I have come to the realization that I suffer from race envy – the desire to run the races my friends are able to run. I believe my battle with race envy began more than a year ago. I started running with a few ladies and when I say running, I mean struggling to keep up while they ran ahead of me. All the while, in between gasps for air and painful side stitches, I would think “I wanna run like them.” Each week I would continue to run, pushing harder and harder building speed and endurance. These workouts and runs were coupled with words of encouragement from my friends to sign up for a local half marathon (of course, they were running the full marathon) but I wasn’t ready to push it just yet. My diabolical plan, i.e. training, would take more time. I let that local marathon pass me by but the race bug had already bit me something hard.
So at the beginning of this year, I decided would finally run a half marathon. I had a few 2-milers and 5Ks under my belt but I wanted to experience the high of running long and collecting race swag (something I’ll cover in a future post). My friends were running the Santa Cruz Half Marathon in April and I didn’t want to be left behind. I registered for the race and trained hard. When race weekend arrived, I was ready for our road trip which included lots of girl talk, running talk and eating. I ran my first half meeting my modest goal of 2:15. On the ride back home, I thought “This is what I was missing. I want to do this again. When can I do this again?” Right then 2009 became my year of half marathons. Our next race was the San Francisco Marathon (just the first half), which goes across the Golden Gate Bridge. Yet another great race experience. I set a new PR of 2:10 on an extremely hilly course. My husband even surprised me by coming to the race.
My high dampened two weeks later when I learned I would be moving to another region of the country derailing our great race plans (or at least my immediateability to participate in them). This weekend I should be running the Long Beach International City Bank Half Marathon with my girls. Instead I’ll be cheering them on from afar. Thanking them for the gift they gave me – race envy.
For me, my bout with race envy has been inspirational. I didn’t wish my friends harm or want them to fail. Instead my envy pushed me to run harder and longer and develop friendships that will last despite the miles that now separate us. I know we will run together again one day so I won’t let my race envy die. I gotta keep running and training until we meet again.
Race envy is truly a gift. Do you suffer from race envy? How has it impacted your running?