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September 20, 2007

COMPETITION

Wow, I'm on a blogging roll this week! I've even got two posts cooked up in my head right now. Wish I could say that about my running....at any rate, I'm letting them each have their very own post. They deserve it. Besides, the second one will totally embarrass my dad.

My first day of being off for four days has gone off without a hitch. Slept til 9, had 3 cups of coffee over 4 hours while I crunched the numbers to see how long until T and I become cajillionaires (really. i'm not lying. and i'm an accountant. numbers are what i love), showered (remember I said I was gonna do that!!), and shopped...heading home with one new purse, 3 new books, and a butt-load of new running duds. I capped off the day with a 420 (see I told you it was a beer) on the deck and reading 3 chapters of one of my new books "The Circle of Simplicity: Return to the Good Life".

And yes, I know I'm a nerd. I've mentioned that fact more than once on this blog. I get my non-fiction only reading habit from my dad. I'm sure of it. If it's a book about someone, something, or somewhere my dad either has it, or is hoping to get it for his upcoming b-day. T-roi's also a non-fiction lover which makes me a lover of T-roi. One Saturday when I didn't have anything better to do, I organized all of his books into non-fiction categories (US economics, international economics, entrepreneurship and other "Boss" type books, religious books, workout books, books about cool places, and other such categories). I didn't need to organize mine...they already were.

Anyway, where was I??? Oh, so I started this book. And the reason I'm reading it is because (despite what I write about) I really do want to have a more simple life. Really! So, here I am in chapter 2 and she starts talking about competition...and how competitive Americans are...and...

It was like something hit me over the head. (Or maybe T-roi did when I wasn't looking). Anyway, I got this sortof realization. And I'm sharing it with you. Not because I think you are dying to hear me analyze my life just one more time. But because I feel like someone else out there might just need the same sortof realization. So here goes:

Since...oh, I don't know...many months ago my running has started to suffer. I have blamed it on eating wrong, lack of sleep, being busy, being busy, being lazy (okay, I never really admitted that one). You name it and I used it as an excuse.

Guess what? Guess when my running started to suffer???? (I went back and verified it in my blog posts just to be sure) Back in March. Guess what else happened in March??? I got my first piece of hardware (other than my finishers medals...and dad, that means I got a trophy for placing). Do you see where I'm going with this? No? Well, let me explain. When I found out that I had placed 3rd in my age group, I was totally siked (do people still say "siked"?). I thought I had done pretty bad in that race, given all the freakin hills. I was just happy to finish. In one piece. I didn't even stay for the awards ceremony. But after I got to work on Monday and found out that I had actually beat people and come close (okay, close might be an exaggeration) to beating two girls who seem really really fast, well, I got siked (for lack of another, better, more qualified word). I thought, "I could really do this running thing."

Now, let me preface this. I'm not competitive with anyone other than myself. I never played sports. I was never on the debate team. I never told anyone my SAT scores for fear that they would feel like they had to beat me (okay, that one was a total lie). But I have always been the one who was friends with all the competitive people and cheered them on, but competing was never my game. That's a whole post for a totally different day though.

But, back to being siked...I all of a sudden...got the taste of competition in my mouth. Before a race, I would look at last year's results just to figure out who I had to beat and in what time. I became obsessed (or a little) with getting faster. I met 26marathons and started breaking 8:30 miles. I even switched my Labor Day entry from the 10k to the 5k just because I knew I could place in my age group.

My days of "just finishing" were over.

Or were they???

Since I've adopted this whole "gotta beat somebody mentality" I've lost what I loved about running. Just getting out there and doing it. My miles have slowly dropped off and off and off. I'm consistently running 5ks because I know that's what will get me to the front (or closer) of the pack of 30 to 34 year olds. Or better yet, I know that's what I can do.

Have you ever heard someone say that when you procrastinate, or just don't/won't do something, it's because you fear it??? We've all heard it. It's every new runners problem with getting in speedwork, longer miles, group runs, etc.

Guess what my fear is?

Being able to place in other races...10ks, half's, the full mary (okay so that won't happen unless there's like 4 people...and they're all 80)...but you get my point. I fear being beat by anyone else and everyone else, so I have just (almost) stopped running at all.

Before, when I was just happy with finishing, I ran all the time. But, now, that's all gone.

It's been replaced by the need to compete. The bragging rights of one more trophy. And the fear that I'll get beat. I've even started to get competitive with one of my local Friday morning running buddies (Long Legs C) only because I found out that she is in my age category and will be through the race this Saturday.

How did all of this happen?

Cecile Andrews stated in this book that "Everything is measured in terms of who is number one." In my case, it's who's number 3?

And I think I liked it better when I was just another number.

3 comments:

eyegirl said...

I can identify with a lot of the things you mentioned in your post! And I am the queen of avoiding things because I'm afraid I won't do well enough at them. Maybe realizing it is the first step to changing it? Regardless, it's really nice to know that I'm not the only one!

Amy said...

Thanks for saying that...I almost just took this post down...something about analyzing stuff AGAIN started to get to me....but, if one other person got something out of it, then it's good enough to stay!

Laurie said...

Just catching up on my blog reading...

I love this post. You are absolutely right that we procrastinate on doing things that we fear. If we wait until the last second to prepare, it's acceptable to not be the best. This happens to me all the time. I'm glad you have realized this with your running and get back into the groove of things.