Monday, January 28, 2013

Strength and Competition

Photos by Josh Bassett Photography

Last Sunday, we had a poor turnout to our weekly frisbee match so we played one game of 2v3, which was a killer sprint workout, and then called it quits. It was beautiful out and Josh and I were enjoying the sunshine so we hung around for a while to play on the machines at the Rock Creek "Exercise Park". I did some bar jumps and ab exercise leg lifts but the #1 thing that I wanted to conquer were the chin-up bars. I thought that, given the weight-lifting I've been doing, I might be able pull myself up. Just once. I tried and.... I could only kind of do it by cheating. I could do mini pull-ups lowering myself only slightly and then pulling my chin over the bar. Or I could do full on pull-ups with a little boost from my legs, bouncing my feet off the ground in between each. But I couldn't hang freely and then pull myself all the way up with only the strength of my arms.

Now, this is not that big of a deal. I think pull-ups are really hard and I didn't feel defeated. Until I watched about 8 different guys, including Josh, come up to the bars and do ten or more full on pull-ups in a row like it was nothing. I know that at least one of these guys (my lazier-than-me fiance) lifts weights and works out less than I do. But he is naturally SO MUCH STRONGER. Men are naturally so much stronger. And I find this very unfair.

I am a competitive person and I want to be able to compete with guys in the various co-ed sports I play. I hate when I'm at the gym and a guy goes up to a machine I've just been on and moves the bar to lift five times the amount I did. And, when I'm running on a treadmill next to a girl or guy, I am motivated by a desire to run longer and faster than they are.

While I find it to be unfair that guys are faster and stronger and I want to be able to fairly compete with any of them, I am trying to remind myself that, if I'm not on a soccer or frisbee field, it shouldn't ever be about what I can do compared to someone else. And especially not what I can do compared to guys who are way taller, heavier, and broader than me. What has been so great about getting into racing is that, in the sport of running (unless you're a pro), there is nobody to beat but yourself. As I train for my first marathon, I will keep this in mind and I will do only what is best for me and my training.

And, because I know that running is not the only thing to focus on, I'm also setting a goal to be able to do a full-on chin up before my marathon. Bring it on!

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