But what happens when that bling love goes too far? Signing up for too many races in a season puts you at greater risk for injury.
I've become the poster child for this little phenomenon.
Last winter, I decided the Bayshore Half Marathon would be my goal race for the year. I would train to run a 2:15 and knock 12 minutes off my half PR - a very good goal coming off of the stress reaction that put me in a boot during the previous spring.
Then I found some other races, not short races mind you, but other half marathons and a 25k. I told myself I would run each of them "as a training run". That "my schedule says 10 miles so I might as well run 13.1" and "hey look, I have 14 on the schedule so I might as well run 15.5 and earn some bling." Then, I didn't exactly stop racing after Bayshore either. I PR'd the crap out of a 10k and 8k, plus finished my first 200 mile relay this summer. *insert head smack here*
I learned something very important about myself this year. I am incapable of running a race as a training run. There. I said it. I cannot NOT race. My first half marathon "training run"? I ran a 2:10. I completely crushed my goal race time nearly 8 weeks before my goal race. I am too competitive (even though I'm not fast enough to have any hope of placing much less winning). I see people and I want to turn them to road kill. I see numbers on my Garmin and I want to smash them. I want to set PR after PR after PR.
Now I'm doing this:
Yes, that would be a taped up foot because my heel/achilles are PISSED and an ice bath because my hip and knee are also fraked up. I have a half marathon scheduled this Sunday that I signed up for as part of a big girls weekend. I knew this was only 2 weeks after the relay but I couldn't say "no".
I'll be honest. I'm dreading the running aspect of the race. I'm nursing aches and pains that wouldn't have developed if I was training properly. Sh*t is hurting that has never hurt before. The course is hilly and that's going to aggravate the injuries I already have. I'm completely undertrained to run 13.1 miles because I'm pushing the limits on some potentially serious injuries and haven't taken enough time off between races to heal up. I'm telling myself that my pace doesn't matter and I'm only running this for fun...but we can see how THAT usually goes for me.
So, please let this be a lesson to all of you. Don't be like me and think you can race every two weeks for months on end because you want to fill up your medal hanger. Don't tell yourself "it's only a training run" when you know you're going to go out and try to crush it. Stick to your training plan and listen to your body. Take time off between races. I'm going to try very hard to follow my own advice from now on. No more long races in the middle of training cycles. If I want to race something, I'll look for a nice 5k or 10k. I want to be a runner for life, not just a runner for 2013. I want the same for all of you.
So tell me, have you ever found yourself in this situation? Do you have as much trouble as I do NOT racing during a race?