Nate and I started our running journey about four-five years ago in Kearney. We were tired of being sedentary slugs, so we downloaded a 5k training guide and ran/walked our way to our first 5k. We ran several 5k's until the spring of 2010 when we walked/ran our first half-marathon. Since then we've ran 10k's, a 10 mile race, another half-marathon, trail runs, and several more 5k's. I don't post this because I think I've earned bragging rights; rather, I'm proud of the hard work we've put in to our journey. I'm especially proud of my husband who doesn't even really enjoy running all that much. He runs to stay in shape and because it's an activity I enjoy. He's a trooper---I mean it, because I haven't always been the best running companion. My competitive nature has really taken a firm grip on me this year.
Today we ran in the cold, snowy, and extremely slick Jingle Bell Run in North Platte...
I had all intentions of keeping today's run relaxed, so I left my Garmin in the car and told Nate I'd run with him. About one mile in to the race I spotted two women 400 yards ahead of me in ridiculous looking tutus. I can't let those tutus beat me, I thought. I told Nate and Kristin (another Ogallalan running with us today) that I had to beat the tutus. So I gradually picked up the pace, slowly gaining ground on the tulle-adorned women. I thought my competitive drive would stop when I passed the tutus, but it didn't. Soon, two runners, who had reached the turn-around point and were on their last mile and a half, passed me going the opposite direction towards the finish line while I still hadn't reached the turn-around. It drove me crazy, so I kept running, picking up the pace with every step, trying not to slip on the icy roads. All I could think about was passing the person in front of me. I'd pass one person and focus my eyes on the next. When I crossed the finish line I was winded and expected to feel satisfied. I had, after all, ran a decent race despite the elements and had done a nice job of pacing myself without my Garmin. But I didn't feel that satisfaction. I came out of the chute and walked back towards the road, looking for my running partners I started the race with: Nate and Kristin. When I saw them coming around the last corner, I felt terrible for letting my competitive streak win out over my original commitment to run with my husband.
This isn't the first time I've done this to Nate--I've left him behind on long runs in town and during several road races. I think what I struggle with the most is the conflict I have between wanting to run competitively and desiring the same companionship we had when we began our running journey. It's hard for me to accept that we're at two different levels. I need to learn to curb my competitive nature once in a while and simply run with my husband, not ahead of him. I'm hoping marathon training will teach me this because I know I will not be able to run more than 6 miles at my usual pace, and I will need a running companion to keep me accountable for squeezing in long runs. As a great man (my husband) once said, Running isn't always about PR's--sometimes it's about sharing the road with the others.