That is the question facing me as the weekend approaches. Shall I run the Petersburg Half Marathon again? I've already run it 3 times. I am familiar -- very familiar -- with the course. But do I really need to do it again? Plus, the forecast looks like rain.
To race or not to race?
What makes runners run? It's not because we have nothing else to do. I think I run for many reasons, including:
1. It allows me time to enjoy my surroundings and their Creator.
2. It allows me time to think.
3. It allows me time to be alone for an hour or longer.
4. It allows me time to see whether or not I am a coward and what I can endure.
5. It gives me a chance to push myself.
For many of us, running has become a way of taking charge of our lives. Running, as I see it, is one of the best "therapies" out there. I am by nature a competitive person. And competing in a race is a socially acceptable outlet for that trait. I need a means of physical self-measurement. And a race is perfect for that. Doing one's absolute best becomes the criterion.
Running in races had made this plain to me. All around me are other people engaged in the same struggle. They are pushing themselves as hard as I am. We are driven by our need to do our best, even if we finish at the back of the pack (as I usually do). For those few moments, we become the equal of everyone else out there on the course. Winning is, essentially, being able to say "I didn't quit." At the end of the race, everyone has done their dead-level best.
The true competition is, and always will be, within myself.