Saturday, September 24, 2011

How to Be Competitive and Deal with Finishing Last...

You know what??  I've been struggling with this since I decided to do this 5K.  I am a hugely competitive person.  Always have been.  I had to stop wearing my pedometer for awhile.  The competitions this summer through my workplace were just too hard on me.  The team one especially was difficult because I got ugly and mean in my spirit when my teammates weren't pulling their weight...and I don't even know these people!  Who knows why they weren't walking as many steps as they needed to for us to do well?!?!  We finished mid-pack and I was ticked off for a few days. I get too caught up in the game sometimes, and I sure did with the pedometer that a lot of my colleagues and I wear.

So how, you might ask, am I going to handle finishing this 5K tomorrow pretty much dead last?  The answer is...I'm not really sure.  I have trained for this 5K, but it was interrupted this summer by an arthritis flare up that really impacted my ability to walk in general, much less 3 miles at a time.  And I can't run this race.  I might possibly jog parts of it, but I'm prepared to walk the entire thing...while most other people will run it and finish in less than half the time it's likely to take me.  I'm not going to be able to compete with those runners, no matter how badly I want to or try.

But there's a difference in my competitive nature this time that's new for me, and it feels very positive.  I found this quote recently, and it really struck a chord in me:

"I don't believe you have to be better than everybody else. I believe you have to be better
than you ever thought you could be." ~  Ken Venturi 
Tomorrow, I am not going to be better than everybody else.  Most of the people that start that 5K are going to run it.  I'm not.  I'm walking it...probably all of it.  And although there will be other people walking it (including the 2 that are walking it with me!), I'm not a particularly fast walker.  I really am convinced I'm going to be the last finisher.
But you know what?  I'm going to finish.  And THAT alone is me being better than I ever thought I could be.
That's how I'm handling it.  The person I'm competing with tomorrow is ME.  Not anyone else there who suits up, laces up the running shoes and aims for a personal best in the Cougarthon 5K.  For me, the personal best is starting and finishing that matter how long it takes and how many people finish ahead of me.
Am I going to enjoy finishing last?  Probably not.  But am I going to enjoy FINISHING???  
Stay tuned, my friends...I'm going to have some amazing things to tell you tomorrow!  But right now, I'm heading up to bed.  I've got a 5K to run in the morning!

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