A Tale of Two Races
By: Brad Deel
In the last few weeks I ran two 5K\'s. One would think that two road races on relatively flat courses in hot weather would be fairly similar but that would be mistaken - at least from my perspective.
On Saturday, June 22, I ran in the WV 5K Championships. My goal for that race was entirely time based. I have, for a long time, wanted to run a 5K at faster than a 6:00 pace. I have come close a couple of times but never quite made it. Although my training was not optimal for the race, I spent my time developing my speed. During the race, my focus was entirely on my pace. I didn\'t care what anyone else was doing. Pass me or let me pass. I don\'t care. I care only about my pace. Fortunately, I managed an 18:33 which is a 5:59 pace. As a bonus, I finished second in the 50-54 age group but that was of secondary concern to me.
Contrast that race with the Keyser Independence 5K I ran on July 6. I was spending a few days in Canaan Valley with my family. In 2008, I had just started running and this was my first 5K so it has sentimental value for me and I try to run it every couple of years. Of course, these days I\'m not going to let good mountains go to waste so I did a hard hill workout on Thursday. Beyond the hard hill workout, I wasn\'t mentally ready to lay it all on the line again. My goal in this race was just to run hard, enjoy myself, and hopefully win some age group bling. Mission accomplished with first place in the 50-59 age group with a time of 18:52. Interestingly enough, with a time a full 20 seconds slower than the 5K Championship, I was just as happy. How can that be?
As I mature as a runner (that sounds nicer than \"getting older\"), I have come to realize that we can have very different reasons for running in a race. Sometimes we race to see how fast we can move our bodies \"x\" distance. Sometimes we race just to get out there and make it hurt a bit. Sometimes, we race to compete against others. Sometimes, we race to prove to ourselves we can move our bodies that far. There are all kinds of reasons for showing up early on some Saturday or Sunday morning and running 3.1 miles or 5 miles or 6.2 miles or 13.1 miles or 26.2 miles or 50 kilometers or 50 miles or whatever distance you are racing. The reason is as individual as we are and as long as you are getting off the couch and getting out there, it doesn\'t matter why. What matters is the glorious feeling we get from doing so.
See ya out there.