I love the atmosphere of a race ~ there are people of every body type, age and fitness level, all running the same course as you. There are people cheering for you that don't know you...there is something inspiring and motivating about hearing "you've got this girl" from complete strangers. And although I set no records, won no medals, I finished. 33:51 was my official time and for that, for a 39 year old gal who just started running in March, I'm proud of myself.
And so I can check that off my list ~ on to an 8k, eventually.