Competitive Edge?

I really don't think of myself as competitive. Just the opposite, in fact. When I

was a kid, I remember letting my older brother win at Monopoly because I just hated the way he acted when he lost. Years ago, I made the mistake of telling my new card-shark mother-in-law that the game we were all playing was only a game. I never lived that down. And, I'm still like that. I'd rather do everything in my power to help create calm instead of focusing on winning a game myself. The peacemaker.

On the other hand, I do have some competitive nature in me. I've recognized that it pops up when I'm exercising with people I don't even know, especially if they appear older than me. When I'm walking with a friend, I've never felt the urge to go faster. It's just that watching those fit, older strangers excel makes me want to kick it up a notch. What can I say? I just hate the idea of being a slower, weaker younger person.  

For most people, any sort of competitiveness serves as a great motivator to improve fitness. That is, unless it's not. Since chronic neck issues have come my way, I've had to temper that desire to push harder. And, it's not been easy. I've been trying not to notice how fast the person next to me is going or how long they've been on the cardio-machine next to me.  I've been doing much better. I'm to only focus on what I can do and celebrate slow improvement. 

Recently, however, I've noticed that competitiveness sneaking up again. In stretch class, no less, and one filled primarily with people in their 50's and up. I love how great my body feels afterward, even those arthritic joints. But, yesterday, I peeked. I did. I have more flexibility than most, except those 2 others who were there.  I fought down the urge to press my stretches further.

Today, I shared a lane at the pool with a really nice older gal who was doing slow laps even before I got in. After swimming my doctor commanded limit of 10 minutes, I had a pang to keep going. It's probably a little, "if a she can, I can," type of thing. I got out of the pool at 11 minutes.

Perhaps it's not competitiveness per se. Maybe what I'm feeling is motivation. Either way, if I ever hit a couch potato slump, all I need to do is hang out with an active older crowd. 

What about you and your competitive edge?