Yesterday's Washington Post Magazine had an article about a 51-year old who underwent intensive marathon training by a professional (a university track and field coach), and it got me thinking about the motivation behind entering and running marathons and other road races.
I have been running casually for six years now, and I have never entered a race, not even a 5K. And I have no desire to. I've considered it at various times, especially as I got faster and began to enjoy running, rather than seeing it as simply a way to lose weight. But I don't like running with other people. I don't even like coming across other runners in the neighborhood while I'm out running!
I know, this makes me sound very anti-social, but I don't think that's it. Running has become a meditative activity for me, especially since I ditched the ipod. Even on the rare occasions I take the ipod along -- usually to get rid of some annoying song I have stuck in my head -- I still find that I really THINK while I'm running, and think pretty clearly. It's truly my "alone time." And if I'm with someone else, I don't think it would be the same solitary experience.
I also found somewhat alarming the descriptions in the Post article about the race itself and some runners' experiences. Projectile vomiting at mile 13? That would pretty much be the end of the race for me! That's not to diminish the achievement of those who train and race and finish, but there are some of us who love to run, and who are very competetive, but don't have any interest in running a race.