On racing, competition, and adversity

My husband and I were discussing our experience yesterday running our half marathons (he ran also but he was way up ahead with the much faster runners). We both had similar experiences. We both had the person on our heels for some of the race that kept us going.

For me it went down like this:  As I’ve mentioned, I followed the Galloway method, which has you walking short intervals and running longer intervals. At the start of the race this was hard. I got passed by a lot of people and it hurt my ego. There is a  sprinter deep inside me that really gets competitive during races. But I held out. I kept telling myself that this would pay off in the end. “It’s not about who passes you in the beginning. It’s about who you pass in the end.” – to quote my husband. So I did my best to keep my pace slower and stick with my walking intervals. But the competive nature kicked in and I found myself making small goals. I would pick someone up ahead and tell myself, “I’m going to work on passing that person next.” So during the next running interval I picked up the pace and worked on getting closer and closer.  Eventually I would pass them. Eventually I passed a number of people who passed me early on. I really feel like  the walking intervals gave me enough of a rest to really push hard during the running intervals. And indeed, my time during the running intervals were faster than usual (the walking intervals are pretty short. I walked one minute for every 2 minutes I ran).

This kept on for the entirety of the race. Eventually I got to the last mile and felt like I could dial it down a notch since I’d passed almost everyone I could. But as I slowed down for my walking interval I was passed by a woman whom I’d be doing this dance with for most the the race. I thought “Fuck no.” So when my running interval hit I passed her and then I just kept running and running. I didn’t take any more waking breaks. I only had a mile left. I could run the rest of the way, dammit. I needed to not let this person pass me and beat me. And she didn’t. At the end we both congratulated each other on a good race.

Raf, pretty much had the same story (except at a much faster pace with no walking involved). We thought about how important it was to have this sense of “adversity.” This bit that stirred up the competitive nature. If it wasn’t for that adversity I wouldn’t have dug deep and pushed harder.

This kind of gives me a greater appreciation for adversity in life. Maybe I should treat adversity in the same way as I would in a race, because it is an important part of change and growth.

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