By now, you’ve probably heard about the study that showed that people prefer to make less money, as long as it’s more than others. They’d rather be poorer, as long as they’re relatively richer.

I think that’s how I am as a competitor. As much as I would like to think that I’m only competing with myself, I know that my happiness seems to depend on outdoing others. Recent cases in point: In the last two Bike to the Beach rides, I rode a faster century in DC, but rode faster than all the other women in New England, and was happier about the latter.

Today, I had my best ride ever at Flywheel. Really, here’s the screen shot:

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290! I almost made the 300 club. But when the Torqboard (where you see how you performed relative to everyone else) came up at the end of class, I was only at 289. And there was one woman in class who rode 290. For my first time ever, I was the 2nd place woman. Good morning, tailspin.

So, this was how my inner monologue sounded during my yoga class:

You suck. You didn’t try hard enough. No one likes you, that’s why no one is contributing to your causes. You suck as a fundraiser. Everyone that’s your “friend” on Facebook has turned off your feed. Oh, and you suck at yoga, too. Your back hurts, doesn’t it? Wow, did you just see yourself in the mirror? Keep telling yourself that you just look tired. Rationalize that it’s all the sodium from that IKEA double binge yesterday. Truth is, you’re old, but it’s not as if you were ever pretty. You’re certainly not as good at yoga as anyone else here. Oh, and you’re not supposed to be comparing yourself to others, either. Even though your outfit is much worse. Would it really kill you to stop wearing your technical t-shirts that fall in your face and just buy some lululemon so you look like everyone else? And your hair. You need a trim. But it should be longer. Remember how you embarrassed your mom at ballet class when you were in 8th grade? The other moms talked about how you were too old to be in the class, not good, and your hair was always messy. It doesn’t change does it? You’re too old, you suck, and your hair is a disaster. Cheating out of the chaturanga, are we? No wonder you never get better. Oh yay, warrior 2. Half-moon pose, finally some things that make my body feel good. Never mind, standing splits. I’ll never have that flexibility it took five years of ballet to get to again, will I? Head stands, phew, something I can do. Usually. I can get all the way up… For one second… Shit. I really suck today. Hello, child’s pose. Hello, corpse pose. Why can’t I shut up my brain?

I know that I learn more from failure than from success. I understand that it’s better to want to be better than to be smug in my relative success. Second place still sucks.

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