Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Runner's Remorse

Something's ailing me. It's not a pain in my foot or sore legs. It's something a less, well, medical.

I'm suffering from a bout of Runner's Remorse.

The symptoms first started last Wednesday when a few colleagues asked me whether I planned on running the Cigna/Elliot Corporate Road Race, a local 5K. It's not just "a" 5K. With the number of runners (and walkers) totaling somewhere around 6,000, it's perhaps "the" 5K for the state.

Up until that point, I'd completely written off the Cigna race. Don't get me wrong, I've heard great things about this race and organizers certainly does a good job at attracting at massive number of runners and encouraging non-runners to work toward a participate in an athletic event.

But it also has a few features that I, personally, don't like, namely an after-work start, a 3.1-mile distance and the aforementioned massive number of runners.

I'm not a big evening runner - not in the summer, at least, when I find that the temps never dip down quite enough to provide a comfortable run. As I noted after the Bill Kelly 10K last month, after-work races provide an extra challenge for me to properly hydrate and fuel.

Then there's the distance. A 5K just isn't my thing. Think of that whole tortoise and hare scenario. I pride myself on the long, steady run. I can settle into double-digit miles quite easy, but throw me into a 5K and I'm completely out of my element.

I've often said that I don't like the first couple miles of a run - any run. In the case of a 5K, that's practically all of it.

And lastly, the crowds. I've run big races, bigger than Cigna, and loved them. But I have a hard time gearing myself up, mentally, to run a race that will last shorter than the time it takes me to change into my running clothes, park and get to the starting line.

So, the decision not to run was seemingly a simple one. That is, until that Runner's Remorse started creeping up on me.

On race day, I got asked no fewer than a dozen times whether I was running the event. It seemed as if everyone I encountered that day assumed I'd be signed up. One late-day email I sent to a committee member came with a quick reply: "Shouldn't you be at the starting line?"

As strange as it seems to me, people are starting to think of me as "a runner" and, as one person pointed out, I'm "kinda corporate" so presumably the Cigna race should have been right up my alley. (I'm still trying to figure out if being "kinda corporate" is meant as a compliment.)

The race questions and comments continued throughout the day, and it seemed as if everyone was running the race. Even my friend, who is eight-months pregnant, was participating as a walker.

Runner's Remorse really flared up on the night of the race. I started seeing Facebook posts with finishing times and photos. Smiling runners everywhere. A few of my friends were volunteering. My team coach even crossed the line as the third overall female.

With the constant stream in my social media news feed, along with the newspaper coverage and online comments the next morning, I felt as if I might have been the only person to skip the race.

I suddenly realized I was missing out on a big piece of New Hampshire running community. I'll have to remember that next year when registration time comes around.

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