There are a few rules that I abide by when I work out - probably first & foremost is that I do everything for me, I simply don't care about others. If I pass somebody as I'm running? Great. If I get passed by a million cyclists & their grandmothers & a kid on training wheels? Great. I'm out there for me - I'm pushing myself. I may be fast. I may be slow. It's about me and, really, who cares about what anybody else is doing.
But, one week from today, I'm going to abandon that rule. A few weeks ago, I was working on a project with the head of Accounts Payable at my office. I do a fairly good job of avoiding any/all "everybody in the corporate office" messages during the course of the day (I read them off hours). Typically, any "opt-in" event that doesn't involve pizza in a conference room is something that gets ignored - it's not that I don't absolutely just love my job, but unless I'm heading out for drinks with a few coworkers that I know/like, I'm not a big "hang out while not working and not getting paid" kind of guy.
However, I was working with the head of Accounts Payable when she sent one of these "all corporate office" emails, and rather than leave it for later, I opened it. It was a request to get runners for a run. It's just a mile, some corporate challenge. Local corporations will enter teams of 5, and there might be some sort of prize for the corporation that has best 5-person time. I signed up.
My act of signing up started a ball rolling. First, we went from 8 to 15 people because I was simply talking about the run in a break room, and I'm loud, and a few other people (who had successfully ignored the email) signed up. The next was that I told my coworkers that I'm training for the Harrisburg marathon. The final item was a talk of the timing.
While I don't really care about timing, I do time myself every now & then. Part of it's a curiosity thing - "hmmm, I wonder how fast I'm running", and part of it is logistical -- most marathons ask you to not "compete" (using that word loosely) if you can't complete the marathon in 6 hours or so. So, I run between an 8:30 and a 9:30 mile if I'm just running. However, if I actually push myself, I've gotten the final mile of a 5k (3.1 mile) run down to 7:14.
Well, as we were talking about timing, it seems that I have the best mile time. So, now I need to win. I certainly don't need to win the race against all others. But against my coworkers? I do. During my morning runs, I'm pushing myself, HARD, for the last mile. I feel odd actually caring about a result (other than "finish" and "did not complete"), but, there you have it. Funny that a competitive moment came about.
After a long time of near-drought, it was pouring this morning. No walking the dogs, and I slept in. I refuse to feel bad about the decision. I'll do my "conference call pushups", and I'll be back into cardio stuff tomorrow. Today, I'll let the legs rest.