I got an email a couple months ago about a half marathon in my area. The race description assured me that I would never forget that race. It's in July so, it's hot! It's full of hills! Do not attempt if you've never run a half marathon before!!! No shirts, no medals. JUST PAIN.
BUT, came the tantalizing caveat, at mile 8 you shout out the flavor of popsicle you want and a volunteer will hand you that popsicle.
I'm not gonna lie, I was tempted. I'm more heat tolerant than most but I hate hilly courses. A popsicle in the middle of a half marathon, though? How often do you come across that? Take my $30, please! I want red!!!!
I was about to click the registration link... but I stopped and reassessed. By all accounts this was unlikely to be an enjoyable experience. That's fine - sometimes physical exertion is more about saying you could and you did than having a great time in the moment. (I like to think this is why I continue to run marathons despite the existence of the miles in the middle.)
All the same... was it worth $30 for a popsicle and a bib? $10, sure. $15, maybe. But if all I want is a hilly course and an icy treat, I can run my usual trail and cajole Pat into handing me a popsicle on my second loop. Y'know? Running trail: free, box of popsicles: $4 or whatever, rolling out of bed and onto the road: priceless.
So apparently that's where I draw my line. Where's yours? What stops you from registering from a race? Price? Course? Location? WHAT???