The guys I met were from a local tri team. After checking out their website I found an excellent commentary to a question I know a lot of us struggle with.
The competition, the clock, or one's self?
Do we push ourselves as athletes to beat the clock or the competition? Or is it a combination of both? On the other hand, could it be that we just want the best from ourselves? As athletes we talk about our finish and may refer to who was in front or behind us in the race. We may also say, "I wish I would have pushed a little harder on a particular section of the race." So are we competing to beat the competition, the clock, or ourselves.
Or is it possible that the race is just within one's self? The competition and clock may come into play just because we ned a way to mark or justify our intensity to our given activity. During the race we may say, "I am not going to worry about my finish time as long as I finish." Then, the next morning regret that a fellow competitor beat us by just a few seconds. An old saying states, "Fatigue makes cowards of us all." So, if the saying is true we are just competing against ourselves. But, if we are concerned with who finished in front of us, then we are racing the competition or the clock.
So, as athletes, can we agree that competition is at its finest when the competition and the clock produce the best in one's self?