I was talking to Neighbor Ben last night about racing. And racing. And racing. He’d just finished a run, and I’d just finished a bike ride, and there was only one beer each involved in this conversation. One of the themes that kept rising to the surface is that some people like to train more than they like to race, and other people like to race more than they like to train.
Neighbor Ben likes to race.
I know this because he said, “I like to race.”
I like to train.
I know this because I train a lot, and I hardly ever race.
I know there are lots of factors involved, even if I can’t exactly put my finger on all of them. I won’t lie–one big factor is that racing, especially triathlon racing, is expensive. A local race we were talking about doing last night is $100. This is for a no-frills Olympic distance race. Hard to justify that when a new low-end pair of bike shoes cost the same amount, but I still haven’t forked over money for them, even though I probably should have done that a couple of years ago.
Racing is also more time consuming. As soon as your training day becomes a race day you are committed to showing up early to set up your transition area and sticking around for results. That means either dragging the family along or spending time away from them. And that’s just if you’re racing locally. Racing can also involve travel.
Yet another reason I try to avoid racing for the most part is a character flaw I have. I seem to always find a way to rationalize taking way too much time off after a race. That’s not good.
But mostly, I just enjoy the training more in general. Maybe it’s just my personality makeup. I’ve always liked practice. I was the same way with rugby. I don’t think I’d go so far as to say I liked practice more than games there, but I really did enjoy going to practice. With triathlon, I think I’m in it for the training and lifestyle more than the racing.
For me, racing is like getting drunk. It’s fun and all, but not something I want to do more than a few times a year (if that).
So in the case of our proposed Olympic distance race. It’s tempting, mostly because of the peer pressure being exerted by I-Love-To-Race-Neighbor-Ben, but it doesn’t sound nearly as interesting to me as swimming across the Indian River just for fun.
I know some people line things up as “A” races, “B” races, “C” races…whatever. That’s great if it works for them, but I don’t think it works for me. I may not enjoy racing as much as I enjoy training, but when I am racing, I’m racing. I can’t imagine a situation where I slap down money to enter a race and then “just train through it.”
Diff’rent strokes for diff’rent folks I guess. But it’s good for me to think long and hard about who I am before throwing down entry fees in $100 increments.