the competitive edge

As the race season gets rolling, I thought I would dust this off and put it out there:

As I have mentioned before, I have a bit of a competitive streak. Sometimes this is a good thing, it’s one of the things that got me running. It can help me at work, in my desire to be the best at what I do. And when I saw a FB quiz about how controlling–in a OCD way– one is, and my husband’s cousin’s score was 48%, my first thought was “I can beat that!” (I did, coming in at a cool 62%. One friend said that was because the other 38% of the time I’m asleep)

But, sometimes, that competitive edge is too sharp and cuts you–and those around you.

I had a client that ran, and as I was just starting my journey, this person’s 20+ mile runs were amazing to me.This person (lets call the person Pat)  was ex medical personnel (this becomes important later),  and had run the Boston Marathon 23 times. The goal was 25 years in a row with completion.

Unfortunately, Pat’s 24th  marathon was in 2013, when the bombs at the finish line shattered our world. Knowing our client was running the marathon, my co-workers and I anxiously waited for Pat to come in. As retired medical, one could safely assume that Pat would have helped with the injured during the tragic mess.

However, when we finally saw Pat, the biggest concern Pat evinced was the inability to finish the race. They did hand out medals for all that ran, but, in Pat’s mind, the race was incomplete. Pat would never be able to claim 25 straight marathons.  We were shocked at the attitude after such a calamity, and unfortunately, our respect for Pat  was greatly diminished.

I do want to  say that we don’t know that Pat did not help, and I understand the disappointment of 23 years of work that doesn’t come to fruition.  On the the other hand, Pat was upset that the officials would not let any runners finish. So perhaps Pat really was only concerned with Pat. I saw Pat running recently, and it looked painful in the extreme, there were obviously issues with Pat’s feet.

But, Pat ran and so Pat continued running.

While goals are great, and competitiveness can help you soar to new heights, I want to remember Pat. I have already mentioned that if  I walk I don’t consider it a full run. I can’t stop, or, like Pat, it can’t be claimed; like when I saw an old friend in the middle of my first 6m run–I didn’t stop to talk, just waved and ran on.  I tend to be goal and time oriented. But I don’t  want to be a person who let my goals get in the way of helping someone who needs it. I don’t want to continue to run after all enjoyment is gone, simply for a goal.

I run to add to my life, not detract. Sometimes, I think we all need to remember that.

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2 thoughts on “the competitive edge

  1. A very good point made. Too much emphasis is put on winning (in this case finishing) – you don’t want to get your ‘subjects ‘ and ‘objects ‘ mixed up….remember when sport was all amateur?
    I like to see people laughing when they make mistakes playing sport. I play so badly I have to laugh!

    Like

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