as I sit here with legs burning I kind of want to write an essay about running races, particularly long and brutal ones that take a long time to heal from. what i am thinking about is that initially a race could be an incentive to get stronger. but does the race itself make you stronger? i was training before the race and reached a sort of peak, then tapered (a little) and then had a really strong day in which i feel like i destroyed everything i had built up. will i come out of this able to continue? i dont know for sure this time. even if i can do ten races and not get hurt and get hurt on the eleventh it wouldn’t be worth it because i need to train! i need to train in order to heal! resting only makes me tight, grumpy, acidic and unable to properly process the nutrients i need to heal and then I get sick. so there’s the rub. i have to run. so then why race? is there a benefit? will I really get stronger than if I had just trained and not raced? well there is some sort of documentation. he did this time at this distance on this course on this day. yes but where does that go? it’s not like i have any running friends and my friends and family definitely do not want to hear about it. ok maybe i just like to race. i like to see what ive got and sometimes i feel like i can win. sure i still cower, like i did in that 50k but the guy that passed me at mile 29 made me stronger too! he schooled me when i should have dug more. but i knew. somehow i knew i was already going to be hurting. maybe subconsciously i was deliberately inhibiting my performance so that i could continue. i knew what to do that was for sure and he did help me break 4:30 which was awesome. so that breaks down part of the argument. the part of racing because i love to compete. but the question remains: would i be willing to sacrifice my ability to continue in order to compete? no. but am I really? how did I get this far? was it the training or the racing or both? or am I just lucky?