One weekend in the not-so-distant past, I was wasting time on Twitter (as I all-too-frequently do) and something nasty happened.
Via retweets, I saw that a blogger I’m familiar with (but whose posts aren’t my cup of Nuun Lemon Tea) had run a PR — a PR faster than mine.
I deflated. I’d followed her in the past, briefly, and she was much slower than me. “What’s she doing differently from what I’m doing?” I thought. “Why is she improving so much faster than I am? I’m never going to get into Boston!”
This isn’t healthy, y’all. I don’t even KNOW this chick. Getting down on myself from seeing her race results makes as much sense as getting down on myself over the race results of every single person in my age group to beat me in any given race. (And if I did that, I’d be so down that I’d never make it back up again.)
One of the reasons I run is because I like competing against myself…and only myself. Whenever my coach pointed out a “rival” — a girl who often finished just in front of or behind me — in high school, I choked in all future meetings. (Amy Williams and Brittany Schrock: Yeah, I still remember you! Thanks for beating me!) I’d be a horrible pro athlete, and not just because I’m slow.
The internet has given me all kinds of “rivals” I’ll never compete against in person, and I don’t want them. I don’t want to be unhappy because someone else had a good race. That’s not good for my running karma.
I don’t feel this weird rivalry vibe toward run-bloggers I personally follow and like — it’s like we’re teammates? — and I won’t get into what makes a blogger decidedly Not on My Imaginary Team.
But one reason I’m excited to take on my new role at work* is because it’ll allow me to avoid the parts of the run-blogging/run-tweeting culture I don’t like. I can stop having these negative feelings, which will enable me to run better…and then I’ll totally crush that girl’s new PR. (Kidding. Mostly.)
Anyone else find themselves in my rival-anxiety boat?
*Old role = Mostly Twitter and other web things. New role = Print-based.