Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Is it really "Healthy Competition"?

I am a very competitive person. Very Competitive.

I used to mountain bike (before I was married, had children and thought I was indestructible). I have only been mountain biking with my husband a handful of times since having children. One of the last times I went was in the Spring of 2004. I was with my husband and a large group of friends. We were high up, surrounded by aspen and pine. It was gorgeous. We were following a narrow trail, thickly covered with new spring growth following a long winter. I was in the lead. I was feeling tough. A hidden tree stump suddenly sprang out of nowhere, and I crashed. hard.

I was humbled. I never thought I would go again.

The next (and last) time I went was in Moab in the Summer of 2008. We were on the practice loop of the Slick Rock Trail, just my husband and me. The entire time, I berated myself for having not written a will and wondered continually how my children would fare without me. I told my husband during the ride that he must re-marry quickly - someone super sweet - to love and care for the kids.

I didn't die - but I haven't been mountain biking since.

The fear of bodily harm is one thing, but I also couldn't stand to think of how much better my husband is than I am - this is so immature - at mountain biking. I got him involved in the sport and he took off running with it. Not only is he stronger, better, and has more time to go, but he likes to crash - if he doesn't have at least one good fall during a ride, he says that he "is not riding hard enough, which means [he] is not getting any better at it." I know I'll never touch that. Eventually mountain biking became a way for he and his buddies to bond, (see picture - the most recent all-guys bike trip to Moab).

I love these pictures of their trip - it was freezing, they rode 100 miles off-road together in three days, and they look so happy together. I picked up my husband's latest monthly issue of Mountain Biking in the mailbox the other day. I read through some articles and was surprised that the thought of going again actually excited me. Then, I noticed The Ad; it read: "It's you vs. you." I love that. I decided that I need to just let it go, (the pride, the competition), and just go and enjoy mountain biking with my husband. And, I also need to let go of all of the other little imaginery, and sometimes subconsious, competitions that I create between me and my husband. Sometimes, I know, competition can be healthy for a relationship, but more often, I think, it can be destructive (especially when pride is involved - which is usually my case).

During the week, I have thought about this ad again and again. As women, we are naturally competitive. We compare ourselves constantly to others, and we are quite hard on ourselves. We try to be perfect - all the time. But if we could just remember, at least some of the time, that it is "me vs. me", and that we are in this together, I think we could be a lot happier, with ourselves and with our husbands.

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