Running and triathlon for the most part are not considered team sports with the occasional exception of relay teams. Over the years I have approached training as an individual activity, primarily because I was slower in running and swimming than most of my friends. This year my experience has been much different. Through my writings I would share my doubts in my abilities and the mantras I have come up with to overcome my doubts. Believe has been my most common and helpful mantra. As my confidence strengthened and my performance improved, I was willing to train with my friends. Over time, I have seen my performance continue to improve and I credit much of it to the influence of training with others. It is a big bonus that they are my friends and not just random people at the gym. The encouragement and camaraderie from others only strengthens my belief that I am able as well as the sense of joy I get from encouraging them.
This morning I woke to about two inches of fresh fallen snow. It wasn’t enough to keep me off the roads for my run. A friend of mine came out to join me. She is a much faster runner and I made sure she knew she could go faster if I was holding her back. She needed an easy run and I enjoyed the company. As a result, she helped push me to run a bit faster than I probably would have and I stayed in my zones two and three. While we ran she even asked why I felt I had to offer the choice to run faster if I was slowing her, she was enjoying the run and wanted to stay with me. I realized I still had a bit of doubt that I am a real runner. Once again, the power of the buddy system came through and brought me to a better place. In all I ran 8 miles and she doubled back to get twelve miles in.
As I chronicled my experiences in my writings, I have grown emotionally as well as strengthened physically. Giving up is much easier to do when no one is aware. As others have read my experiences and shared encouragement, I had a greater sense of responsibility to see it through in my endeavors. Yes, the responsibility was to myself, but I knew others were aware. Reading others’ blogs and the trials and joys they experienced also added to my drive to push. I truly credit this blog to setting the ground work for me to go on and be open to training with my friends. My love of the sport has increased even more as a result of the team work I have found. I had to believe in my ability first and take the leap of faith.