Over the last couple of weeks I've been reflecting a lot on how winning is defined. In the sport of physique competitions, "winning" is subjective. You've got a panel of judges that look at a lineup of girls (referring to Figure for the purposes of this post) and rank them based on their own opinions of symmetry, muscularity, conditioning, etc. To some, the hair and make up matter and to others, not so much. Do little things make a difference? Bling on the shoes, earrings, boobs, posing? Hard to say...maybe to some judges these things matter and to others they don't. I had one judge tell me that he just looks at every competitor from the neck down...great, glad I bothered to wash my hair and put on makeup!
On the other hand, if you're running a half marathon, like my gal pal, Shaney did this morning, you know if you're the winner. No question, no doubt. You either crossed the finish line first or you didn't. No one needs to weigh in on the matter. And they give you these cool chips that track your time. So you can set a goal for yourself and the time you want to make and when you cross the finish line you have a definitive answer: you either met your goal or you didn't.
With figure it's not nearly as clear and defined and that is the one thing that frustrates me. I can go in the gym and set a goal...10 unassisted pull ups. I can train for it, eat for it and achieve it. I can measure it and I like that. I like those S.M.A.R.T. goals, call me crazy!
I've decided that when I'm ready to train for competition again that I'll do it with no expectation of placing in a certain ranking, but that I'll do it to beat my personal best. So far, my best stage appearance was at the Northwest Championships last November, so that's the "best" I would want to beat. If I don't change my view of winning when it comes to figure, it's too frustrating for me because it's completely out of my control because of the subjectivity of the sport. I've learned that it's necessary for me to have measurable goals, otherwise I just get frustrated with the process and with myself.
I also learned this spring that if my heart isn't in it enough to set that measurable goal and follow through with it 100%, I need to be honest enough with myself to back out. I went through the motions this time because I felt like I needed to do it for someone else and in the process, I cheated myself. But I stand by what I've said all along...I did this for a reason and the growth that occurred for me, personally, was so worth it and I don't have any regrets.