living in the now

Still rambling about running. Sometimes other things.

In need of competition

A little more than 10 years ago, a good friend and I did a ton of races together. We'd always start together, then he'd have an extra little kick at the end and finish ahead of me.

That always motivated me to push a little harder, and with each race I was always just a step closer to him. That friend also come up with a goal around the time we started doing something beyond 5Ks ... run a marathon before he turned 30. 

At the time, that was insane to me. A 10K? Sure. A 10 miler? OK, fine. A half marathon even ... not too crazy of an idea. I wasn't going to take that step to a marathon. 

Injuries, unfortunately, prevented my friend from hitting that goal. I, however, just kept pushing a little bit harder and ended up crossing my first marathon finish line when I was 29. 

Nearing the end of the Richmond Marathon in 2007. 

Nearing the end of the Richmond Marathon in 2007. 

It was a goal I never intended on having, but that friendly competition he and I started drove me to running my first marathon before I entered my 30s. I also believe that friendly competition kept me going for the next several years as I eventually beat my other race times and ran more marathons. (My friend eventually did run a marathon, but we don't stay in that great of contact anymore.) 

That competition also carried over with other people I came across, especially during a span where I was running with co-workers in Roanoke. We were never in direct competition, but we forced each other to work harder. 

But now here I am nearly five years after anything good happened with running and I'm finally realizing that I have no competition. I've separated myself too much from running with other people, and have boxed myself into an uncomfortable corner. 

I want to get better ... I want to run fast again ... I want to run a marathon again ... 

But I stopped talking about those things ... I stopped coming up with real goals ... I stopped competing against MYSELF. 

I don't need other people to make me stronger and faster, but it's important that I stop running completely solo. That friendly competition from years ago was never about the other people, but those other people helped me focus on me.

I've said it many times over the years, but running is a team sport and I need to start leaning on my friends both in person and online more as I begin to set new goals and move beyond this dreadful winter.