Last year I signed up for a race. 100 miles of gravel with some pretty significant climbs. I kinda sorta trained for it, but not like I should have. For my last training ride I rode about half the course. I realized that, while I think I could have finished, it would have been a complete suffer-fest. As race day got closer I agonized over what to do. Finally with my tail between my legs, I bailed. Forfeited the sizable entry fee. No t-shirt, belt buckle, no swag, no bragging rights.
Since then I’ve been getting frequent emails to sign up for this years race. I just got a new email offering a training camp ($$) to help ensure success. I also got notification to enter the lottery for another race that’s always been on my list, the Leadville 100. I’ve agonized over these – wanting to avenge my failure, to prove that I can do it. I’ve gotten my credit card out multiple times, ready to sign up.
What I’ve realized lately is that much of that is about my own personal vanity. The only reason I’m doing it is so I can post on the Facebook and Instagram, giving some self-deprecating comment but secretly wanting all the likes and congrats from the community. But you know what? I’m 53. I don’t give a rats ass any more what people think.
I’m going to keep training hard, riding my bike, running, and being active because I enjoy it – not because I’m trying to prove something. I don’t need a race t-shirt to validate my self worth.
I’m not knocking doing races. If you’ve never run a 10k or a marathon and you need to sign up to have a hard goal to work towards, that’s awesome. Do it! If you’re competitive and actually in the mix racing (as opposed to just trying to finish) then keep after it. I’m not either of those things and I’m ok with that.
I’m still going to work hard. We all have some level of vanity and competitiveness that doesn’t go away. My goal is to be that old guy that passes you on the climb on our local trails. And someday, if I get really crazy in shape and think I can be competitive for my age class… I’ll toe the line again.
But then again, I like beer too much.