Friday, April 11, 2008

Running Confessions

While the theme of Confession has come up:

I'm a big fan of long distance running. I crave the miles sometimes. My husband says I dream about it on my off days because I kick him at night. The thought (or the reality) of a three hour run doesn't make me tremble anymore. But, of course, I am no speed demon. The Penguin speaks my language. The time my friends and I did a 5K under 30 minutes (and I mean, seconds below) we went out to celebrate. None-the-less, I feel strong.

But I have to confess that I WANT to be faster. No matter how much I know "I'm just racing myself," it really stings to get spanked by someone 40 years my senior. Truth be told, I've come a long way. I started just a couple years ago, and I've dropped major units of time off my races. Part of it was ditching the stroller race days, part of it was ditching my fear of getting hurt, and part of it was actually training. These improvements, though, take me from the back of the pack, to the back of the middle of the pack.

My running partner called me not long ago and asked if she could ask a personal question. "You've been running for about a year longer than me. Do you ever feel pangs of competition? Are you ever jealous of others' speed?" She had lowered her voice, like she was confessing sins.

Our team's creed is always about Finishing and Socializing. And, although we regularly talk about race times, there is never the sense of competition. Honestly, I'm very thankful for that. To voluntarily get up at 5am every Sunday morning, I have to be going to something I really enjoy. But, after every race, I habitually pull up the results page and study my times & splits. I replay the event, wondering if I could have done better and comb through the names and their position relative to me. I'm wounded by seeing my name so far below others I know who spent little time preparing themselves. I'm secretly jealous. I'm silently competitive.

Thankfully, for the love of my running friends and of the sport, I'm able to keep it to myself. I'm able to keep self-fulfillment in perspective and be mostly happy with my accomplishments; it does make me proud to get to the starting line. I know I'll never place in a race (unless there are only 3 of us in my age category), but I keep dreaming of that run where my body transcends it's boundaries and I can pull up the results to see I've run a sub 8 minute mile.

7 comments:

runningfor3 said...

Maybe it is because I've never really had a consistent running group or partner, but I desire to get faster too, but I am openly competitive about it.

Place in the top tier just once and you get hooked! I'm no Olympian, but "long slow distance" has lost it's appeal. Now* I've got a clock to beat - and hopefully, one day, that one lady who I just can't catch in all the races...

*Last fall

S. Kimzey Daniels said...

Everyone so often, I feel 'competitive' with you all, my cyber buddies. At first I feel like there must be something seriously wrong with me and then I remember, 'we're runners, duh.'

channelmarker said...

Oh Crumbs!! ME TOO!! Of course some days I am just fine with my "no need for speed" motto....then other days I really want to get faster. I have even gloated a little when I am faster than someone else ( that doesn't happen too often, and the next time they humble me by racing right by....)

Lady G said...

You would not believe the coincidence - I just posted about competing with yourself rather than other people, then I look around at some blogs and come across your post!

It is hard to completely avoid comparing yourself to others. Good luck with continuing to celebrate your successes though!

Lady G said...

You would not believe the coincidence - I just posted about competing with yourself rather than other people, then I look around at some blogs and come across your post!

It is hard to completely avoid comparing yourself to others. Good luck with continuing to celebrate your successes though!

S. Kimzey Daniels said...

Wait a second...I just clicked on penguin and I'm a penguin!!!! Ah, the freedom. I'm mentally competitive, but haven't raced since high school.

Crumbs said...

Wait a second...I just clicked on penguin and I'm a penguin!!!!

Ahh! That cracked me up!