Competitive Joni is my alter ego. An alter ego which I am not particularly proud of and I have absolutely no control of when she is likely to pay me a visit!
On my run home yesterday, I stopped to take a call on my mobile. At this precise moment, Mr Green (a man in a green t-shirt!) ran by and overtook me. This didn't bother me one bit. I was walking but due to a perfectly valid reason. I ended my call and proceeded to plod on home.
Today, on my run home, I spotted Mr Green behind me, trying to catch me up. A sane person would continue to run at the same pace and allow Mr Green to pass. Well apparently not me. Competitive Joni appears and I start to pick up the pace. Please bear in mind, I am not particularly fast. I am also very tired as my run home is my second run of the day!
My little, tired and heavy legs are going like the clappers, my muscles screaming, my arms pumping away and my lungs gasping for air. I could hear Mr Green approaching from behind. The voice of sane Joni is saying "Take it steady. Slow it down, you're just running home, not going for an Olympic gold medal." The voice of Competitive Joni screams "Do not let him beat you, you loser". The voice of Competitive Joni wins and I speed up like a loon, whilst at the same time, trying to look perfectly normal, in control of my limbs and keeping my breathing (panting/gasping) under control.
Unsurprisingly, Mr Green passes me with ease and grace and continues to speed off into the distance.
I do not slow down one bit, well not until Mr Green is out of sight and sane Joni returns, ungracefully accepts defeat and I then stop and walk, catch my breath and wait for the purple colouring to leave my face!
I have no idea at all why this happens. If I was a fast runner, then great but I am far from it. When I run marathons, Competitive Joni doesn't bother me. I'm generally happy just plodding around the course, admiring the scenery. I get overtaken all the time in races and I don't tend to get too upset. Yeah, it's a great feeling when you do pip someone to the finish line but it's not the end of the world if I don't (to be perfectly honest, I'm usually just extremely grateful to get to the finish in one piece).
Running around the streets of York is a completely different story. If I see a runner approaching from the opposite direction, I (as all runners do), stand up tall, check my form (hold my tum in), control my breathing better and smile, just for those few brief moments until the other runner passes. I then breath out, my look of exhaustion comes back and I return to being heavy footed and huffing and puffing again! If I see/hear a runner approaching from behind, I do everything I can to avoid being overtaken and if that includes busting a lung and making my legs burn until my eyes stream then so be it.
I wanted to share this story with the world in the hope that there are other competitive maniacs out there who have read this and think this is completely rational behaviour (come on, there must be one other runner who does this?!) I leave you mulling over your own running behaviour, whilst I go and rest up......I have a race home tomorrow to prepare for. I will not give up Mr Green. You will not beat me tomorrow.....Wah ha ha ha (evil laugh).