I was reading a piece by Coach John Murray of Multisport Performance Institute where he was discussing the role of flip turns for the triathlete. In it he wrote, "If you are trying to beat the athlete in the next lane (and you probably are), better turns and streamlining off the wall are a sure method for some free speed."
I just laughed out loud at the "and you probably are" part. So it's not just me. Admit it, you've done it too.
Some of us really nice people are just hard-wired to enjoy the "pass" - no matter what, when, who, or how unfair.
- Out walking your dog? I will politely say "good morning" as I enjoy running past you.
- Riding your fixie to class? I will admire your chosen transport as I pass you decisively.
- Swimming next to me? Ummm....I will swim faster (or sure as heck try).
One time in an airport I caught the eye of some other traveler as we started up a set of stairs and without a word we raced up (I lost...that one still burns).
It's not just people. A section of one of my ride routes parallels a train track. When the timing works, I "race" the train. I don't win that one either, but it's fun to try.
While I enjoy the competition and I enjoy racing/passing people, I'm not all that concerned about race results. Results are about who shows up. I like what Ian Thorpe had to say about it --
"For myself, losing is not coming second. It's getting out of the water knowing you could have done better. For myself, I have won every race I've been in."
My biggest competitor, my chief competitor, is ME! Come race time, I want to get the most out of myself that I can. I want to be strong and positive mentally, fighting hard even when the chips are down. I can't expect miracles out of myself on race day, but I can expect and be prepared to suffer to reach the upper end of my own capabilities.
I think I am a pretty chill, non-competitive person in the rest of my life. I have no desire to one-up other moms, climb some corporate ladder, have the nicest car (haha obviously), or dress the best. I don't push my kids to be superstars by conventional measures (although they are in their own ways ;-). I don't even drive fast.
So grant me an allowance for this one little healthy expression of competitiveness. And if you see me coming...well....let's race!