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Race Magic (Read 632 times)

    Something gfischerj asked me on the striders board has gotten my philosophical temperament working a bit. Why is it that we can run so much faster in races than we do in training? Where does the race magic come from? I'm not sure where it comes from, but I like it, and that's why I race. Here's what the race magic feels like to me: 1. I feel at one with my body. The best races there is no distinction between mind and body. There is no sensation even of "trying." There is just running. Fast running. 2. I feel strong. You know how there are days when you feel like a slug, like you have no energy at all and you don't know why? The race magic is opposite: I don't know where the energy comes from. It just keeps coming. We are reminded by this that we are living beings--and that our energy, our life, is a gift (insert religion of choice). 3. There is a healthy feeling of strife. I'm talking about competition. Most of the time when I'm at odds with my wife, my peers, my friends, my fellow drivers, the tension between us feels unhealthy (see Mike's description of the adult soccer league on another thread). We experience strife between ourselves and the world on a daily basis. The competition of a race allows us to embrace that strife, to make it our own. In a race, it's okay to be faster. It's okay to beat others. It's okay to be beaten. This is a rare occurrence in contemporary life--we can be at one with strife. 4. Risk. The magic only happens when we take a risk. When we go out with the leaders even though the pace is too fast. When we push at mile 13 in the marathon instead of mile 20. When we come through the mile mark too fast and just keep truckin'. The race magic is a feeling of having gambled on yourself--and won. Sometimes we are more than we believe ourselves to be. Races are simple when done right. Good races just happen to us--we don't produce them. And maybe that's because in a race it's okay to let yourself go a bit, to drop for a few minutes all your compulsions, to quit trying to control all the details. For a few moments, it's all about something as simple as letting yourself go, letting your feet fly. Running. It's the race magic. Y'all know what I'm talking about?


    Needs more cowbell!

      I just don't want to be last in my age group. Been there once...never want to be there again. Wink Seriously, though, I think it's a combination of things. I'm usually well-rested before a race, more careful about what I've eaten, extra adrenaline, and that extra incentive of wanting to pass people in front of me. k

      I shoot pretty things! ~

      '14 Goals:

      • 2 olympic distance duathlons -- 6 days apart -- PR at least 1

      • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)

        Why is it that we can run so much faster in races than we do in training?
        I don't get a new t-shirt or a coupon for 25% off sneakers when I train. Smile

        Go to http://certainintelligence.blogspot.com for my blog.

          Alright, so maybe I was being a cheeseball when starting this post, but I guess I'm wondering why folks out there go to races? It can't be the t-shirt; it's cheaper to buy one at the store... Is it the community? Is it to motivate your training? Is it to check your progress? And if so, progress towards what?
          vicentefrijole


            Alright, so maybe I was being a cheeseball when starting this post...
            Not at all... I'm with you on this one! I think all your reasons are the same reasons for me, too... Especially #3 and #4... I think the main reason I like to run races is that it's just plain exciting! (That's why I often run my first mile way too fast...) This excitement is a direct result of the "strife" and "risk" you mentioned. And where else in our lives do we get that kind of excitement? Big grin
            vicentefrijole


              3. There is a healthy feeling of strife. I'm talking about competition. Most of the time when I'm at odds with my wife, my peers, my friends, my fellow drivers, the tension between us feels unhealthy (see Mike's description of the adult soccer league on another thread). We experience strife between ourselves and the world on a daily basis. The competition of a race allows us to embrace that strife, to make it our own. In a race, it's okay to be faster. It's okay to beat others. It's okay to be beaten. This is a rare occurrence in contemporary life--we can be at one with strife.
              I like this idea a lot.. Cool
              bas


                Even though I don't always feel strong while racing (and don't have a religion to insert) I recognize what you write. It's all of that. Greatest of the magic moments: Just before the start, while everyone is standing together and there is building tension and camaraderie at the same time - and every outcome is possible. This is one of the things that keep me coming back. bas

                52° 21' North, 4° 52' East

                  bas--Nice. I like that moment, too. A nice encounter with the unknown, as you say: "every outcome is possible." It's rare and kind of strange to stand together with strangers and feel united in a kind of positive anxiety. Good stuff.
                    Races are simple when done right. Good races just happen to us--we don't produce them. And maybe that's because in a race it's okay to let yourself go a bit, to drop for a few minutes all your compulsions, to quit trying to control all the details. For a few moments, it's all about something as simple as letting yourself go, letting your feet fly. Running.
                    Nailed it. Well said.

                    Runners run.

                      I really enjoyed reading that, Jeff. Thanks.

                      Roads were made for journeys...