I’m a very competitive person when it comes to most things and definitely competitive when it comes to running. In many ways, I think it can be quite a detrimental trait to have as it is easy to be led into disappointment and feelings of failure. There’s always this lingering fear that I am going to let myself down. Because of this, an extremely competitive nature can be dangerous as I have a tendency to push myself extremely hard. In my mind, I’ve never really given it all I got. I always have to train more and harder, run faster and further, lift longer and heavier… push it to the limit every day all the way. I would think this would be the mindset of the average elite athlete, but I think it’s pretty obvious the pitfalls that could accompany it. You can’t always win and get faster. There has to be a cutoff point.
When do you know you are running as fast as you can possibly get? At what point does it strike you that you’ve hit your physical limit? When do you know you’ve run as far as you can endure? How do you know when you’ve reached your point of maximum physical fitness and athletic capabilities? Do we ever realize these things?
I definitely consider myself a runner, and not just a runner, but also an athlete. However, being your average athlete or amateur runner just doesn’t appeal to me in any way. I want to be at the top of the ladder, but I also fear reaching the top and finding there’s no ladder left to climb. Will I ever get to that point? I highly doubt it, but it’s ingrained in me to try. For me, I don’t think of it in terms of being better at something than someone else. I think of it as being the absolute best I can be. Other people’s performance simply helps to gauge where I stand in terms of my capabilities and what I need to do to improve.
The water seems very shallow where I’m treading. If I can come to terms and accept that in this journey I will have plenty of successes and failures, I think I will be a much better competitor for it and be able to have fun with the sport instead of seeing it as such a serious matter. In my current state of mind, I am probably setting myself up for incredible feelings of inadequacy, eventually.
But I can’t change my nature. This is who I am.