Hard to resist the Turkey Trot bait here. I'll be running my 47th in a row Thursday. I won't attempt to describe how these streaks get under one's skin, but they certainly do. I can relate to most of the original poster's observations. I'll add that I run the second, uphill mile 75 seconds slower than the first mile (pitiful, in other words) and that I regularly get passed by h.s. boys wearing grass skirts.
Still, I wouldn't trade this day for any other in the year. I've been running long enough that I've stopped apologizing about it. It's not the only thing that I am, but it's a big part of who I am, and I'm okay with that. I'd rather be slow, graying me than a lot of other people and a lot of other things.
The Why Race? question is interesting. It's not required after all. I can be a runner without being a racer. My wife is always advising me to be "more moderate in all things." And she's smart, this is good advice.
But you know what? A person can get too much of this moderate stuff. Who wants to live a life that's always safe, controlled, aiming for the middle path?
Every once in a while I still want to feel the burn. To push to the limit. To be near collapse when I cross the finish line. Sure, I already know the result: It will be shown that I'm older and slower than I was yesterday and the day before that. I don't need a race to tell me these things.
But a race says I'm not ready to surrender. It says I'm going to keep struggling to squeeze all I can out of this life. It says I'm not checking out of here until I've given it my all. Yes, I know I'm gonna die some day.
But I have a good feeling about tomorrow's race.