I’ll be the first to admit that I am the most competitive with myself. I imagine that I’m my own formidable opponent (insert Colbert chuckle here).
More than comparing myself to other runners, I compare my paces, times, and results against that which I have done in the past. When I found the site Athlinks, I went into comparison overload. This site brings some serious Google juice to the table and is able to pull all of your race results…ever. They clocked some of my times from back in 2002 and it was fascinating to see how far I’ve come. Then again, who are we kidding, I’ll also admit that at the end of a race I try to kick it in and score a couple more ranks (I’m sure I’m not the only one), but other than that, all friendly competition.
But recently, there has been one specific story that fuels my competitive fire and it all goes down on the dreadmill.
When you’re an early riser, you get to know the folks at the gym. You may not know them by name, but you always see that one old man in the navy sweat suit, the two middle-aged women chatting their way through a power walking session, and that one woman who is giving you a run for your money. Now let’s be frank, this one woman in particular has become my competitive inspiration. She’s probably in her late 30s/early 40s, lays down some solid mileage, never uses any headphones, and in some seriously good shape. Yet, despite my best friendly smiles and casual “good mornings,” I still don’t know her name or her story. But what I do know is that she alternates between the elliptical and dreadmill every other day. The days that she’s on the treadmill, she’s cruising anywhere from 8.5 to 10 mph (yes, I look), at an incline, is sweating like crazy, and is kicking some serious booty.
I see her bump up her mphs, so maybe…possibly…I might bump mine up a little too.
So my question to all you out there (if anyone is even reading this), but is that so wrong? To be slightly competitive at the gym? I’m not throwing down fighting words or asking her to meet me in the parking lot; if anything, I just want to be as friggin’ awesome as her.
Should I try more to get to know her? Should I keep my distance but still use her as running motiviation? Or should I just back off and do my own thing?
Oh dear…I didn’t include any pictures! I hate blog posts without photos so here’s a random photo of my puppy Lola…or as we like to call her…the bearded lady: