As many, when you started endurance racing the goal was to finish. That was a smart goal, in the first race.
- At my first Half, it was to Finish. I finished in 2:11:54
- At my first Full, it was to Finish. I finished in 4:46:54
Not bad, for the first try or as many say, "not bad for a woman of your age"
At ET this past Summer, I finished in an embarrassing 6 hours. My body had failed me and to say I had an off day was an understatement. I take no pride nor joy in knowing I "finished" that race.
It wasn't about the Finish time it's knowing I could of done better with my body and it would of shown a better time. Had it been a more difficult course, on a trail in the middle of Summer - I could of accepted that 6 hour finish, but it wasn't.
There is a sad belief that if you push yourself for a specific finish time, you are not having fun at your race. That couldn't be farthest from the truth! Some of my favorite races are when I pushed myself and everything clicked. For those who choose to run 6-7 hour Full Marathons and point fingers at those who are sub5 or sub4 and claim we are not having fun - you are very wrong, so wrong. Ask any runner who runs a sub5 or sub4 and I am going to bet, they are having fun. "Fun" is not decided on the costume you wear or if you stop and take pictures along the course. Fun is very personable, but it isn't defeated because someone has a specific time goal.
I never started running (in 2010) to be a racer. Racing found me. I never went into racing with a "let's see what I can do" - the object was and still is, to give it my all. Anything less is a waste of my money, time and resources.
Now, don't take me wrong - I enjoy acknowledging at other runners on the course, but I am not stopping to take pictures or other antics along the race course. I know I am an oddball and many of my fellow runners wish me to just "have fun" but again - allow me to emphasize, I am having a blast while I am racing! The faster I can get it done - the faster I can relax, celebrate and be a part of everyone else's Finish Line experience.
I am no longer satisfied "just to finish the race" or do the distance. I can do distance on a training run and I don't have to register for a thing - I have grown way beyond that. I want to be the best *I* can perform on that race day, considering my health, the course & weather. The clock isn't my indicator of success but my intensity is my measure of success. If I can finish a race with the knowledge, that I have my best on that particular day, I am successful.
So, the next time you see me at a race and I happen not to wave or stop to take a picture - please don't take a offense. I am staying focused on my goals and why I am at the event - to run. We have plenty of time to party & take pictures after the race.
I am not satisfied with an ordinary Finish...I want a Strong & Solid Finish. Quality vs Quantity. Whatever the Finish clock says, so be it...but, I will not allow my body to do any less than Quality in 2013. Everyone has to find their Quality - find it and achieve it! You can do it!
(c) C. Ragsdale 2010-12
Charlene L. Ragsdale - Las Vegas, NV
*Sponsored Brand Ambassador for RobKellerMD.com
*San Francisco Marathon Ambassador 2012-13
RRCA Certified Running Coach, IFA Certified Sports Nutritionist & Public Speaker
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