runchat 017 300x225 Motivation

A girl after my own heart

On Sunday, I took the kids to my running club’s low-key weekly series race to run a two-miler. This was my daughter’s second go at the distance. The first time we ran it together, we took a few walking breaks. This time–she was having none of that. She was all about running the whole thing.

My son set off ahead and I stuck with my daughter. One of her little friends was there running with his family, also. We started out with them and stayed with them for quite some time. Then her friend moved a bit ahead of her. Well, that was all it took–her competitive side kicked in and she surged on. We caught and passed her friend (just), where we stayed for the remainder of the race. Any time I heard her friend approaching from behind, my little gal picked up her pace. It made me laugh to see her doing this.

As we were getting closer to the finish, she told me, “I just want to beat 21:46.” I was amazed that she could remember her time from the last two-miler and that she cared that much about it. I told her she could comfortably beat her time if she kept up the running. We crossed the finish line in 19:55 by my watch.

Later in the day, I mentioned to her that I noticed she picked it up every time her friend got close. Her response to me was one word/one name: her brother’s. She wanted to make sure that he wouldn’t tease her for getting beaten by one of her friends.

Oh, my readers. I wish I could say that didn’t sound just like me, but I’d be lying. When I was her age, pride in accomplishment often came in the form of where I placed in this or that competition and ensuring that there was no one who would have any reason for laughing at my performance.

The question is–have I changed much since then? Yes and no. I truly do care much more about the clock than in who I beat, and I care about my performance for me. But do I also care if my time is respectable in the eyes of others? I have to admit, I do.

I know that’s silly for someone my age, but it is what it is.  The truth of the matter is that no one is paying as much attention, or judging me, as me. I know this. But it’s still there, and it probably has quite a bit to do with my motivation at its core, if I care to look in a mirror. Will I ever outgrow it? Who knows?

What motivates you to do your best?


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  1. That competitive spirit is just something that you’re born with isn’t it?! I think it’s great that your daughter has it. Every true athlete has to have it.
    Char recently posted..Poo and Ugly Birthday CakesMy Profile

  2. Don’t fool yourself, I am judging you. Those socks you were wearing a few days ago? Puhleaze…

  3. I am so there with you. I mostly compete with myself, but yeah, sometimes I’m more worried about getting a “respectable” time or not being beaten by a certain person. I’ll freely admit that I’ve been managing my long runs lately because someone I know is suddenly running long and I need to keep up with or beat their distance. Not proud, but I’ll take motivation wherever it comes from LOL.

    I love that she kept pushing. Awesome!
    MCM Mama recently posted..State #18: North CarolinaMy Profile

  4. Love this story! Good for her! I bet it’s great to see that drive in your child. And I am with you… I can’t help but care about what my time shows to others… I guess it’s a pride thing. Always been that way, I doubt I can change.. and not sure I want to as soemtimes it’s the extra push I need in a race when it gets tough.

  5. What a great picture of you and your daughter. The present and future of running – awesome.

    Nothing wrong with wanting to compete as long as it doesn’t get all-consuming.
    Chris @ Evolving Through Running recently posted..Want vs NeedMy Profile

  6. You are a stud in the eyes of this beholder… no matter your time or performance
    LisaM@RunWiki recently posted..A Story and A Custom “Mantra” Bracelet GiveawayMy Profile

  7. love your daughter’s determination….remember you’ve instilled that drive in her, Momma-so be proud!!!

    i think what pushes me is always thinking of where I started, how unhealthy I had allowed myself to become, and that always pushes me through that next workout, each and every time!!
    marissa recently posted..random ramblings…and healthy food too!My Profile

  8. That’s awesome!

    The clock definitely motivates me over all, but during a race, it gives you that extra kick to pass people. Sometimes that’s what you need to keep going.
    kari @ Running Ricig recently posted..morning workouts are backMy Profile

  9. This is really so, so cute! I was the same way when I was a kid, and now too :)
    amy recently posted..StrongerMy Profile

  10. Oh, that’s the best story!!! she’s so cute. I always make sure I pass a few guys before a finish line, it’s kind of like take THAT buddy!
    Molly recently posted..fighting the feelingsMy Profile

  11. How sweet to see the littlest Zippy’s competitive spirit come out. I compete against the clock or against a prior version of me. Truly I don’t pay attention to others because I’m so not into the whole comparison thing.
    Teamarcia recently posted..The Flu Bug ComethMy Profile

  12. Love that your daughter kept pushing – great determination!
    Michelle @ Running with Attitude recently posted..Figuring out the final tweeksMy Profile

  13. So Little Zippys don’t fall far from the tree, huh?
    Kovas recently posted..Fasting and Endurance SportsMy Profile

  14. As much as I want to admit that in these “wiser” years I’m not as competetive, I know that as soon as results are posted for an event I’m stalking the results pages as soon as they’re printed or posted online to see where I placed overall and especially within my age group. Not that I beat myself up if I didn’t do as well as I hoped, but it feels great to an award… even if these days it’s just within my age bracket ;)

    Way to go for your daughter and her PR! Love to see running that runs in the family!

  15. Aw! I love that you’ve instilled a love for running in your daughter at such a young age. It’s such a confidence and self-esteem booster! I remember when I was young I HATED being beat by my friends also :)
    Kara recently posted..Unexpected 3.1My Profile

  16. I love, love, LOVE this!!! M son’s fastest 5K was while I was running with Girls on the Run. My girls were pretty darn fast and he was bound and determined not to let them beat him. It was great, but I thought he was going to keel over once he finished!
    Kathy R recently posted..Bad Race Photos!!!My Profile

  17. Loved this story. I can so see my daughter becoming like this. She is stoked to do her 2nd kids’ tri this summer and see if she can bring home hardware (4th last year with no real training and no idea what we were doing on transitions). Love it! I’m sure at some point we’ll have to help focus less on others and more on “beating ourselves” and “rejoicing in the accomplishment”.
    Christina recently posted..My Day w/ Dancing & AbsMy Profile

  18. I’m the same way, for sure. Mostly it’s about achieving my own person goals, racing against only myself and the clock, but of course there are always thoughts about what others will think, or how my peers are doing in comparison. All in good fun!

    Way to go to your daughter! Sub-20!!
    marlene recently posted..Boston+ Training – Week 9My Profile

  19. Funny story! I can relate, completely, to the sibling pressure. My sister is my running partner and is my biggest competition. We work well together, but we definitely have a fear of failure in the face of one another.

    Other than her, my biggest motivator is my OCDness. I totally want to continually see better numbers. It’s an obsession.
    Vieve recently posted..Brown EyesMy Profile

  20. I love this! I have to say I really like to beat my husband when we are racing together. We go back and forth as to who wins, but whenever I win, he says he let me win and it drives me insane!! Glad we still have our competitive edge:)
    Hikermom recently posted..RoadblocksMy Profile

  21. I may be just like you & your daughter! I think we all care about what others think of our time… unless I am just a crazy like you :)

    My friends motivate me… I hate losing, I am always trying to beat myself. I know this will have to end sooner or later but for now I am pretty much on goal!
    Mandi recently posted..Legs… who needs those!?My Profile

  22. Congrats to your daughter and son, that is so sweet. When I was younger, my father was who motivated me to run my best, and heck, to just run in general. I love your little running family!
    Erin recently posted..8 Month CaboMy Profile

  23. I think you’re awesome! and you and your daughter look so cute in that photo :)I know I’d beat Colin b/c he’s not a runner :P lol
    Ali Mc recently posted..YAY!!!! WE WON!My Profile

  24. Congratulations to your daughter, she did great!! :)
    Jill recently posted..Anyone want a do-over?My Profile

  25. That’s so awesome that you kids like running, you must be so proud! I think we all care on some level….as much as we wish we didn’t :) I think the way it manifests itself changes and we may learn to accept it, even if we still care, but I don’t know that we ever completely outgrow it!
    Beth @ RUNNING around my kitchen recently posted..Giveaway!My Profile

  26. I love the picture! And I think a competitive spirit is grea.. but I would hope the brother could learn that laughing at someone else’s efforts is unsportsmanlike… am I way out of line here… sorry if you think so. But that was the first thing that jumped out at me.
    Elle recently posted..Spring Fever Virtual 5km Race – a PR for me!My Profile

  27. I definitely want my times to be impressive to at others. I understand where your daughter (and you) are coming from. That said, since my times are impressive only to those who have known me since I was a non-running bookish teenager, I’ve learned to be happy with competing just with myself!
    Terzah recently posted..How Not to Plan for and Execute A Long RunMy Profile

  28. Wow! Congrats to your daughter! That is awesome.

    My daughter is contemplating trying out crossfit with me. Right now she is taking her test in Tae Kwon Do. So we are working on performing push ups with proper form. Not easy for her, but she’ll do great.
    Christine @ Oatmeal Bowl recently posted..Red Chard Gruyère GratinMy Profile

  29. I don’t need to beat anybody I actually know (most of them faster anyway) but I do like passing….especially the 30-something guys 8)

    Picking off people that didn’t pace well in the last 6 miles of a marathon is great sport ;)
    Paul recently posted..Weekly recap: 8 weeks to EugeneMy Profile

  30. Congrats to both your kids for completing the race!

    I am very competitive with both myself and secretly with others. If I am out on a leisurely run and someone tries to pass me I run faster!
    Toni Church recently posted..I Have Exercise ADDMy Profile

  31. Why outgrow it? Embrace it and know that it is who you are.

    I am not afraid to let people know that I am competitive. People will say ultra-competitive but I just say competitive and it seems ultra to them because they are not.

    Be You!
    Jason @ Cook Train Eat Race recently posted..Ironman Texas Training – Week 11?My Profile

  32. Congratulations on a PR Mini Miss Zippy!
    Andrea recently posted..Advice from Overweight DoctorsMy Profile

  33. Aww, I love this post– I hope my daughter gets excited about running as she’s older! I hear you on the competitive thing, it’s great motivation to push yourself… and I don’t know if we ever outgrow caring what other people think. But I’m working on it. :)
    Laura recently posted..Vegan Muffin ExperimentingMy Profile

  34. One thing that motivates me is if I have put it out there in Blogland or told my friends. I was thinking the other day that if I hadn’t broadcast it all over the place I might not do a triathlon.

  35. I find my competitiveness motivating, but only when I’m able to keep it in perspective. Those little local races have a way of putting it aside for a while. It’s awesome you have a daughter to share your passion with!
    Adrienne recently posted..Epic Day for a Hometown Race: The Woodlands MarathonMy Profile

  36. We all care about what others might think…that’s for sure. I know I’m slow, but I still worry about showing improvement over time and not staying “as slow”.

    Congrats to your daughter! That’s awesome she not only beat her time, but remembered it. That’s pretty impressive.
    Michael recently posted..Little Rock Half Marathon Recap – A New PR!!!My Profile

  37. I have a friend whose 70-year-old dad can still run 6 min. miles because he hates for people to beat him at the track. The logic is simple. If someone’s running faster, just beat them. I definitely have that instinct, even with walkers on my gym track — how many times can I lap them? And I will try to push that number. For me, it comes with years of playing team sports, which are fun, but winning matters. Nothing to get crazy over if you lose, but the joy of the win is so fun to celebrate.
    Yo Momma Runs recently posted..Homemade sparkle headbandMy Profile

  38. That’s such a great story and thanks for sharing. Congrats to your daughter! That’s such a big accomplishment! I am looking forward to the day when my boys will run or play other sports with me. Competitiveness definitely runs deep in me, mostly with myself and trying to meet high expectations that I have set for myself and how others in turn perceive me. I’ve been getting better about it as I’ve grown older but I’m still working on it.
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..Scenes from My Weekend – Aerial ViewMy Profile

  39. A beautiful story, your daughter will become a good competitive runner. As you do I pay more attention to the clock than the persons I beat.
    Black Knight recently posted..FailureMy Profile

  40. You’re raising a tough cookie! i like her style. I think I’m with you–I never want to say someone is fast or slow and offend, but I too want myself to run my best and be respectable.

    I only learned the term “chicked” in the last year!
    Jess @ Blonde Ponytail recently posted..Running, Rowing, and RelaxingMy Profile

  41. What an adorable daughter! I think we’re all a little competitive like that, and I think that’s okay. Keeps us motivated when things get tough.
    Laura recently posted..People call her BoobieMy Profile

  42. So cute! I love her competitive spirit! can’t say I wasn’t the same way (well still am)!
    J recently posted..What happens when you’re sickMy Profile

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