I saw this today online and decided to share it for two reasons:
1. Isn't it crazy that, seeing as how running IS a sport and therefore should be competitive, our biggest competition really is (assuming you're not Kara Goucher or someone who actually makes their living out of running) just ourselves? I am a competitive person. I like to WIN. In running, during races... it never even crosses my mind that I have to beat anyone except myself. Sure, sometimes I use someone running near me to give me a little push... but, ultimately the only person I'm trying to beat is ME.
2. While, yes-- running is very in-your-own-head and not competitive for me... it still feels good to beat people sometimes. Last night I went to the gym between my 2 volleyball games (the Hubs had to miss Game 1 because he was working late and my gym is less than a block from the sand volleyball courts) to get a few miles in and after my first mile or so one of THOSE guys got onto the treadmill next to me. You know... he was one of those guys that just exudes gym-rat (and I use that term endearingly... I am a total gym rat!) arrogance. Like he thinks that anyone who isn't ripped like him shouldn't even be there. He carries a milk jug of water. And shaves his chest. And wears a t-shirt with the sleeves cut out and WAY down so the arm-pit hole is practically to his waist line. One of THOSE guys (For the record, I realize this is a HUGE stereotype and generalization, but that's the vibe I got from him.). Though I was a little preoccupied watching more Pretty Little Liars on my iPhone, I did notice him start to run at the same pace I was going cruising along at. So, I upped mine 1 level. I couldn't help it. He upped his a few minutes later, so I upped mine again-- two more levels this time. After about 20 more minutes of me going back and forth between several levels faster than him, he was clearly breathing much harder than I was and stopped and got off the treadmill. Now, maybe his run was just done or maybe his legs were crazy tired from a workout the day before or maybe 1,000 other reasons. Whatever. I won. As he was wiping down his treadmill and I was still running he gave me one of those nods. Like somehow I must be OK since I ran faster and longer than him, even though I don't LOOK the gym-rat part. He might be a totally nice person and completely un-gym-rat d-bag-y. Doesn't really matter. What mattered to me in that minute wasn't that I was beating me... it was that I beat him. And, that felt good. Really good. Probably better than it should have, but I was having a crummy day and dammit it just felt good to win. I admit it.
So, whether that days running is a solo-sport kinda day or an I-wanna-beat-the-pants-off-this-guy-next-to-me kinda running day... go with it. Just run. Running is an amazing sport and I love it. Hell, I even love it even when I'm the one getting the pants beat off of me.