It took me a while to figure that one out, but it finally sunk in 4 years ago while running the Blue Ridge Relay. I honestly have never been big into team sports and when I discovered running, the individual nature of the sport was the biggest allure for me. I felt responsible for my success and failure, if I didn’t train, no one but me would be impacted. What I wasn’t factoring into that thought pattern was my family and friends that were cheering me on, holding me accountable, the people I had brought along with me on my journey. From day one I had been part of a team, and it took 4 years and being stuck in a smelly van for 24 hours with six other guys to figure it out… I could never have done all that I have done alone, some of the races I run and have come to love I discovered through my family and friends. If I fail they are there to pick me up and when I succeed they are there to celebrate with me. Running Blue Ridge this year just drove that message home, this was a true team effort, but our individual successes and failures made us collectively stronger. Whatever your journey, find your team, embrace that fact that they will be there with you every step of the way, encourage each other during the hard times and celebrate every victory, no matter how small it may seem.
Day off, something about a big race coming this weekend I’m supposed to taper down the running?!? Well I took the day off because that is what the plan called for and after a busy day driving and unpacking and doing laundry so I could turn around and pack again, well I didn’t feel like running anyway.
Come to find out I was supposed to run yesterday… oops I think my body was happy I didn’t though so I will just make some runs up today. I did some treadmill running for the first time in forever 4.95miles in 40:00. Having to work these in where I can this week since I’m only working two days. Run number two happened late 9:34pm I went for 4.15miles in 31:04 a little faster than planned but just trying to make up for the treadmill run.
Another busy day another visit to the hamster wheel… This time 3.83miles in 30:02 trying to keep it consistent on the treadmill is easy but I dislike it with a passion… I’d rather be outdoors any day. Luckily the day was not terribly busy and I still made it out in time to hit the trail on my way home. 8.20miles in 1:09:39 I’m feeling better about my runs, something about the weather not being 10000°F makes a big difference.
I wanted to run so bad today… but no can do, I owe it to my team to have fresh legs tomorrow. Travel and rest day today, beside the view is amazing. Sometimes you just have to take a step outside and enjoy the view…
Today is the day, up at 6:00am breakfast, team huddle, get the van loaded, clean up our mess and we are out the door at 7:30ish our start time is not until 9am but we have a few things still needed before the start. First runner out the gate and I’m running second seed… first pass at the baton and it felt great 7.48miles 55:38 now I wait… My next run comes early afternoon; everyone is killing it so the pressure is on 3.12miles in 23.59 not bad, I’m still ahead of my predicted pace but it’s just starting… It getting close to sunset and my next run is a doozey 6.11miles in 49:37 still on track… now it starts getting interesting we are into the night and fatigue is starting to set in. Everyone is still doing great and we are all hitting our times but it’s not getting any easier, mountain running is no joke… I get my next handoff at 10:35pm and I’m off for 3.79miles in 27:44, which actually felt really good.
Day two of BRR; my next run happens at 2:21am Saturday and this one hurt 4.42miles in 38:40, my legs are shot and what’s ahead is not going to make me feel any better… You would think that running downhill is the best thing that could happen but what you fail to consider is that fact that typically when you train for these types of races you are building up your up-hill runs… Last leg for me was great and terrible all at once 9.34miles of nothing but downhill gravel roads and a long flat highway in 1:14:48. I’m going to feel this one for the rest of the week. We killed it!!! 27:26:23 was the official time, 30th overall out of 200 teams and 5th in the “ultra” division.
I’m supposed to rest today, I mean I did run 34+ miles between Friday and Saturday, but this is a team sport and you have to support your team, providing encouragement and also limping through their long run. I ran 10.08miles in 2:13:01 because it is the least I could do for everything they do for me.
Looking back at this week I take away two things; one, sometimes you just have to take the playbook, throw it out the window and do what’s best for the team and two, we are all just one big team going through this journey called life. Be humble, embrace your team and collectively you will be stronger as a result. And for my guy friends out there if you every feel like you want to be part of something great look us up F3Nation I promise you will not regret it.