I did a 5k over the weekend. It was a very tiny one. I told people my intention was to walk it. I found another participant, who said, yeah, I'm just walking too, I'll stick with you.
And then the race began, and she turned to me, and said, I'll think I'll go fast for a bit. And she - still just walking - was ahead of me in no time.
I could have sped up to catch up with her, but I also knew the pace I was at was sustainable for me for the whole thing. So, I kept going at my pace. I was technically not the last to finish. But the group that came in behind me took a detour, to look at something else.
But in the end, we all finished. Some people ran, some people walked, many did both.
And whether it's NaNo or a knit-a-long, or group exercise, often you do it with others for the camaraderie. Only one person can finish first. But if you finish, you still finished. And if that was your goal, then it's all good.
You can try moving at other people's pace. Sometimes you will discover you can go faster than you thought. Or that slower actually gives you time to look at the trees, to smell the smells. Finding your pace, knowing what it feels like when you are pushing too hard or just enough, these are all great things to know.
The camaraderie comes from the shared experience not from finishing first. Finishing first, or in the too ten, or whatever is super cool. I'm not saying that can't be your goal. But if your goal was to get to the end, then the pace may not need to be the fastest, it just has to get you to the end.