having because I was RUNNING. I was not surviving the distance, I was weaving around people, enjoying the race, breathing hard, and totally enjoying myself. That was the first time I felt like a runner, and not just someone who runs occasionally. Every since then, my dedication to running has shot into the stratosphere. With it my desire to compete in those obstacle style races has disappeared.’
Dont get me wrong- sign me up, and pay for one thats close to where I live and Ill go and give it a whirl. Provided there is no real running race that is available that day. Also dont get me wrong, Im not implying that these events are not fun are worthwhile. People really enjoy themselves at these events and seem to revel in the thrill. I cant imagine how difficult it is from a fitness standpoint to. It must require tons of strength, power, agility, and speed. Go for it then. Do all of them I say, if thats what you like. Just dont be incredulous when I turn down the offer to join you. Please do believe me when I tell you I would rather just be running. Please do believe me when I tell you that I find the mental and physical challenge of endurance race a way more enjoyable thrill than those races. Please please please belive me when I tell you how much I enjoy running.
Ask a hardcore basketball player if he wants to do an event with an obstacle course on the court or just plain, ball. Most basketball purists and players would select to just to play the game. I feel that way about running. I dont need the obstacles. A good endurance race has it challenge built into its distance, its elevation, its twists, its turns, its field, its temperature, etc. Its all there for me. There are thousands of running races out there. I havent even begun to scratch the surface of whats available to me. Each day I find out about more and more. More and more go in the bucket list. So many great footraces, so little time, so little freaking money. See my point? There just is no space in that bucket for hyped obstacle courses with some running on the side. When it comes to races, I need to focus I what I want to accomplish. On what I love. That is running and only running
Enjoy your run. Enjoy your day :0