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Pedometer Pressure

June 23, 2011

I do not consider myself to be a competitive person. I attribute that to the fact that my brother and my dad are the two most competitive people ever, and they scarred me for life growing up. (I distinctly remember many games of H-O-R-S-E that ended in tears, and one game of Risk in particular that ended with my brother chucking dice across the room when I overtook his army out of sheer chance. Shit got intense in our house).

As logic would have it then, when it came to extra-curricular activities, Funk preferred competitive team sports (tennis, basketball, baseball), while I preferred taking tap, jazz, and ballet classes. The pressure of team on team competition freaked me out, it made me freeze up, and I hated the feeling of letting other people down if I didn’t perform up to par.

Even as I moved into adulthood, I never felt competitive. I don’t fully understand people who get all worked up over winning boardgames, and I hate it when my students compete over their grades.

Then I started running, and I realized that I was competitive…with myself.

While I have no desire to one-up other people, I thrive on the feeling of one-upping myself. If I push myself to just go a little bit faster, or run a little bit longer, that positive pressure makes the payoff that much more satisfying.

That being said, I have a new means of personal competition in my life:

the pedometer.

I’ve never used a pedometer before, and I never intended to until the county that I teach in decided to run a county-wide pedometer challenge; they would provide the pedometer and software, and we would upload our steps to the server to track our progress. My school took it a step further and put participants into teams in order to spur on some friendly competition.

What’s funny is that I’ve had my pedometer for less than a week and I’ve already started competing against myself. I barely even think of the people on other teams (or on my team, to be honest!); instead, I’ve been constantly aware of this little plastic gadget, which spurs me on to take just a few more steps every day. Forget tracking how many steps I get on an average 5k run; I tracked my steps in the GROCERY STORE today. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I’ve even started jogging in place (or doing jumping jacks, etc.) while watching TV to get my numbers up.

Honestly, I don’t know how long my fascination with the pedometer will last. First of all, Nick took one look at it last night and said, “Are you going to wear that on our date this weekend?” That got a good laugh out of me. Also, now that it’s summer, I see myself running into a few clothing issues: what about when I’m wearing a dress? Or a bathing suit for that matter? Come to think of it, I feel pretty ridiculous wearing it on a regular basis. I’m like those guys who wear their Blackberries on their belts (hi, Dad!).

I don’t expect this to make me any more active than I already am (most of the steps I’m racking up daily are a result of my workouts that I’d be doing regardless), but it’s still been interesting to see how much activity I’m getting in OUTSIDE of my workouts. I’ll keep you posted on my progress!

Are you competitive? Who are you more competitive with? Other people or yourself?

9 Comments leave one →
  1. June 23, 2011 8:07 pm

    Well sounds fun…

    Oh my goodness I am SUPER competitive!!!!!!!!!! I am competitive against myself, against my loved ones, against strangers, against athletes. I play kickball and our team is extremely competitive and we always want to win. I used to play my sister in board games and FlashMatch, a VCR video memory game, and I was so competitive I sometimes cheated (I later told her the truth and apologized for it). I am very, very competitive with myself- I do this tanita scale at work and am always trying to get my body fat percentage lower and lower and lower and lower. Someone at work said, Liz -how low do you think you can realistically go with this? I am always competing with myself and trying to get more and more in shape. What an interesting reflection. What does this mean?! What does this have to do with mindfulness, peace, and calm? How does this come into play with me being in balance and accepting the journey of my life? I feel that trying to compete may be a form of trying to control. I may have to let go of some of my competitive attachments. I will meditate on this concept. Thank you.

    • June 23, 2011 8:22 pm

      I think it’s just in a lot of people’s natures to be competitive—and I don’t have that nature!

  2. June 24, 2011 12:09 am

    I guess I’m a little of both. But I have to say that more than anything else, running nurtured the drive to be competitive with myself. It’s the best motivator always trying to beat my own time.

    Good luck with the pedometer challenge! 🙂

    • June 24, 2011 7:12 am

      Same here! It’s weird how I can be so competitive with myself, but not with other people. Or maybe I am, and I’m just unaware of it ; )

  3. Evan permalink
    June 24, 2011 6:29 pm

    Please make clear that the tears were Dad’s.

  4. June 25, 2011 7:43 am

    I am dying over the thought of you running in place! LOL

    I am competitive with myself b/c no one else matches up…OMG…can’t even keep a straight face through that one. I kid! I kid!


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