On the days when running seems impossible, it always helps if you have someone to keep you accountable and motivated. This could be their team or their coaches. For some, they might not have a “team” in the traditional sense of the group taking their positions at the starting line with you. Their team might not ever cross the finish line, but there still is the team, the group of people who keep you going and help out any way they can.
My First Teammate: When I started running for fitness in college, I was never all that concerned with competition or running a race and trying to get a medal. It was all about my health and fitness. Being a PE teacher, I always think I would be a hypocrite if I was preaching to my students about needing to be up and active if I wasn’t doing it myself. I had hit a plateau in my running when I first talked to my best friend, Melissa, about my agitation. She was the one who suggested that we train for a 5k. Although we didn’t always train together on our runs, we Skyped weekly to give updates on our progress. She was the first person to ever hold me accountable and I consider her my first teammate and the first person to ever cross a finish line with me. She is the reason I got hooked on running.
My Coach: I still considered myself a novice runner when I met my “Coach”, Lori. A year older than me, at that time she had already completed four full marathons (currently she is now up to six). We talked often about running and I was constantly asking for help, tips, and advice. Running had become my new sport and I need someone like Lori to help me out, especially because she is what I would consider an expert. Even though she runs faster and longer than I do, because of her motivating me and encouraging me to try longer and harder races, I have exceeded all of my own expectations. While I thought I was content on being able to run 5k’s, I can now say I am a half marathon runner. I swear I will never beat her at any of the races we do together (which is a lot) but I wouldn’t mind coming in close behind her.
My Cheering Section: There has only been a handful of races in the past four years (which is how long I have been running competitively) where I have not had anyone there to cheer me on. I consider my cheering section to be an important part of my team.
- Mom: My mom, Gina, Often brings signs to my races saying, “Run Pretty”, or “Go, Bert!”. She is always ready to take pictures and drive me home after a long race and maybe even stop for breakfast with me.
- Dad: My dad, Craig, comes to as many races as possible and has gotten up early to drop me off at races so I can run home. After my first half marathon, he was the first person to come find me and give me a high five and a hug. I believe his words were, “Give me some of that!”
- Kait: Kait is my best friend and one of my biggest motivations. She has always told me that I can do any race at any length and has even volunteered me for races I didn’t know I wanted to do. Texts from her mid-race make me run a
little more at ease and she does her best to help me out when I’m done with the race. That’s love, right there.
- Nate: Lori’s husband who is always at the races with us and is kind enough to provide some comic relief in the stress before a race and also hold my keys and waterbottle when no one else in the cheering section comes to watch. He has even offered to come to races for me when Lori isn’t running.
- Chelle and Pam: The first race they came to see me in way my half marathon and they drove everyone around to see me and Lori during the race. They also make sure to make it to some of my other sporting events as well.
My running team is very important to me and I appreciate every single one of them and what they do for me. I’m a better and more confident runner all because of their support.
I can’t say that I think running is an individual sport, because it isn’t. Obviously there are running teams ranging from the middle school level to professional level but for those of us who are not or have never been on a traditional running team, you have to know that you still have that support system. There are people in your life that even though they won’t be next to you on the course, they are there when you finish, and that is just as important.