I Think It’s Fun When You’re Not Competitive

One of the top searches people use to find this blog is “I’m not competitive.”  It takes them directly to an old post of mine with that title.  Sometimes I’m a little embarrassed, because while most of the post is true (I really am not competitive at all), it ends with a big dramatic assertion that I am afraid to push myself and that is why I’m not competitive.  That I’m going to push and find my limits, and I’m okay if I get let down in the process.

I am now rolling my eyes at my past self.

Yes, it’s important to push your limits.  Yes, it’s good to challenge yourself to meet a new goal.  Sometimes that goal might be a new personal best time at a race.  Sometimes it might be a new distance, a new sport, or a new class at the gym.

I am working my little tail off this training season.  It certainly showed in the swim yesterday.  I am still beaming thinking about that one.  18:16. Yeah!

Ready for my best swim ever.

But I set out yesterday to PR in sprint triathlon, not just the swim.  I felt really sad after the race, and I still do, a little bit.  Logically, I know I did all that I could, and made good decisions.  I kept my health a priority.  And though I belittled myself for prioritizing health and, as I called it, “making excuses,” in my old post, my health is a little more fragile because of my ulcerative colitis.  It is important that I take those needs into consideration.

Feeling sad after a race is a bummer.  You put all of this effort and energy into one day, and then… bam!  The day is no longer good because you didn’t meet your goal.  It was so much easier when my goal was always just to finish and have fun.

There never was a more fun and ridiculous race than last year's Beachathon. (Except maybe MC200?)

So after Steelhead, that’s what I’m going to do.  I’m going to pick races that look fun.  I’m going to smile a lot, and cheer for other runners.  I’m still going to push myself, and go all out on days when I feel great and want to push for a PR.  But I’m not going to push for a PR after a rough week health wise just because I feel like I should PR.

I’ve been putting a lot of pressure on myself and I don’t like how it feels.

Maybe some of us are just wired in a different way.  A non-competitive way.  Or maybe I’m just a wuss who doesn’t like to be sad after a race.  The reason doesn’t matter to me.  Triathlon is a hobby.  I do it to have fun.  And it can be whatever I want it to be.

What about you?  Are you competitive?  Do you compete against others or yourself?

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7 Comments

Filed under Life, Training, Triathlon

7 responses to “I Think It’s Fun When You’re Not Competitive

  1. I definitely enter races for fun, but come race day I naturally feel the need to compete. If you are ever headed to southwest Michigan for a fun run, let me know. :)

  2. I meant southeast Michigan. Ooops! Lol

  3. Lauren, this is a great post. I also firmly assert that I am NOT competitive, but let’s face it — if we truly are not competitive, why pay to enter races? I think being a little competitive is a good thing, as it pushes me to try new things and strive for constant, albeit small, improvements. But I know that when I don’t do well at a race, I will beat myself up mentally for days, weeks. I don’t think that’s healthy but I know a lot of others who are in the same boat. Racing should be FUN. Racing should be the reward for all the training we do. When I make myself miserable for not attaining some time goal that, frankly, has no significance to anyone other than myself, it’s time to chill out a little.

    • Lauren

      Thank you so much! I think I enter races because I love the energy — the crowds, the people, the adrenaline in the air. I love race day even as a spectator! But yes, I do get a little bit competitive when I get out there… sometimes.

  4. Sadly, I am a little competitive!! Not really with myself so much but when I play sports!! I like to WIN!!! hahaha! I’m a good sport though!

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