Anxiety in competition (Guest post)

I competed in a Women’s Masters Competition, the Victoria Highland Games, in beautiful Victoria, BC a few weeks ago. (See here for local coverage.) My husband was there for the Canadian Championships, and since I was flying out with him, I decided to get a look at the schedule to see if it made sense for me to compete as well. They had three women’s competitions going, so I signed up for one. Most of my competitions have been local and the group of women I normally compete against are friends. When I went to Key West early in the year, I travelled with one of my practice buddies, so knew at least one person on the field.

Coming into Victoria, I knew no one I would be competing against. I was competing early in the morning and my husband would be starting at 1:00, so it didn’t make sense for him to come to the field early and wait around for several hours. I had friends coming to the field to cheer me on, but not until part way through the competition.

My usual routine before competition where I could drive someplace for a good breakfast to fuel my day, hit the field at my own pace and know everyone on the field was just not possible. The evening before, I didn’t know where I’d eat, how I’d get to the field (taxis were always an option) and what kind of competition I had on the field. I always have a good time on the field, but occasionally run into imposter syndrome, possibly because of having started my athletic career at 45. I got all weirded out and nervous and all my social anxieties that I normally keep at bay came to the surface. I briefly thought about backing out.

Before going to bed the night before, I googled restaurants and found one in walking distance to the hotel that was open at 6:00am. I was informed that a ride was arranged for the next morning and I admitted to my husband that I was freaking out. He joined me at breakfast the next morning, gave me a big hug and told me he’d meet me on the field before I was done. I went to the field, put on my big girl kilt, introduced myself to strangers and started warming up.

The day was awesome. The women I competed against were all friendly and an absolute blast to spend time with. While I didn’t get much practice before the games, what I did do included some really great coaching. My throws were all great and I ended up coming in second. I was thrilled…and like usual, I made a new set of really great friends. I don’t know what I was worried about.


Sandi is a feminist in the throes of what some would call her mid-life crisis, having gone from exercising only her mind to lifting weights and throwing heavy objects.  Her natural curiosity and need to know everything serves her well in a career in research as well as all things health, science and well…life really.

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