Friday, June 3, 2011

Where's the Competition?

A running group left at 6:45 this morning from the hotel. I was nervous, fully expecting to be the slowest person in the group. 5 of us left and started out at a decent pace, what I consider to be my sprint speed. I told them I was slow and they (well 3 of the 4) assured me it was ok. The pregnant lady patted her belly and smiled, telling me she too was slow. I kept at it as long as I could, about 5 minutes, before I had to slow down. I slipped further and further back, eventually ending up with a good 3 block distance between myself and the group. One of the group circled back every so often to check in and make sure I was doing ok. The other 2 glanced back at cross walks and such to make sure I was there.

As we neared the end, my checker-in-er circled back to point out the hotel and chit chat. I told him how I had gained 30 pounds and was definitely at the beginning end of my running again. I told him that I felt a bit embarrassed being so far back, but at least I was out here. I told him my usual line about the people who are really last are the ones back at the hotel in bed, not even out here with us. He chuckled and told me that he is always only in competition with himself. At that, he sprinted on up ahead to catch the rest of the group. As I watched him run, I realized something for the first time. My comment about the real people who are last are the ones that aren't out here is no where near the same as him telling me that he is only competing against himself. I'm not sure what clicked in my brain at that moment, but I realized that what I have been saying is that I am in competition with everyone else! All this time I had been thinking those comments were synonymous!

I am not sure where I can go from here. I lose out on being able to truly encourage and support others as well as learn from them and their experiences. I want to be in competition only with myself, as otherwise I feel worse about myself and continue to compare myself to others. The self doubt I carry with me is fed through this reasoning.

This is something I will have to reflect on and keep present in my mind, as I think it is part of the bigger picture in helping me to embrace the runner and the person I see inside.

All this one day before my birthday! What a great way to come upon turning 29!


  1. Wow that is a good lesson to carry with you. I am super proud that you kept running... even a few blocks back. It takes guts to show up and run with a new group and you got 'em. Keep on keeping on.

  2. What a great post. I love these kinds of insights. I know what you mean I am always comparing myself to others, when really all I need to worry about is myself!

  3. Wow, you have way more courage than me... I'd be way too nervous to run with a group!

  4. It took me a while running with my group back in Keene before I stopped worrying as much about being slow or slowing others down. It helped that no one in the group ever made me feel as though I was holding them back when they would wait at corners or turn-arounds for me. I'm not sure how exactly that switch happened in my head, but I do know that racing helped me. If I finish a race and know I really gave it all I had, then the difference between my time and the time of friends who ran with me doesn't seem to matter as much. Many wishes for a wonderful birthday for you and I'm bummed that I left Keene before you came up to Mass.

  5. happy birthday yesterday!!!

    i truly believe if you worry about and only you, that's when you will become your best runner!!! races that i have bombed out on, i was trying to keep up with some group of strangers in front of me. it's you against you!!

  6. Thanks for all of your comments, these are helpful! I have been thinking a lot about this, and realizing how it colors my perception of myself and my running.