It can be good, right? In discussing this with my tri-friends this weekend, I realized that there are two types of competitive people - 1) the type that race to win (i.e., beat others - especially those with whom they train) and base everything on the rankings in the race; and 2) those who are competitive with themselves and like to use other's performances as a benchmark. For me, if a training buddy does well, that's awesome! If we are training together (at the same pace), then it means that I should be able to do that to - or vice versa.
I'll admit, I like to use my friends as benchmarks. For instance, Christy and Kathleen both had great races on Saturday at Gateway to the Bay. In fact, I think that Christy may have had her best race ever - I'm still wondering when she got so fast. It makes me happy to see them do well - because it means that I can as well - even if they are both much better swimmers than me.
So, for Gateway, I decided to 'game' the system and register as an Athena. My goal was to see if I could place. And that I did. I walked away with a first place finish.... and, a run split that was absolutely fabulous. My average pace for the run was a 7:42 (I think, definitely in the 7:40s). I KNOW that this would've been a 5k PR for me... who'd have thought that I'd ever see 7s by my run time... And, I was quite pleased to know that I would've been competitive in my age group as well - granted, I would've had to chase Kathleen down... but, this way, we both win AND we both get rewarded for good races.
Anyway, as for the competition, I think that I'll keep it. I like my version of competition. For me, its about having fun and doing my best. And, I really don't see the problem of using others as benchmarks. Seriously, if they can do it, why can't I.
End of the day, competition is a way of life. Yes, I am the type that believes that kids should not receive participant trophies -- you gotta teach the kiddos at a young age that there are winners and losers and that people will be ranked. Those are the facts of life. I do think that it is a delicate balance. Everyone needs to be pushed to be at the top but everyone also needs to learn to fail. You can't be a big fish in a small pond forever...
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