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Competitive? Me? Nah!


I was determined to get my long work outs in this weekend, even with a trip to Boston for a bachelorette party, yes a typical one with lots of drinks!  I succeeded in getting one in on Saturday morning before hoping in the car.  And this work out reminded me that I do have a competitive side, no matter how much I like to think of myself as non-competitive.

It started off with a hard, but good, ride with crazy spin teacher.  It wasn’t as challenging as two weeks ago, but I was still up in my 85% heart rate zone for a lot of ride.  Again, I wasn’t going tos tay for her second class, so I zoomed out of the room and headed for the Expresso bike.  A man who’d been in my spin class was already seated on the 2nd bike and I didn’t think much of it.  Clearly, he wanted a bit more of a work out- but not another round of crazy spin teacher.  I chose my course- a moderate 5.3 miles that I figured would take at least close to the additional 1/2 hour I needed to get in.  I started the course, feeling good, and then noticed something.  Bike #2 was in my course, Bike #2 was the guy sitting next to me.  He was riding the same course I was!  I tried not to think much of it at the beginning, I was a bit ahead of him and just kept riding on.  But then he started to inch closer to me, and I started to divert my eyes from my screen and check out his to see how far behind he was.  Only .03 miles!  And here is where I will say, he started it by joining my ride.

Let me stop for a second to explain something about my competitive nature when it comes to endurance athleticism.  I do not find that I am competitive with women.  If I find myself on a run in the park and I’m running with a woman for a part of the run, I won’t make sure I’m ahead of her, I won’t speed up to pass her if she’s passed me, I really normally won’t even pay attention to that if it is happening.  However, if a man replaces that woman, it is on.  For example.  One afternoon run in the park this Spring, I found that this guy was hanging around in my general area during my run.  I decided that I’d rather have him behind me, than in front of me, or passing me and then me passing him constantly.  That just gets annoying.  So I sped up a little bit to keep him behind me.  He was wearing wind pants so I could hear when he was getting closer, and I sped up even more accordingly.  It was awesome.  I pushed myself harder than I had done so before during a run, and it felt good to not let him get in front of me for a good mile.  He knew what was going on, I could sense it.  Then when I went to turn on the 72nd st. transverse he stayed straight.  I wanted to turn around and thank him for the push, or smile or something to acknowledge what had happened, but he was gone, either lost in the crowd or had stopped further back.  Oh well.

Anyway, to get back to Saturday.  So again, a man is challenging me and my athleticism and there was no way he was going to beat me.  No way.  I pushed hard up and down hills, I hardly took a moment to wipe the sweat pouring off my face.  He almost had me a couple of times.  I could see during peeks at his screen that he had me in his sights, the biker on his screen with the 1 floating above his/her head- yeah that was me.

And then, the finish line was near and I was going to win.  I saw him slow down next to me, and I pushed right through to the end.  So pumped up.  I still had 4 minutes to ride, so I chose another easy race and continued on with my ride, thinking he was staying on too.  Nope, I had worked him too hard, he bailed out.  I turned as he walked away, tempted to say something- but I chickened out.  I mean, I don’t want to bruise his ego too much, you know?  Now, I’m just being snarky, this is what happens when people bring out my competitive side!

A pause for another story, in college during parties when we’d get a group together for flip cup games, I would become another person, yelling at my teammates to go, cursing when we’d mess up.  Focused, more than anyone could ever imagine in my drunken state on winning.  I made my volleyball playing roommate so proud!  But my other friends, they were confused.  It wasn’t how I typically am, still isn’t, but when it rears its head, watch out.

You know what happened at the end of this ride, I was shaking, the adrenadline was pumping through my viens so fast and strong.  It kind of felt awesome, and scary too.  Last year during the Granite Man there weren’t a lot of people around me during my bike.  Those that passed me, so deserved to- goddamn there are some serious athletes who do these races.  And those I passed, I shouted a cheerful, “good job” to.  I didn’t find I was competitive with them, or even really myself so much.  I wonder if this year will be different.  I wonder if a lot of has to do with, pushing myself to “beat” people I know I can and during races, if you’re already ahead of those people, you just have to push yourself even harder.  My race mentality is more focused on me rather than others.  And, I don’t know if that is something I want to change.  And, to top this post off even more, beating men on rides and runs and even in swims, is something I don’t want to change either.

I am woman, hear me roar!

One Comment leave one →
  1. Sades permalink
    07/27/2009 10:47 pm

    I love it. I am the same way. I did a triathlon in Hawaii and spent a good part of the bike going back and forth with another girl, and then eventually pulling away from her for good. it is so much fun, and usually results in a better time because that person/distraction gives you an extra kick. I spend the entire runs picking off people in front of me. I always make sure to say good job to them, and thanks at the end to the ones who stuck with me and helped me push harder. Good luck this season.

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