For Greater Enjoyment Of Races, Be A Completitor Instead Of A Competitor

FitOldDog's cat, Cat, in basket.

FitOldDog’s cat, Cat, has a winning attitude to life. His exercise tips include, “No need to compete or complete, just eat and sleep.” Photo by FitOldDog.

 Ruby Muir Tarawera Race Report

Ruby Muir, early on at Tarawera Ultra (which she won) next to Blue Lake. Remarkable athlete, singing on the trail. Click on image for her race report.

One of my favorite exercise tips is to finish races feeling good, not nauseous but hungry, and remember that winning is not everything. In fact, I think this approach is the way to really win.

When I undertake a race, short or long, I don’t seem to be focused on winning so much as finishing, feeling happy (and ravenous). I’m not much of a competitor, I’m really a completitor. I just learned this excellent term from an ultra-marathoner in New Zealand (Thanks, Shaun – words are important, they define our thoughts).

I think that Shaun has his heart in the right place, just look at his comment on a Ruby Muir Tarawera Race Report:

“I must admit that I was one of the stunned blokes, not because you are a chick, but because you were singing at the top of your voice and running effortlessly as you headed back whilst I was still grinding my way out. Quite simply, you rock. Happy trails!”

I love his attitude – yep, singing is great, winning or not, finishing or not. Some of my best races have, in fact, been DNFs (Did Not Finish), just take the Los Cabos Ironman, 2013, in Mexico for example – full story and whale movie at this link. It went like this:

Photo of FitOldDog's son, Nigel, after the Los Cabos Ironman

Here’s my son, Nigel, smiling after completing the Los Cabos Ironman, 2013. Photo by his dad, FitOldDog.

My son, Nigel, called me on the phone, a few months ahead of the race, to invite me to ‘complete’ in (which I didn’t – read on) the Los Cabos Ironman, 2013.

When I asked about the conditions, Nigel said, “It’s predicted to be 70 degrees, with rollers on the bike.

So I trained accordingly!

We arrived in Los Cabos, where my smattering of Spanish was actually useful, and went to the race hotel, which turned out to not be the race hotel. In fact, it was 5 miles from where everything race-wise was going on, and during the race the roads were essentially impassable. I was undertrained for the 95 degree weather that we actually had on race day, and I was in no shape for the 6,000 feet of climbing in the bike course, Nigel didn’t mention. So I was pulled off the bike at 105 miles, at 5:30 pm. I failed to make the bike cutoff.

So I didn’t finish (DNF), which turned out to be perfect, oddly enough.

My DNF, or premature exit from the course,  gave me time to find a taxi and pick up Nigel at the finish line at about 8:00 pm (rather than my running a marathon until midnight), and we were enjoying a wonderful Mexican meal together by 9:00 pm.

That DNF was a great success.

Kevin aka FitOldDog


  1. Kids!

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.