(*except with food, but that's a post for another day)
I realize that this is sort of my MO. I don't do anything 1/2 way anymore. I'm not sure I ever did anything 1/2 way to begin with. From my horse back riding days, when I came in last place at my first show, to one year later when I placed 1,1,2 in my 3 events, all the way to college when I was on deans list. One semester after I had established myself on the "list" I got a ~shudder~ B. I punished myself. How was I going to beat everyone else with B's?
Even my horseback endurance trail rides, which were supposed to be just for fun, became something more when I entered Ringo, a 6 year old "green" appaloosa, at 10 miles. Ringo and I planned to lose that race. I was offered a friend's sane and reasonable horse, but Ringo was mine, so he was my choice. He was sort of dangerous really, and looking back on it, I can NOT believe my mother let me take him on that ride. Cute as a button, he was a spooky horse who jumped out of his skin at the sight of really dangerous things like clouds, sunshine, shadows, imaginary goblins, cats, paper bags, bikes, motorcycles... I could go one here.... I ought to dig up a photo of us, I was never happier than when I was with him. We attacked that trail ride with purpose and planning. Slow and steady, follow every trail rule, safety first. And we placed 2nd. I happily swallowed 2nd because (and T will appreciate this) I beat all my friends by about 4 minutes.
When I rode BMX bikes I took a different tack to the same end. I was pressured by my mother to win win win. She ran a business & sponsored the team, and if I won it was good for the bike shop. So, with a roll of my tween eyes and an indignant shrug of the shoulders, I snapped my helmet over my face before each event. In a pre-race ritual of thinly veiled disgust toward my mother I sulked up to the starting gate and gave mom one last stare. Until she turned to head for the finish line. Then, behind my visor where no one could see me, I put on game face. I swallowed my fear, and trust me, I was afraid. Just thinking about it reminds me of the quake in my hands as they clutched the handlebars tighter and thighter. The sweat that no one saw under my gloves. Each time I stepped up to the gate and balanced my bike against it, I felt sick.
I resolved in that "balance" moment that I would win. I often did. Not for mom, but because I had to beat Candy. Candy was my chief competition and I loathed her. She irked my every last nerve on every acne riddled pre-teen level. From her boobs - believe it or not I was FLAT as a board- to her long blond hair & glowing complexion. Nothing was worse than being on a bike behind her streaming golden hair. Again, T, can probably appreciate that...
In all honesty, IF I'm going "all or nothing" with my running, then I'll have to run with the SS ladies, at least some of the time. At some point, in the far future, maybe my brain will learn to accept something other than straight A's, blissful horse perfection and a 3 foot trophy that says something stupid on it like, "Powder Puff 3rd Place ECBL". But right now, I'm going to have to learn to love running behind a blond pony tail.