Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Merriam-Webster defines the word compete as follows: to strive consciously or unconsciously for an objective

Taken in that context, I am a very competitive person in just about every aspect of my life. Especially running. Nine times out of ten I have some sort of goal that I want to meet. Usually it's a time goal that I've arbitrarily picked out. Sometimes it's that I want to place in my age group. Sometimes it's both. For instance when I ran the 10k, I had several goals set, the most important of which was that I wanted to run it under 53 minutes. I finished in 51:13 and finished first in my age group

Within 20 minutes of finishing almost 2 minutes under my desired time, I already was plotting out the next time that I wanted to beat. My thought process went something like this: 


::20 minutes later::

Hmm... I should run it under 50 minutes. I will be really fast then. 

And thus the new goal was born and now I won't rest until it's accomplished. The same is true for everything from 5ks to marathons. I set goals and if I reach them I immediately start to plan out how to exceed them.

Don't get me wrong - I think having goals is one of the best ways to advance in anything and everything. But Em wrote a great post the other day about giving yourself some credit. And it really got me thinking - as competitive as I am, I'm doing some pretty awesome things right now.

I had a really sucktastic 16 mile run on Saturday. I bitched about it, both mentally and verbally, all day long. But I RAN 16 MILES. It was hard, it was miserable, I walked a lot, heck I stopped a lot, there wasn't a single step that I took on Saturday that didn't cause me some sort of mental or physical pain, but I did it. And if I can run 16, I can run 18. And if I can run 18, I can run a marathon. And that is a-freaking-mazing, whether I BQ or finish in 6 hours.

Sometimes I think I let my competitiveness with running get the better of me. Sometimes it causes extreme negative self-talk conversations in my head. And sometimes I need a good kick to remind me that every single day I'm working towards incredible things.

And a big tribute to Em for writing the post that sparked this post.

THAT BEING SAID, LB came over last night to run with me. It was a 2 mile training run for me, supposed to be easy, and I figured it'd be a cake walk for him. Needless to say, it was a very humbling experience for me, one that reminded me that we all start at square one

We ran at about an 8:45 pace give or take - sometimes faster, sometimes slower. But by mile 1.5 he was dying and I could see it written all over his face. 

So I stopped my Garmin and we walked. I started it back up and we ran. I let him walk while I ran back and forth until we hit roughly 2 miles (my Garmin died at about mile 1.83). And in that last half mile and for the rest of the night, I remembered everything about when I started running. I remembered getting winded after a mere 5 minutes. I remembered hating it. I remembered my first 5k and how freaking exhilarating it was. 

1.5 miles at an 8:45 pace is pretty good for someone that never runs. 

Oh and after taking our picture, Sean had to take this picture "for the blog" (his words) so that everyone knows that he was working while we were running, not sitting around eating bon-bons. Even though when we got back 25 minutes later he was sitting on the couch in the dark.

Are you competitive by nature? With what?

Do you set new goals immediately upon breaking old ones? 


  1. I agree. As long as we got out there and tried running though it's not up to what everyone else is doing .. you're doing something that others always dreamed of.

    I'm a slow slow runner but I don't get winded after a few minutes of running and that's what I wanted to begin with and has achieved. Now I'm trying to run a little faster.

    Good job at getting out there!

  2. Wow girl you are competitive... even just with yourself. I'm a little competitive if it's something I'm good at... definately not running. I'm competitive at things like puzzles and games and math stuff.

    I'm not a huge goal setter. I'd always like to get better but I doesn't kill me if I don't. When I was younger this wasn't the case. Guess I've gotten slack in my old age.

  3. I am totally competitive with myself. But I love that feeling of success when I achieve a goal--even if it's just for me! So you should congratulate yourself for being able to run 16 miles! And LB should congratulate himself for even wanting to run to begin with. Love your energy here, Rachael! :)

  4. I think it is great that you set goals for yourself. I think that pushing ourselves to achieve our goals is what makes us better at whatever it is we want to do! I love it, so keep setting those goals and striving hard to achieve them! I have a section in my blog that just lists all of my Running Goals and it gives me something to look forward to!

  5. Great post. And yeah...nothing I do is good enough haha. Glad you feel the same way ;).
    What is crazy (and i will confess on your blog) is that blogging has made me much more competitive. I get annoyed when I find bloggers faster than I am (there are a ton - I don't know who I think I am haha!).

    I would like to say breaking 20 in the 5k, 130 in the half marathon, and 330 in the marathon would make me happy, but in reality, if that ever happened, it would make me feel more competitive. Essentially, I want to rule the world and its frustrating that I can't ;).

  6. uhhh...btw...I feel like I sound totally douche-y in my last comment. Please don't think I am, I just totally felt like I had to confess to how psycho I get about running :).

  7. HAHA Margs, you don't sound douche-y at all! I get pretty psycho about running too ESPECIALLY because of blogging.

  8. I see nothing wrong with being competitive.. Especially when it's against yourself, it only makes you work harder and strive to do better!

    Glad to know Sean was working ;) Has he fixed his other bike yet? We still need a track date aka me and you sit and girl gossip and the guys go jump dirt and be boys :)

  9. That's a pretty awesome time! I feel as if I'm starting back from square one after having a baby, and it has been hard! It definitely reminds me of how far I was, and I keep telling myself that I can get there again!

  10. I don't see anything wrong with being competitive! I'm really just competitive with myself--I want to keep improving on my own times, not so much to beat anyone else.

  11. Don't get me wrong - I don't thing there's ANYTHING wrong with being competitive!! I live for competition - ESPECIALLY with myself! I just think sometimes it's necessary to take a break and realize that everyday you're doing something GREAT :)

  12. hell yes I'm competitive. I love running on normal days for the feel of it, but I wouldn't enter a race unless I had a goal -- and I will get that goal. no doubt. In fact, I think I started entering races because I would hear about friends finishing a half, and I'd be like "I can crush that time! I'm gonna go do it."

    competition is fun. races are, IMO, lame without it. Which is part of why I disliked the See Jane RUn race I did - they encouraged running for fun (i.e. chat and walk with friends) instead of for the challenge. lame. at least don't pay $$ for that.