Wednesday, January 20, 2016


Recently there’s been some big news in the GRC world: we’ve started a partnership with Pacers and New Balance. It’s awesome for many reasons (some sweet new gear, more funds to support the team), but it got me thinking a lot about how special our team is. Not just because we’re fast enough for Pacers and New Balance to notice and want to support us, but for the many more general and more sappy reasons: that my teammates are some of my best friends and that we support each other on and off the track—whether or not free shoes are included.

An example of the off-the-track support: 
Turning 30 is more fun with good friends. 
Last Wednesday’s practice was a good example of the on track support.

The not such a wonderful thing about the marathon trials being in February is that January is a pretty weird time to be peaking. My teammates ran Clubs XC or CIM, took a nice December break, and are just now getting back into hard training. Wednesday was the first or second workout back for them. I, on the other hand, am shockingly close to race day. So our schedules are off a bit.

But Coach had a plan for everyone: I’d run 3 x 2 miles and the other girls would jump in and out. They’d run 1200 meters with me, then jog a recovery while I continued 800 meters more, then hop back in for the final 1200. We’d all jog a recovery together and repeat. The paces started easy but got fast by the third rep.

On each rep, Kerry took the lead on the first 1200 and Maura hopped in for the second. The rest of the pack followed on my heels, subliminally pushing me forward with their presence. Maura had the not easy task of jumping into the lead as I was still running, like hopping into a Double Dutch game.  She had to go fast enough to not trip me up, but not fast enough to drop me, and oh yea, she had to pace me at exactly the right pace. She nailed it. So did Kerry.

I’ll be honest: if I was in their flats, I don’t think I could have done it. I’m not sure I can ever run a 1200 at those paces right after a break, and they not only had to run them but to pace them. Plus it was dark and cold and very January-like. Ugh, not fun.

And certainly, in my own flats, I couldn’t have done my workout without them. Studies have shown what we know intuitively: working out with a group is easier than going it alone. With the long (for a track workout) reps, the main battle was mental. With the help, I was able to break it into segments; three laps behind Kerry, two by myself, and then—oh thank God—help again, with three more behind Maura. That made it less intimidating than thinking about all eight laps at once. (This strategy works for the marathon too, which I also mentally break into three segments—ten miles, ten miles, six miles—rather than thinking about all 26. Words of advice: DO NOT THINK ABOUT ALL 26.) 

And with their help, we crushed it. The last rep was a two-mile PR and the last mile was even faster than expected. That would not have been the case had I been alone.

Actually, I’m putting too much emphasis on this workout by devoting an entire post to it. It was a good workout for me, certainly, but really the setup was pretty typical. Teammates working together to help someone reach her goal next month and others to nab their goals later this spring. And tonight, we'll do it all again--in the cold dark of January.

See? I told you: these are some really amazing friends.

Dream big, 

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