I know this sounds odd, as I consider myself a runner. But, really, you should see some of these people, particularly before a race. There are many runners who insist on running before a race. Now, I get the need to warm up, but I usually accomplish that task walking from my car to the starting line. And its not like I run uber competitive races. The 4.6 mile Fourth of July jaunt through Rich-town, MA isn’t exactly the Olympic time trials, people. The tee shirt isn’t even that great.
Which leads me to two of the big reasons why I run races: the tee shirt and the food. The tee shirt is usually ginormous on me (really, a men’s XL does me no good for anything; even J swims in that size). But, every now and then I get a really cool one. The technical shirts are particularly good, since I hate running in cotton, and, really, how many places can you wear a race tee shirt anyways? A close runner up to the technical tee is the elusive long sleeved tee, perfect for covering up after the gym or at the ball game.
The food ranges from water bottles handed out from the back of a pick up truck and maybe a too-yellow banana, to full out breakfasts (guess which one I prefer?) Even a 5K is enough running to justify a good bagel, in my warped little mind. The thing that cracks me up are the people who take not one, but six bagels, or a whole box of 100 calorie packs, as though they can afford the $20 race fee, but not to feed their family for a month. Save some for us slowpokes, please!
But the best race “freebie” is beer. There’s nothing like a cold beer at 11am after a nice five miler to knock you off your ass. Two and you need an Italian Grinder to make it home safely. Three and you’re on the couch for the rest of the afternoon.
During the race itself, you usually have people who run just to run, catch up with friends, see some different scenery, etc. Then there are those who run like its their last race. Its respectable enough to do that, but don’t do it with a jogging stroller nipping at my ankles the whole time, for the love of Jimmy. I usually use races as a break from the monotony of running alone, but sometimes I challenge myself to beat my lame PRs. I like to kick it up a notch at the end of a race, picking different people who have been annoying me to pass right before the finish. On one occasion, a girl flew from out of nowhere to pass me, so I determined that I should pass her skinny butt. I took off after her, and, at that moment, her iPod dropped on the ground. I squelched my desire to laugh out lout as she hightailed it back to retrieve her Nano (if she had a snazzy armband like I do, it wouldn’t have happened) and passed her before the finish line. I just missed making the Olympics. Good thing it wasn’t a qualifying race.