Imagine this: You find an amazing race that you decide will be your goal race for the season. The weather is perfect there, the competition is stiff, and people go to this race because they know that no matter what, it’s just fast. There’s just one tiny little problem. It’s on the other side of the country which means you’re about to drop hella cash on this race.
Will that financial investment motivate you or stress you? Whatever you’ll feel, you push that thought aside and forge ahead with your plans.
You book your round-trip flight and a hotel for a couple of nights. Then you reserve a rental car. Oh yeah, and don’t forget the entry fee for the race which can be anywhere from $35 to $250, depending on the race you’ve chosen. Before you know it, you’ve spent a thousand or more dollars just so you can put yourself through a bunch of pain for however long your race lasts. This doesn’t even include the money you will spend on food or the new pair of shorts you had to buy because you forgot yours at home.
Ok, so now that you’ve spent a good chunk of your paycheck on travel it’s time to start getting up at 5:00 every morning to run and then getting in a double and some #extrasalt after work. Oh, and don’t forget to tell all your family and friends your specific goals for the race so they can really get your pulse racing when they ask about it every day. Once you’ve done all of that and race week rolls around and you’re fit, confident, and ready, you do your very last pre-race workout. You pack your bags and check in for your flight the day before and then you … FREAK. OUT.
As I write this, I am 100% feeling all of this right at this moment. I’m racing a track race all the way across the country as an open athlete, which means there is no travel or lodging assistance like there is for many road races for top athletes. I dropped a ton of money and trained my butt off for the past three months to race a 10k in Palo Alto, California and I am scared.
I’m not worried about my fitness — I’ve put in the work — I’m worried that the huge physical and financial investment I made will turn into pressure that will hover in the back of my mind, just waiting to sabotage my positive thoughts when I inevitably start to get tired during the race. I’m worried that I will crack under that self-imposed pressure, fall short of my goals, and let myself down.
I mentioned my fear to my coach the other day and his response was:
It’s impossible to put a price on running well.
That really jolted me out of my pity-party because it is so true! The feeling I get after running fast and crushing my goals is better than anything I’ve ever experienced. It’s why I do this. It’s priceless to me and I would do anything to feel it.
Sure, I would never fail if I avoided every situation that scared me and made me feel pressure, but I would also never accomplish my goals! I would never get that amazing high that accompanies success and where’s the fun in life if that’s missing? I have made a choice to be brave and to chase success rather than running from fear. This doesn’t mean that I won’t get nervous and scared, but whenever those butterflies hit me this weekend I’m going to tell myself that I am brave, strong, ready, and fast.
Did the investment pay-off?
I wrote this post right before I flew across the country to Palo Alto, California to race a 10k on the track at the Stanford Invitational. I was determined to be brave and mentally tough. I hoped the other amazing athletes around me would carry me to a fast time. Things didn’t quite go according to plan, as I was in a gap between packs and running alone the last 5k, but I didn’t let that put a damper on my confidence. My goal was to break 33 minutes and I crossed the finish line in 32:50!
My coach was right: the feeling I got from running well and crushing my goal was priceless. I’m so glad I took a risk and invested in a race that I will remember for a very long time.
Have you spent a lot of money on a single race? Was it worth it?