Competition. Growing up I always loved competition. I grew up with tons of cousins- and by tons I mean twenty-eight first cousins on one side of my family. My fondest memories include competition. Majority of my cousins were older boys so there was never a time I wasn’t being coached to juke my opponent while we played football in front of our grandparents’ house or learn how to perfect the fancy pass on the basketball court. Since I was the only girl and the shortest one on the team, a competitive spirit was vital. Competition was life. There were too many of us to be inside on the weekends, so we motivated each other to be better- for the family name.
So fast forward to high school. I played basketball and tennis all four years and as much as I would love to boast of winning state championships to my dismay--I cannot. In fact, our basketball team didn’t win many games at all and as much as I loved the competition, I didn’t think I would do much athletically after high school. Boy, was I wrong.
A couple of weeks ago I ran the Garden of the Gods 10-mile race for the first time. As I have shared before, I love that course! I love the challenge and I love the beauty that surrounds me while I sweat and cuss my way up the hills. I can say however, as many times I have run that course to train alone and with friends- the race was different. I was running with over 1,000 people!!! Not to mention people who were flying through that course like nobody’s business. And Me?! My competitive side was hurting. I wanted to be faster, but the harder I ran the harder it got. I knew what I needed to do to be successful on that course and it was not pushing myself to be someone I am not. I realized during that race that what mattered was the 100% I was going to give. It was a moment that confirmed that running is the biggest mental game I have ever “played” in my life.
I have met many people over the years who have told me they are not runners. Bad knees, a hate for pain, or just being slow- more people define themselves as not being able to run at all-unless it’s to the bathroom or fridge (I wish you could hear my sarcastic tone as I wrote that part. Super funny). My comeback to those non-runners is to look at me. If I look at myself, I wouldn’t say I have a runner physique. In fact, I told my running buddies that a Marmot just might be my spirit animal for physical reasons alone (insert LOL).
But what gets me out there? The hurting knees? The callouses? Okay, I’ll stop there before you get grossed out. It’s competition. Every time I lace up I am competing against myself. When I run, I realize it has taught me so much more than just how to finish a 10-mile race. It has taught me about being better-giving more- and proving that a competitive spirit makes amazing things happen.