Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Racer's Serenity Prayer

Before my first 8k in 2010

I would say race season is upon us, but I live in Virginia where it's always race season. We run here all year long.  Plus, we can always head a couple states south if it's too cold or north if it's too warm to find races.

I have dozens of friends running the Shamrock 8k, Half-marathon or Marathon in Virginia Beach this weekend. This race has particular sentimental value for me because the Shamrock 8k was the first race I ever ran in March 2010. This year I am running the Half.

why can't I run in these?
(As an aside, my hubby talked me into running that first race without my iPod. Said it would help me "appreciate the wonder of racing as it's meant to be enjoyed" or some such crap. Longest hour of my entire life. Since that day I have run with a backup iPod shuffle for every race [in addition to my primary music source] because I'm so terrified of repeating the no-music experience.)

In April last year I ran the Nashville Country Music Half-Marathon.  I was tempted to run in my new red cowboy boots, since it was Nashville, but alas, resisted...  

While I ran that half-marathon, I came up with this "Racer's Serenity Prayer" -- which has little to do with serenity, and is more a random collection of running notions. What amazed me was that I was able to keep it all in my head (by repeating it over and over) until I got to the finish line. Then I texted it to myself after the race on the bus ride back to my hotel. 

A Racer's Serenity Prayer

First and foremost, may I always be thankful that I can run. Because there are some who can't and would give everything they have to be able to.

May I take comfort in knowing I'm never going to come in first place or in last. And may I rejoice, either way, if I ever happen to.

May I grimace at the cost of races and be thankful my training runs are virtually free.

May I speak kindly to the woman at the starting corral who is very nervous about running her first half or full marathon and is talking my ear off. Because I once was that person.

May I never take a race so seriously that I don't:
1) Pump my fist for a band/DJ playing Eye of the Tiger on the course
2) Give a running high-five to that little kid holding his hand out on the side of the road
3) Yell "Yeah, beer" to the guy on the side in a rainbow wig jumping up & down holding a huge sign saying, "Just three more miles to beer"  - even though the thought of beer at that moment makes me a bit nauseous
4) Stop and steady a runner who is about to stumble

May I learn to skip the first two tables at any water station because the next 8 tables always have less crowds. And may I at least aim for a trash can when tossing my empty cup.

May I never be the person in the ambulance at Mile 9.

May I be thankful my 5k isn't a 10k, my 10k isn't a Half, my Half isn't a Full, my Full isn't an Ultra... especially when it's hot.

May I always push to run faster than the person in the full-body Elmo costume, coz that's just obnoxious.

May I mutter mild curses under my breath going up hills because of the hip flexor pain and say them out loud the next day because going down those same hills has killed my knees.

May I always run as fast as I can that last 100 feet before the finish line - as if that seven seconds I save is going to qualify me for Boston.

And, darn it, may someday that seven seconds qualify me for Boston.

May I learn to wear sunscreen so that someday someone is not wearing my name on the back of their DetermiNation Team cancer shirt.

May I remember that terrible races are just as an important step to getting me to that PR as great races.

Finally, and most importantly, may I once again be thankful that I can run. And run the best race I can today.

Good luck this weekend, racers! Remember:


  1. Very nice Janie!
    ... I didn't know you were a writer

  2. for sure, you're lapping me. though, I'm not ALWAYS on the couch!