This past Friday was Bike to Work Day 2012. I found that out early Friday morning as I was getting ready for work while listening to NPR. Naturally I decided the only logical thing to do was bust out my bike and head off to work.
The morning ride was pretty uneventful as it takes only about fifteen minutes to ride there. Ironically, that time is often faster than my car-ride time, especially after parking and walking in from the lot. Honestly it is almost silly NOT to ride every morning. The way home, however, was slightly more tragic. I managed to catch my jeans in the chain and ripped them from the ankle to the knee. I suppose it was not such a big deal, looking back. Those jeans were about two sizes too large at this point, so it was probably for the best. I probably looked a little too gangsta with my baggy jeans.
Listening to the NPR report, there was an interesting concept that I wanted to share and expand upon, as the subject matter was something that has stuck with me over the weekend. The guest, a bike shop owner, talked about how the idea of racing is a bit of a trap:
"Racing is presented to us as the goal that we should all aspire to and I totally don't believe that. Racing is fringe, racing ruins bicycle riding for a lot of people. They think that, 'Well I've been riding for a few years, its time to get a racing bike, get the clothes, get the racing shoes' . . . and it ends up being a big trap."
I thought about this a lot as I rode to work. Thinking about running, it seems like the logical progression is to get into running races. It is a way to validate your training, to show others that you CAN do it . . . but it is also a trap. Training programs can cause burn out. Feeling like you aren't making the progress you want can cause you to quit all together.
Some of the most fun I've had running is on easy runs with a bunch of people. Quite a while ago now, I ran with Ellie, Adrienne, Brian, Beckie, and to this day that was one of the most fun runs I've ever had. It was so far removed from the stress of trying to get a good time or achieve a set distance. It was just a run to run, and a run to get everyone out and moving together.
Don't get me wrong, I am absolutely loving our training program. Ellie and I had another fantastic run last night, in fact. Also, the thrill of running an official road race is amazing, and crossing that finish line in front of a huge crowd of cheering people you don't even know is an awesome feeling that makes you crave more and more.
I think the NPR report simply reminded me that running can be a fun thing to do. It is not all about the statistics and numbers. It is okay to run just for the sake of running. No stopwatch, no iPod, no mapping. So go out there and enjoy it!