10-23-2014

Why Do Runners Pay To Run?

Before writing this, I did a Google search to see what would pop up if you type, “Why do runners…” I thought it was pretty funny :)

runners

I’ve gotten the question, “Why would you pay to run??” a lot over the years. My BF just doesn’t understand haha. I bet most non-runners don’t get it. I mean why WOULD you pay hundreds of dollars to run 13.1 or 26.2 miles? Or even hundreds of dollars each year in 5K or other race registration fees? You’re literally paying to run a few miles! Crazy right?

Well, I obviously don’t think so, since I run race ;) So I wanted to talk about why pay to run, and what it means to me. I actually got the inspiration from I Heart Running, since she wrote up reasons why she pays to run. Here are my reasons:

  1. It holds me accountable. Registering for a big race like a half marathon or marathon gives me a goal to work towards. Without a race goal I really lose motivation. After NYC Marathon last year I had no race goal and just wanted time off. I didn’t end up running much at all. I was going to the gym and lifting regularly, but when it comes to running I need something to work towards.
  2. I can’t run race pace on my own. Might sound silly, but if I go out and say, okay I’m going to run my own 5K and see if I can break my PR…it definitely won’t happen. There’s something about running a race with a bunch of other people pulling you along that helps me run faster than I ever would on my own. Does anyone else feel that way?
  3. The experience. I want the New York City Marathon experience. And maybe next year the Chicago Marathon experience. One day maybe Boston. Sure it’s super expensive but some people choose to spend their money on vacations to other countries, and I choose to spend it on races that I can experience and also remember forever. I love that I can say I run with my mom and that we can have all these race memories together.
     oakley-10k
  4. The challenge. I love challenging myself and working towards new goals. Races allow me to test my fitness and see how far I’ve come. In strength training, people log PRs when it comes to how much weight they’re lifting. And in running, we run races to set PRs. Over and over again ;)
  5. The community. This is one of the more important reasons for me. I’ve written about the running community a couple of times, and this is really one of the main aspects that I love. Whether a runner or a spectator, this community supports runners of all levels. Runners are a friendly bunch and you can always make some new friends at a race. Who else can you talk to about bloody toenails, port-a-potty woes, etc? :) And spectators are who really get me through races. Like I’ve said a million times, spectators are what made the NYC Marathon experience magical for me.

So how about you? Why do you pay to run? (or bike, or swim?) Do you ever get asked that question?

 *****************************

Follow Reach Your Peak:

06-17-2014

The Untold Story: Race Spectators

Whenever we read race recaps, we read about the course, what the runner thought of the race or the organization, the conditions, whether it was a bad day or not…and sometimes we read about the spectators. 

I really got a chance to feel the power of race spectators during the 2013 New York City Marathon, and randomly was thinking about this yesterday, which is why I wanted to write about it. I know I’ve written about how much I love the running community a few times now, but I wanted to focus this post on the spectators.

My Personal Cheering Squad

As runners preparing for a marathon, we sacrifice a lot. We train for 16-20 weeks. We get up early for long runs. We miss out on fun events because we need to sleep. But spectators sacrifice a lot too! The day of the marathon, my brother, sister, dad and boyfriend woke up at 5 am with my mom and me to head to New York. We got there around 7 am, and our race didn’t start until 10:50 am. They had to entertain themselves and wait around for over 3 hours!

Once the race started it was GO time. While we were trekking our way through the boroughs, they were navigating the subways. Squeezing onto packed subways in order to make it to where they said they would be. They were running around making sure we would see them. And all that for what? 30 seconds or less as we ran past them and said hi? But regardless, they smiled, they cheered, they made signs for us.

marathon-sign

We did miss them at a stop once, but instead of complaining they just got right back on the subway and went to the next stop. Since they missed us, that meant waiting extra at the next stop around mile 22. Once again, we saw them, said hi, and kept going on. Since they were at mile 22, that meant they had to book it to the finish if they were going to see us in Columbus Circle. We saw them right before the finish, and then finally finished those 26.2 miles. But the day wasn’t over yet. They still had to wait for us to get our medals, get our bags, and somehow get back to West 63rd street from West 81st street (almost 1 mile away). But they waited patiently.

Once we got to our meeting location, we were able to take family photos and recap our day. 

They were troopers, and what the spirit of the marathon also entails. It’s not just about us runners, but also about those who support us. Who get up early right there with us. Who run around all over the place to get pictures of us, see us for 30 seconds, hand us our GU or extra water. But then there are also the strangers…

The Other Spectators

I want to thank ALL race spectators here. You cheer on random strangers. You scream your heart out and pump up the runners. This is what got me through those 26.2 miles in New York. Every step of the way my mom and I heard our names being yelled. At one point a chant was started by a group, “PATTY…AND TINA! PATTY…AND TINA!” It was awesome. When we got into Central Park, I stopped to walk. A group started cheering my name and as I slowly started to run again they got louder and louder. This lady ran alongside me and said, “Here take some frozen grapes!” 

In the 2011 New York City Marathon, around mile 21 I was done. I was walking and miserable. This random stranger stepped on the course when he saw me and said come on you can do this! I said, no I am dying right now my legs are shot. He was like, “I wanted to run NYC, but I didn’t get in. So I’m running Philly next week. But you’re here and got the opportunity to be here so we are going to run!” He then grabbed my arm and started jogging with me. He was like “Come on, we’re going to the next corner.” So we jogged. He wished me luck and sent me on my way. I will never forget that moment. That is what the spirit of the running community is.

All of this is why my mom and I went up to Boston to watch the Boston Marathon this past April. Many asked us why we were going and if we knew anyone. Our response? “Nope, we just want to watch the race and cheer people on.” We wanted to pay it forward and cheer our hearts out. It was such an amazing day. 

boston-marathon

After reading Heather’s (from Relentless Forward Commotion) post about her experience running in the back of the pack, it made me kind of sad. The running community is a great one, so why are we not supporting ALL runners, regardless of pace?

Race spectators help get runners through the race, and it was sad to read her and other’s accounts of how there aren’t many for those who are in the back of the pack. Every runner deserves people cheering them on, yelling out their name, high fiving them.

Which is why my mom and I told each other that from now on, after races, we will stay and keep cheering on our fellow runners. We had always planned to be at this year’s NYC Marathon as spectators as well, so we can’t wait to scream for all of you who are running! 

Moral of this post? Thank your fellow spectators. Whether it’s your family or a total stranger, they have made some sacrifices to get to that race as well. They don’t have to be there, but they are…for you. I’ll leave you with my New York City Marathon recap video I made, which shows our story, but also that of our spectators. Let me know what you think!

Do you enjoy watching races when you’re not running them?

Tell me one race spectator experience you’ve had in the comments!

********************************

Follow Reach Your Peak:

04-15-2014

Boston Strong

boston-strong

I can’t believe it’s been one year since the tragic events that unfolded at the Boston Marathon last year.

I remember exactly what I was doing when I found out. 

I was walking out of where I had just gotten my taxes done (yeah I waited until the very last day…) when my phone started getting texts from friends asking if I had seen the news. They know I love running and have ran marathons myself. I turned on the radio in the car, and initially didn’t think it was as big as it ended up being. I thought, “Wow I hope runners are still able to cross the finish line.”

Once I got home I realized how serious the situation was.

I’ve written about why I love the running community, and it was never more apparent than in the days after the Boston Marathon. So many stories of heroes and people helping others emerged. It showed that you can still have faith in humanity, even after the most tragic events.

My mom and I are going to watch the marathon this year. I can’t wait to see if live and cheer on the runners. It will be an amazing day, filled with what makes the running community (runners and spectators alike) amazing. 

If you will be running, let me know! I’d love to look out for you. Once I make my posters, I’ll post a picture in case anyone wants to keep an eye out for us.

I’ll leave you with this quote, which is just so true:

BLwzymcCEAEVlbd

********************************

Follow Reach Your Peak:

02-03-2014

I Love Runners

Last year, I wrote this post about why I love the running community after the terrible attacks at the Boston Marathon. So many amazing stories were told in the months after, and it reaffirmed that runners are a strong community.

Yesterday, my mom and I went to cheer on a few friends at a local 4 mile race. We wanted to run 3ish miles before the race, but we ended up getting there late. We also somehow inadvertently matched and both wore our marathon shirts :) But we actually saw lots of runners in NYC Marathon shirts at the race, and I wanted to shout out to them all!

Since we got there late, we ran 1 mile out on the race course with runners, and then turned back to go watch the finishers. I found my friend as we were getting ready to go up a hill and ran up it with her before turning around. I also saw this man who sped by me…seriously how inspiring is this??

We turned back and I was really tired. I had to stop and walk a few times, not gonna lie…and this was only a 2 mile run!! So sad. But it’s to be expected when I haven’t ran since November. I’m not too worried about getting back into running shape.

So we got back a minute later than the winner, but still got to see the first few people crossing the finish. It was fun to actually be a spectator for once and cheer on other runners.

I really wish to be fast one day!

But the point of this post is why I love runners. As I stood there cheering on fellow runners, I noticed a lot of people doing the same. Not only cheering for their friends or family, but also cheering on everyone else. Runners cheering on complete strangers. Runners who finished their race and could go eat or go home if they wanted to, walking back and cheering on strangers.

We cheered and encouraged people to finish strong, or told them “looking good!” Runners of all ages, and all of them inspired me.

It just moved me to think of how this community stands by each other and supports each other, even if we have never met. And not just runners, but also non-runners who understand the passion behind it, and wake up early just to go cheer.

Whether it’s a small race like this one, or a huge race like NYC Marathon, spectators are awesome. Spectators are what kept me going in the marathon. Every step of they way they were yelling my name, and towards the end cheering even louder when they saw I was struggling. If you haven’t seen my NYC Marathon video recap, check it out below. At around 2:30 you can hear spectators chanting “PATTY AND TINA! PATTY AND TINA” for my mom and I, and it was just a moment I won’t forget.

This is why moments like what happened at the Boston Marathon won’t bring us down. It’ll make the community that much stronger.

Thank you to everyone, runners or not, who have ever cheered for me during a race. You have no idea how much it helps!

Thank you to spectators who support their runners, and wake up early just to go cheer on everyone else.

I can’t wait to be a spectator at this year’s NYC Marathon and pay it forward to everyone who will be running!

Do you cheer on fellow runners after a race? Or go to races to cheer?

Are you a non-runner spectator? Why do you like cheering on runners?

Lastly, who’s running Boston this year? It’ll be an unforgettable experience I’m sure!

********************************

Follow Reach Your Peak:

04-17-2013

Why I Love The Running Community

…and I think most of what I will say about the running community is also true of the general fitness community. (PS-This may be a longer post)

After everything that has happened the past few days, I have been reflecting, and began thinking about the running community as a whole.

I knew no one who was running Boston, or up there for the marathon.Yet, I still felt as if I did. I felt sad  and heartbroken hearing the news pour in. I saw this quote on Tumblr, and it made me realize why:

As a fellow runner, I feel as though someone just attacked my brothers and sisters. Praying for you, Boston.

The running and fitness community is amazing. We are strangers, yet I have created relationships with other bloggers and readers. We support each other despite not knowing each other. This was first evident to me when I started my blog on Tumblr. And it is even more apparent now as I read the stories of runners, and the acts of kindness they experienced. Here are a few examples I read from Kate’s blog at SoCal Runner Gal.

She was running at Boston…and the “runner love” started at the starting line. She realized her pants had a hole in the butt (!!), so her and her friend walked around the athlete’s village seeing if anyone had an extra pair of pants or shorts. This is what happened:

We found a woman who gladly gave me the tights right off of her body.  The very tights that were keeping her warm while we sat for hours in the cold.  That is typical of a runner.  Runners support one another even if they’ve never met.  I was incredibly grateful for this woman’s generosity but not at all surprised that I found someone in a crowd of marathoners willing to help out a stranger.  Runners are supportive, kind and generous human beings.

She also said:

I can’t tell you how many times I thought to myself, “Man! People are awesome!” as I smiled and ran.

Which is so true. I got emotional just watching the marathon on TV because I remember what it’s like to be running a marathon and having the spectators cheer you on and believe in you. When I was struggling in the New York City Marathon, a man hopped in the race and said he’d run alongside me for the next block, and said “You can do this!!!” He gave me the little extra push I needed…and I had no idea who he was…

Thankfully Kate finished the race before everything occurred. But I have read so many other stories of people who were stopped at mile 24-25, and the acts of kindness they experienced from strangers.

I saw this posted on Facebook by a woman, who is asking people to share the photo so she can find the man who did this…it is an incredible gesture. She was stopped around mile 25, and was emotional after hearing her family was okay. Then this happened:

The woman took the space tent off her husband, who had finished the marathon, and wrapped it around me. She asked me if I was okay, if I knew where my family was. I reassured her I knew where they were and I would be ok. The man then asked me if I finished to which I nodded “no.” He then proceeded to take the medal off from around his neck and placed it around mine. He told me “you are a finisher in my eyes.” I was barely able to choke out a “thank you” between my tears.

That literally brought tears to my eyes when I read it!

I’m not really sure where I am going with this post. But I just have been so touched by the things I am reading regarding acts of kindness and helping. We are all part of the running/health/fitness community, and we support each other without knowing one another. And that is what I love.

I will leave you with this quote that I found yesterday that is so true in my opinion:

Feel free to comment with your own thoughts, I’d love to read them.

Follow Reach Your Peak: