Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Running, not Racing

I'm in the midst of convincing my older sister to take up running. I think it seems to be working. Of course, it is easier to convince someone who's been in this family long enough. Ever since I got bitten by the 'running events' bug, I have converted my dad, my male cousin and then his sister, who is my closest cousin. (My bestfriend is running with me at a later race in the year too.) My sister probably have seen it all. She's seen me in running gears ever since we were kids. I think she was the one who gave me my 'Running Log for Dummies' when I was 13... awww I still remember that.

If I remember correctly, she was the one who told me that one of her goals for 2005 was to participate in a running event, just for fun. And I was estatic since I've been running anyway, but when she went to the registration kiosk it was surrounded by old Indian uncles looking hardcore and she felt intimidated and left without signing up. There went her chance, and apparently, mine.

This time though, I've vowed to make this a simple and enjoyable experience for her. I started by telling her about races I deem as beginner friendly and easy (trans: loads of other newbie runners as well, friendly atmosphere, nice goodie bags, etc). We settled on a few easy 5k 'fun run' distance. On some of the races she signed up for, I told her I'm going to run - no, walk+run - with her. For a start, I'm sponsoring her first running shoe. My goal is for her to think of running as a healthy lifestyle, not a requisite to lose weight.

Helping her to learn to love running makes me think about my own relationship with running. It's funny since my running has been pretty inconsistent lately, in fact it is borderline non-existent, and I'm telling her about the benefits or running, the best routes to run, how to fight the laziness, etc. And then it comes again to me, what I'll always know: I love running.

Yep, I really do, but it's not like what you think. I love running running, not just racing, or competing, or running events. To be honest the past one year my perspective of running has been warped a little bit. It has gotten too technical, at least, to me. All these do's and don'ts, the rigid schedules, the pressure to get PBs. Don't get me wrong, I agree with all of these and acknowledge the benefits of running with a sound knowledge. One should never crash into running only to burn out at the end.

I was having a conversation with a friend today and for no apparent reason I blurted out that I'm a bit nervous about the upcoming race. I told him that I think I'm way underprepared and I'm starting to get a tingling of nervousness settling around my tummy. Then he put me straight. He said, "Well, you've never really cared about competing before, why worry now?" And I went, EXACTLY. I've never really cared about racing, I only wanted to run. I could do it with or without the bib. I've never really ran a race (or any sporting event) where I have trained at least 40% before and I always, somewhat managed to hang through it. There were instances I had to drop out or didn't manage to finish it (karate being one) but mostly I just completed the races with really bad timing, or mostly one of the last runners (track team in high school! I remember those days of beating the last runner!!)

I guess it's just the way I am. It's not that I'm not competitive, I'm just not into competitions. I realize that I'm way more relaxed when I'm totally unprepared than when I have trained for one race. Because I never had goals in my sport. My goal was always to enjoy it as much as I could in the midst of all the suffering, and if possible, take the race home. If I completed it faster, way to go, if I got slower and slower, serves me right. Yes, sometimes in the middle of running I always wish I had more time to train, or those "If ONLY I did more..." moments, and most definitely I'd try to beat the person in front of me, and then the next and then the next, but I do it without the pressure of having to perform. I'm not an athlete - I'm just someone in love with working out.

I will always be a beginner runner, an amateur.

I do not know what to expect for this race. Most probably I'll end up dumping it halfway and cheering for my friends. At the same time, I'll probably be having a hard time fighting with my own self on trying to just push through until the end. The perks of having split personalities.

But one thing I know, the celebration of this race would be mine, all mine to keep. Other than the readers of this blog, no one knows the fact that I'll be running this distance. I think I might have mentioned it to my boyfriend, and maybe my dad, but the both of them, and my family as well, couldn't be bothered with my race addiction. None of my friends (except my bestfriend) have the slightest idea of the races I've done, be it on wheels, in the water, with an opponent, or just on my two legs. They know I run, and that I'm crazy with sports, but the glory, pride and euphoria of doing all of these crazy activities has always been known only to me. And that's just the way I like it.

All that being said - I miss running! My favorite running blogger has started writing again after a LONG hiatus which left me deprived of her minute-by-minute detail of her running escapades. Her first entry after 7 weeks was about starting over, and I could just feel my legs moving under my desk.

On a different note at work: It's not yet official but it's in the bag (more or less, I hope): I got in the Turkmenistan project! I'm going to be busy busy busy busy busy but all the more reason to work out work out work out! No excuses, only sore loserrrsss.


  1. U are not alone nadia...lot of others running for passion..not for glory.

  2. Ziff: yes of course... the RBUs for example!!

  3. Ziff, nadia: wish I can run for glory, but dah tua nie, run for passion jer laa

  4. Come to think of it, RBU sounds so robust and so rugby lah: Rugby Boys United, Rugged Boys United... or alamak! Rakan Belia United awww!

  5. zaki: we need a new, more glamorous moniker for the group.

  6. sorry nadia, my comment yesterday was not complete because my colleague was hovering around.

    what I wanted to say was I think one shouldn't be a beginner forever. You must be good enough to teach/coach others someday. You don't want to stay in Standard One forever right? I know its fun at this level and there's no pressure. But its human nature to want to learn and try to improve so that at the end of the day, if we fail (or DNF) we can say we have done our best.

    Being great is a lot of hard work. But it can be fun.