Monday, February 18, 2008

To Thrive or Survive?

For those who know me it's clear that I am slightly competitive ... well maybe more than slightly. I'm not a fan of losing, falling behind or, to be honest, anything that makes me look like less than an over-achiever. Keeping that in mind, it may seem odd that I like to run, and on occasion race. I never win, and I'm not all that fast, but still, something keeps me motivated.

Have you figured out what it is? Drumroll please ... I do it to beat my friends. I know this is sad and that I really shouldn't feel like I am competing with them, but just running to run is not enough for me. I need to feel like I am good at it, even if it's only compared to those in my peer group. In actuality, I'm not the best. Several of my friends are faster, stronger, overall better runners than I.

My sheer craziness was evident today during my five mile training run. Several of my training partners competed in an 8K on Saturday while S and I were running our 18 miler. That evening I checked out the results and was immediately motivated to go out and run fast then they had. My first chance ... today's run. So with beautiful weather and no babies in tow (Thanks J!), I headed out for an easy five. I got about 1/10 of a mile in and decided that I was not going fast enough, so I pushed a little harder. At the turnaround I checked out my watch and noticed that it read 20:54 ... by far the fastest two and a half miles I had ever run. This only motivated me more. I just kept thinking, "If I keep this pace I will finish just as fast as everyone this weekend." The second half of my run was as smooth as the first. I felt good. When I finished, I knew I had put everything I had into that run and my time proved it, 40:24.

But rather than feeling awesome that I could in fact keep up with my friends, (and I think beat them) I felt that maybe I have been cheating myself these last 13 weeks. While I've never skipped a run, or even walked a step, I don't think I am pushing myself. I'm just merely surviving my runs. I want to thrive during them. I want to be and do my best. And now that I realize this, maybe a four-hour marathon isn't so far out of reach.

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