As I have mentioned before, I’m not the fastest runner, nor will I ever be. Fortunately, I have found that in running, as in life, racking up awards and accolades is not the only way to track your progress or get motivated. That’s why I am grateful that the Greater Rochester Track Club offers MILEstone patches. You can earn a patch for the number of miles you accumulate in races over the course of a year. In 2010, I earned the “Silver” patch for 100 miles in races. Last year, I set my sights on the “Bronze” patch (50 miles in races).
Working towards this patch kept me motivated on days I did not want to train, evenings after work when I just wanted to go home and relax and early mornings when I did not want to wake up and go to a race. Don’t get me wrong, I always enjoy the post race festivities (food, talking to people, t-shirt, amenities, etc.) just not the actual race itself 🙂
I’m not sure I will go for a patch this year (even though I would LOVE one of each). The “Gold” 200 miles in races patch is just not realistic for me to strive for at this point – not just due to the miles needed, but the cost. Most races run you around $20. The money usually goes to a charity, so it is a positive thing, but it does add up. The person who ran the most races last year ran 131 races. 131! Do the math – that is over $2600! The person who ran the most miles in races ran over 1,000 miles. He blew everyone away, as the second highest mileage came in at 551.
I got my patch at the GRTC annual banquet. This is a nice event that recognizes not only the MILEstone patch recipients, but runners in many categories. The group is incredibly impressive. Many of these people have been running for 20, 30 and even 60 years. Don’t let runners in their 50s and up fool you – they are fast. Even though I am sure I was one of the biggest and slowest in the room, I was honored to be among the group. We are very fortunate in Rochester to have such a large and supportive running community. The main point many of the recipients reinforced was that beyond the obvious – that running is rewarding for its health benefits, goal setting and athleticism – it is the people you meet that matter. I agree. I have met some really great people along the way, and hopefully will continue to do so.
The banquet is also interesting to attend because you get to hear stories about people’s favorite races (any race where they served beer during or after the race seemed to be a winner), how often they train, how many miles they run weekly, etc. The morning of this banquet, there was a race of course, and many people attended. I didn’t, but I did not feel guilty since I logged my 5 miles. 🙂
If you are local and want to learn more about the GRTC, you can find them at http://www.grtconline.org. They are also (finally!) on Facebook. I enjoy being a member of this group. One benefit of membership is their Spring training clinic at Nazareth college. I have attended that program the past 3 years. It’s not easy, but very worthwhile. They also have a newsletter that I have written articles for. And last but not least, they are going to be the timers for the June Girls on the Run 5k I help out with (more about that to come).
Best of luck to everyone on their own motivations and milestones!