Why I Stopped Running Races

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Why I Stopped Running Races

Is racing killing running true meaning?

How a former professional triathlete discovered his love of running after he quit racing

By Pablo Rodriguez

When I was a professional triathlete representing my home country of Costa Rica, I equated running to competition. Why would I run if not to prepare for the next race?

I never asked myself if I liked running; it was my job.

So after I quit professional sports, I stopped running. And with a new desk job, my life became sedentary.

In 2004, living in Spain, I decided to regain my health and some basic fitness by resuming running. But the only way I knew how to run was by training for a race.

After registering for the Budapest Half Marathon, I began running for the first time in years in Girona’s Devesa Park.

Fifteen days before the Budapest Half Marathon, I did a little “tune up” trail race, a 21 k.m. run up and down the mythical Mount Puigmal in the Pyrenees.

At the starting line that day, I knew I was good shape and felt my familiar, killer competitive instincts–which I hadn’t felt since my triathlon days–kick in.

When the starter’s gun sounded, I sprinted off the line, hammering uphill all the way to the 2,994-meter summit of Puigmal. I was totally focused, felt powerful an strong.

After cresting the summit and beginning my descent, a voice inside my mind began yelling, “Stop you idiot! You’re moving so fast you didn’t even notice the 20 mountain deer  jump in front of you!”

Feeling stupid, I slowed my pace, turned around and saw Puigmal’s summit towering above me. I yearned to run back so i could admire the views from its peak. In my rush to dominate the race, I had missed so much.

Isards pirineu

Isards pirineu

It wasn’t until many years later that I completely understood what happened that day.

I learned that was drives me is not the thrill of competition, but rather, the thrill of exploring this blue ball we live on the most natural, primal way I know how: on foot.

Now I sometimes  run up to the Puigmal, lay on the ground, being present and noticing details, I damn know all the names all the plants on it, I can identify all the mountains around it, I am in that place, and that’s what give meaning to my running.

Why are these the moments I feel most complete and truly happy and free? Is it just a huge overdose of endorphins? I don’t think so; it’s much more than that. I never felt any of it,  while racing.


Expeditions Leader

    Pablo Rodríguez
    Pablo Rodriguez
    Pablo Rodriguez
    Pablo and Cristina are the owner and founders of Run The World Adventures Pablo is also a former professional triathlete.
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