I have become ridiculously competitive in the last two years since I took up running. I have also started looking for challenges that will push my body to the limit and not only test my physical but also mental strength. (300km overnight bike ride, anyone?!)
Last October I won my first race. It was a 10k run around a lake and the prize was a pumpkin! My time wasn’t very good, (well over a minute slower than my PB of 42minutes, which isn’t that great for that distance either) there just weren’t any fast people taking part (only two guys beat me.)
Two weeks ago I ran a 3 mile race. I didn’t want to do it, but had promised a friend I would and couldn’t get out of it. A lot of people expected me to win, but I wasn’t feeling too confident. In fact, I was nervous! I ran behind a young girl at a comfortable enough pace. My plan was to sprint past her right at the end. However, just before the 4k mark I saw another woman behind me. She was catching me up quick, and I there was no way she was going to beat me. I picked out a guy in front of me and decided to catch him. I sped past the young girl who had been in the lead, and left her and the other woman quite far behind.
That was a win I was actually quite proud of, as my time of 18.26 was decent enough. Also, there were a lot of speedy people there – the male winner ran the course in 15.30! I didn’t feel sick at the end and managed to smile at the finish line, which made me think I could probably pushed myself a bit harder.
I do sometimes wonder if it would be better if I didn’t have such a competitive streak in me. Would it be nicer to do a race where you weren’t trying to beat your PB and all the other women taking part? I will never know, as I am unable to
‘take it easy.’
I am fully aware that some people think I am totally nuts. But if I wasn’t signing up for all these different challenges, I wouldn’t get people telling me how I’ve inspired them to start exercising again after years of doing nothing or upping their own training to see how much further they can go.
Not everyone will want to do an ironman like me or sign up for a single race, but knowing that I’ve gotten people who have previously done nothing to make fitness part of their lives makes me seriously happy!