A Little Extra Motivation

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This topic contains 18 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  ksrunner 11 years, 1 month ago.

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  • #6492

    ksrunner
    Participant

    This past weekend, I ran my first race since January. In the intervening months, I have lost fitness as I allowed work demands to take precedence over running. Overall, I felt that it was a decent race. I won my age group (35-39 is a relatively weak age group in this area) and more importantly, I passed someone in the last half mile and successfully fended off their bid to pass me in the last 100m. I even got up on my toes for the final kick. I didn't know I had that in me.

    After the race, however, I heard two comments that will provide some motivation for awhile.

    The winner of the race, a college kid said, “I wish that there had been someone here to race.” (Judging by the reaction, that comment ruffled a lot of feathers in the group.)

    The next day, my wife said, “It's a good thing that they have age group awards.”

    It is nice to have a little extra motivation for the next few weeks of training. I am thinking of printing those quotes and hanging them on my cube wall here at work. In my mind, I still have several years that I can contend at these smaller races and perhaps at somewhat larger races if I do a better job at maintaining work/life balance when work demands go up.

    Enjoy running,

    Steve

  • #23329

    ed
    Participant

    Those are good points of motivation – how close were you to the “no one to race” guy?  I hope that you were close enough that you can edge him out next year!

  • #23330

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    Sometimes, those seemingly trivial quotes can be a huge motivator. I've been on both sides of that quote by the winner so, while I know where it can come from, I also know how it can feel to hear it (which is why I'm always careful to not vocalize that viewpoint, even if I'm thinking it). Also, my feeling in a couple of recent races of “at least I did well in the age group” was a double edged sword. Yes, it's nice that I can beat the guys who are roughly in the same stage of their lives as I am but I don't want to win or do well in some arbitrarily decided upon competition within a competition, I want to win or do well overall.

    Whether or not you hang those quotes on to the wall, hang on to them. Next year, return to the race, give that guy the competition he wanted, and get an overall placing that leaves the concern over age groups a non-issue.

  • #23331

    ksrunner
    Participant

    Ed, To be honest, this year I was about 1:10 behind him and never a threat. There were 5 or 6 people between us. His complaint was definitely valid. The truth hurts. In this case, that is probably where the motivation lies. I know that I am capable of running as fast or faster than the time he posted. I just need to put in the training to support it.

    Ryan, I probably won't literally hang the quotes on the wall, but I will remember them. Hopefully I will also remember not to make similar remarks if I am fortunate enough to be able to run away from everyone in a race again. Whether it is that race or another, the next time I am better prepared for a race and competing with a college kid, it will likely have a bit more significance for me.

    The only time I remember saying something that could have been a huge motivator for the competition, was just before a high school cross country race. I was talking to a friend and rival from another school. As we were parting, he said, “See you at the finish line.” and without thinking, replied, “I'll be waiting for you.” Generally, I am not such a cocky person, but I had a fair amount of confidence going into that season and I suppose that it leaked out. The words were definitely out of my mouth before I knew what I was saying. I was embarassed that I said it, but my teammates loved it.

    I also recall another instance where the announcer at the road race in the town where I live told us all to follow the local high school star who was just back from his first year at college. He had won the race the previous year (when I wasn't there). I had won two years prior. He recognized me as competition if not by name and I could tell that he was embarassed by the announcer's proclamation. Nevertheless, it did provide a bit of extra motivation for me.

    Thinking of old races when I was faster has me excited to run fast again.

  • #23332

    GTF
    Member

    I cannot recall the last time I placed much value at all in any age group award I may have “achieved”, in fact I usually avoid putting my age down on race entries since I am uninterested in such things.  I want to finish in front of as many people as possible, it matters not what the age or even the gender of those runners might be.  Regarding the college runner's utterance, it is likely nothing more than a statement of the obvious and it is more a reflection on his poor research in choosing a race that would offer him meaningful competition than anything else.  All one has to do is look up results online for the past few years of the race; if it has been won in 18:XX in recent years and one is looking to run, say, sub-16 and there is no enticing prize to be had (i.e. cherry-picking) then find/wait for a race that typically features a better field.  Winning is always fun, who could ever get to the point of not enjoying it?  This must be a by-product of the seemingly prevalent mindset that has more of a focus on stats than on actual, true competition.

  • #23333

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    Winning is always fun, who could ever get to the point of not enjoying it?

    Sure it is but it's not always that fun to win by, say, 2 minutes. It's more fun to win a well fought race than it is to run away from everyone. Running away from the competition can definitely feel like a hollow victory. I've been in some races where it didn't even really feel like a race because I didn't even see anyone after the second step and didn't have anyone near me after 50 yards.

  • #23334

    GTF
    Member

    Winning is always fun, who could ever get to the point of not enjoying it?

    Sure it is but it's not always that fun to win by, say, 2 minutes. It's more fun to win a well fought race than it is to run away from everyone. Running away from the competition can definitely feel like a hollow victory. I've been in some races where it didn't even really feel like a race because I didn't even see anyone after the second step and didn't have anyone near me after 50 yards.

    That was actually covered by earlier comments in the message post.  In this day and age, one has oneself to thank for that unless one is too dense to figure out how to research past results for the race.  8)

  • #23335

    Chris
    Member

    Not many local races here have online results.  Sure the races in the Twin Cities do for the most part, but not all there either. 

    Around here there is no way to know your competition.  I've had races where someone from the cities shows up and crushes the field and other times when I'd expect competion and there is none. 

    Heck one year I ran an invitional mile on the track that I won in 4:37 the prior year.  I think the same time that year would have been 7th place with the winner in 4:15.  YIKES. 

    I'm running a 5K tomorrow.  With the shape I'm in I'll feel it out.  There is as good a chance of 19 minutes winning as there is 16:00.  You never know.  I just wish I was still in 16 or better shape 🙂

  • #23336

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    Not only do some races go up and down in single years. In other cases, a race that has been historically strong will suddenly be down for a year or two for no apparent reason. Also, at least around here, most races have results online but the only thing you can find for some are last year's results or even just last year's winning time, which can be deceptive at times, and some don't have any online presence other than being listed in a race calendar or two.

    True, if you are really searching out a race with top level competition, you should be able to find it by looking for the bigger races that have a proven history of fast winning times and deep fields. However, if you're just looking for a tune-up race, various factors may keep you doing whatever is available on a given day and hoping for the best. Of course, if you do so, you should understand the risk associated.

  • #23337

    Anne
    Member

    As Chris mentioned, where you live & the field size of area races means quite often there are no previous race results. Of course, that also means you tend to see the same faces at each race & already know the competition.
    With a couple of exceptions, the area races I run don't post race results online.

    Life in Small Town WI.

  • #23338

    GTF
    Member

    Most any established race that regularly features a more competitive field will have online race results by now, at least in the developed western world. 

  • #23339

    ed
    Participant

    Even being 1:10 behind does not mean that you can be a threat next year – he could face the same issues of work/family and life in general getting in the way and face a major loss of speed at which a moderate gain by you could put you out front.

    Unless some one is a professional runner (paid to run) ((don't I wish)) there can be major ups and downs – although it would be less likely for a college kid. 

    A race could have the same runners in two consecutive years and yet have very different results.

    I say train to improve – and see what life brings you and those that were ahead of you.

  • #23340

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    Most any established race that regularly features a more competitive field will have online race results by now, at least in the developed western world. 

    Not necessarily. A lot of small town races, whether competitive or not, don't post results. My hometown race back when I was high school nearly every year featured a sub-21 (4 mile) winning time and would on occasion feature a sub-20 finishing time. Back in the only year I won it (~20:50) that was one of the slowest winning times you would see at that race. I can't say for sure whether or not it still gets winning times in that range because it doesn't post results online. I know of dozens of other equally competitive races from that area that likewise don't post online results.

  • #23341

    GTF
    Member

    Yes necessarily.  It is a rule, but not one that is purportedly without exceptions.

  • #23342

    Anne
    Member

    Count me among those living in that part of the western world that is apparently underdeveloped.

  • #23343

    GTF
    Member

    Will do.  8)

  • #23344

    GTF
    Member

    I say train to improve – and see what life brings you and those that were ahead of you.

    Yes, the only training (and thus rate of improvement) that one really has any control over is one's own.  Prepare as well as one can with what one has where one is and then let the chips fall where they may on race day, with neither excuses for nor disappointment in what may result.

  • #23345

    sueruns
    Member

    😀  I've said dumber things.

    “I thought I could win today, when I lined up, I saw the fast women weren't here”

    It's pretty bad to insult yourself and your competitors in one sentence.  The club coach was  😮 “did you really say that??” 

  • #23346

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    “I thought I could win today, when I lined up, I saw the fast women weren't here”

    It's pretty bad to insult yourself and your competitors in one sentence.   The club coach was  😮 “did you really say that??”

    LOL! Probably not the best thing to say out loud, though I've found myself at least thinking similar things at times. Maybe that's why I'm so quiet at races. Don't want to give anyone extra motivation or insult myself.

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