Do we ever grow out of it? (YMX winner too!)

Let’s start on a winning note– picked #10, Stacey,  to win my YMX tee giveaway. Send me an email at and we’ll get you hooked up!

Wondering how old is too old?

When I began running I was about 31. Not a spring chicken, but young enough to think that age groups like 40-45 and on up were pretty darn old. I also remember thinking that by the time I got to those age groups I probably wouldn’t be so competitive; that I’d grow out of it.

Well, I’m 45 now and I’ve got to tell you, I’m still waiting to lose that competitive spirit. I am a more mellow version of that younger self, for sure. I’ve learned that while training is an important part of my life, missing a workout here or there for a legitimate reason isn’t the end of the world.

But I’m still waiting to lose that competitive gene. I mean, sometimes I kind of think it’s all so immature–why does a 45-year old woman really care so much about laying down a good race time?

And maybe it is immature. But. It’s me and I think I’ve come to realize that even at 70, I’m still going to be out there trying to better my times. Well, maybe I’ll understand that bettering my times won’t be happening at that age. But I’ll still care what the clock says as I cross the line.

What about you–do you think you’ll ever outgrow your competitive spirit?


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  1. says

    As I get on in years the definition of a ‘good’ race time is changing but darn it, sure I’m still competitive, with myself more than anything else. It’s about reaching a certain level I’ve come to expect from myself. IMO it’s perfectly healthy. ; )
    Teamarcia recently posted..Bark! Plus Burning QuestionsMy Profile

  2. says

    I try to be realistic. I think I surely can improve my times and get some PRs at least through my 50s.

    But when you get to the 60s and 70s I think it’s probably gonna be more about finishing the race! Hardly any one that age is out there. So just completing a race is an accomplishment. :)
    Holly recently posted..Oh, Rosemary!My Profile

  3. Pat says

    Not immature, but youthful! When we were in our 20’s, my BFF and I laughingly said that we would still be racing in “bun huggers” in our 50’s. It seemed so funny at the time as we couldn’t imagine being that “old”. Well, at 52 I’m not exactly wearing bun huggers(close with short spandex shorts :) ), but I’m still out there and proud of it. Embrace your competitive nature! It will keep you healthy and young!

  4. C2Iowa says

    Immature is what they call someone who is willing to put age aside and push the edge. I do not think that I will ever be mature when it comes to some things. I too was/am a late starter — 42.

  5. says

    i hope not!! :)

    and i never think of you/other mom-running-blog friends as being as “old” as you are. (*i mean that in a good way of course)

    you guys are all so youthful (and speedy!), i forget that you are older than me! i hope to be running just as strong when i hit my 40s and up.
    lindsay recently posted..friday freebie: uprint labelsMy Profile

  6. says

    I am still all about laying down a good (for me) race time, but I have found that I am much less competitive at the end of races. Meaning my final kick isn’t to catch and pass the people in front of me, but is more about me finishing strong and beating the clock.
    Jamoosh recently posted..Speed Work & 10 ThingsMy Profile

  7. says

    I believe your words “competitive gene” are spot on. I think you are either born with it or not. If you are born with it you will die with it. I’ve never been competitive in any area, running and life in general. I do my best always, but that is my best for that day or moment. I don’t really mind if I’ve done better before or wonder if I can do better. All my running PR’s were set in the 1990’s. I will never better any of them, but I do still chase some distance goals at times. My most distance for a year was 1999 when I ran 5334km(3314.5miles). I actually think I will better that still.
    Johann recently posted..Golden Gate, South AfricaMy Profile

  8. CJ says

    At 43, I’m still competing with my younger self (and occasionally people who annoy me and I feel I should pass in races). I’m convinced I still have a marathon PR to catch, and I’m hoping for a closer-to-4-hours than nearly-4-1/2-hours at Sparks this year.

    While I’d love a sub-4, I’m not sure that’s in the cards, but I haven’t given up hope that I’ll continue to get speedier as I work on regaining fitness lost over many years of pregnancy and nursing ups and downs.

  9. says

    I’m not a very competitive person when it comes to running. Sure, I want to improve and set new PRs and do the best I can, but I never get bent out of shape if I get passed (though I don’t necessarily like it). Like one of the other commenters, I like a final kick to feel awesome when I cross the finish, but I’m not really set on passing others.
    Raquelita recently posted..Mad for MozartMy Profile

  10. says

    I started running young, but didn’t worry about my times until my thirties. I will always want “good” times for where I am, regardless of how I stand in absolute terms relative to myself. I think it’s a GOOD attitude (as long, as you say, as it’s not taken too far or takes the fun out of it)–it keeps you young.

    And what did we know about life at 31? I’m going to be 39 in January, and my thirties were so much better than my twenties (and it was all about my own shifts in attitude), that I can’t wait to see what my forties are like!! So far it only gets better.
    Terzah recently posted..A DigressionMy Profile

  11. stacey says

    You just totally made my day!!!! I cant believe I won!!

    I just did a “Mud Run” this past Sunday and let me tell ya my competitive gene was in full gear!! There were 830 teams with 4 people per team and most people were not athletes/runners at all!! I was placed on one of our gyms teams and one of our teammates arrived late and we missed our wave to start so we got bumped back to wave C! There was a 40min wait at the 2nd obstacle (a 20 foot mud wall to climb with ropes) and people were drunk and RUDE!! I was all about the good cause and charity but didnt like the disorganization and lack of port-a-potties! I think I will stck to marathons!

    Once again I love your blog and THANK YOU for the amazing giveaway!

  12. says

    I think thats just about having a bit of spark in your life- a little pep. And at any age it keeps you young and vibrant. If your are competive it means you still believe deep down that you still ‘got it’ which I think is awesome. I hope im 75 and still try to blast past the 68 year old crowd with swagger!
    karen F recently posted..Thunder Thigh loveMy Profile

  13. says

    I think being competitive and wanting to do your best is a part of who we are, so nope… I bet you won’t “grow out of it” and I doubt I ever will either. We will be the little old ladies at the starting lines of races winning our age groups and loving every minute of it. :)
    Erin Henderson (@SeeMomRunFar) recently posted..Why blog?My Profile

  14. says

    I don’t think there is any way I could lose my competitiveness. I remember going to a birthday party when I was maybe 7 or 8 and we played pin the tail on the donkey and afterward the parents mentioned to my parents how competitive I was even then. I don’t think in a bad way. I believe that humans, by nature, are competitive. Survival of the fittest. Even though I may never win a race and times will eventually get slower with age, I’ll always be competing in my age group.
    Carrie @ Maine Mom on the Run recently posted..Track TuesdayMy Profile

  15. says

    I definitely don’t see myself outgrowing my competitiveness! While I do think being injured has taught me that I need to reign in how I do things occasionally (ie don’t go all out in soccer), during races I will definitely always go all out as long as my body feels good.
    Nelly recently posted..Football is back!My Profile

  16. Susie says

    I’m just starting running at 43 and while winning (or placing) in a race is a far off dream (fairy tale), I still feel the need to do beat somebody. I originally thought I would have to wait until I was in my 70s but then realized that all the faster runners my age now will probably still be running in their 70s, so there goes that idea. I’ll just have to be satisfied in beating my 60 year old running partner. ;D

  17. says

    It ain’t happening. I’ve been competitive with myself and others since I was a kid. I love competition. My cousin once joked that I will watch any competition on TV or go to it because there are winners and losers. It is definitive….there are no maybes.

    I laughed when she said that and then the next week I was watching double-dutch competition on ESPN… lie.

    I tend to be very black and white. Right and wrong. Competition does that as well. You are either better or your not, and that better can be against yourself or against the field.

    I for one know that I will never lose that competitive spirit.
    Jason @ Cook Train Eat Race recently posted..Breakfast on Race DayMy Profile

  18. says

    I have become one against the clock too many times and it just stressed the hell out of me, and my family because I am no fun to be around pre-race. So I’m trying to take a new approach to this race thing and now want to try to have the tenacity to train strong so that when I do stand on the start line of any race, what I give that race is what I put into it prior to get there. I think the time will be a reflection of my dedication. I hope.
    Jill recently posted..The Bear Chase Trail 1/2 MarathonMy Profile

  19. says

    Not a chance. and it is not just with running it is with everything. I have always been this way, cannot help it. running I compete against myself more than anything because well I am a turtle but I still feel cometitive..I’ll pick a stranger and she’ll be my competition for the day. and I am not a spring chicken either.
    caroline recently posted..Italian deliveryMy Profile

  20. says

    I do have a competitive spirit, big time! Well, at least my heart, mind and left leg are competitive. My right knee, well, not so much. Right now I’m just coasting, hoping to get through October and finish all my races I have planned but I hope after I get my IT Band worked on “officially” that I’ll be back to 8/9 minute miles. Fingers crossed!
    Coy recently posted..There’s Never Enough Mo’ CowbellMy Profile

  21. says

    I’m not super competitive unless you count, competing with myself! But I started “seriously” running last year and I’ve noticed I’ve developed a little competitive way about myself during a race, which is strange because that’s not like me. How funny, because I was 31 last year and that was when I decided to take running a little more seriously! Cool! I love your site…so motivating!! THANK YOU FOR THAT!

  22. says

    OK my wife was a little older when she started running and after running 39:59 for a 10km race when she was 39 thought that was all her body could do…

    Then she met me!!! (some times I like to take the credit) and at age 45/46 she ran all her PR’s with time like 38:25 and 86:15!!! Now 10 years on she won’t line up for a race if she can’t run ‘fast’ (fast does change from year to year) she doesn’t like to be beaten by people she feels she should beat…

    I have a problem with the clock and my averages OK only that half times… I plan to blog about this problem some time before my next half…

    thanks for a good read.
    Coach Dion recently posted..2 x 10kmMy Profile

  23. says

    Well, you ARE in one of the more competitive age groups! ;0) When I hear the race results I wish I was in the 20’s AG because once you hit e 35+ it really really gets competitive and the field gets FAST!
    That’s the great thing about running though – I know I’m competing with my last race, not the winners!
    That Pink Girl recently posted..random friday factsMy Profile