Monday, January 4, 2010

You DO Walk (or rather run) Alone Some of the Time...

I heard this quote on something I was watching on television last night, and because of one of my most recent posts, and the fact that Pony (it immediately made me think of her) was inspired by it, I give you this today:

Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will. -- Mahatma Gandhi

Which brings me to the topic at hand today which more blabber about will and heart, etc. 

If you train in a group, whether it is small, medium or large.  Whether its one you pay for or just a group of pals that meet up at regularly scheduled days and times, I think ultimately, in most cases the outcome is usually the same.  I will use my recent marathon training season as the example.  Not all of these things pertain to this marathon training in my personal experience, but if you observe like I do, you see it amongst others.

First off in the beginning, everyone and I mean everyone is gung ho!  Yay!  Its marathon training time!  And we all first are excited for each day we have scheduled workouts and long runs.  And we more than likely have just about the same goal time in mind as well, and more likely than not, we all start with the same paces give or take.  You make plans to eat after, meet here on this day for this, that or the other...etc.

Then after a month or so, here in Texas, in August or September most will start grumbling about the heat.  And then someone will have some sort of injury.  Maybe a bad one, or maybe just a small one, but now you lose 1, 2 or more of the 'group'. 

In October-ish, some will start hitting their groove, finding their stride, and maybe even start playing around with running with the one up faster pace group...just to see, because you know, its obvious that there are varying levels of will, strength and determindation amongst everyone.  Some that are faster, and then yes...some that are slower...than everyone thought.

So now the 'crowd' is thinning.  Then you have some that just don't show up all the time, sometimes hardly ever.  Another 1, maybe 2 are injured, and the ones that were previously injured might be back, but they have to re-build their endurance or speed...

Still you see what is happening.

And the ones that might experience running with the faster group, do indeed stay there, but then there are those that go back and forth between the 2 so you just never know what group they might run with this week...

And see where this is going.

Eventually though it will all 'settle' usually about the time the really long runs start...there are now those that have either a) dropped to the shorter distance or b) have just dropped out completely.  And there are those that become divided due to other issues, varying from your basic personality differences to your approach to training and running...

But what is left standing are 'your peeps'.  You run about the same pace, have no injuries to speak of, have a lot to talk about, have the same overall time goals...

On training runs, when one of you has to pee or whatever, you all stop.  If someone needs to tie a shoe, you all stop.  If someone needs to walk a bit, you either walk with them, or you slow down till they feel better, and you let them catch up and resume.  If someone needs you to spur them on, you give them tough do what it takes to keep you all together.

There may be more than one of you, but you are a pack.  You feed off of each other.  You give someone one of your gloves because she took hers off  (hey one warm hand is better than none!) and left them at a water station and now her hands are cold.  You share gels, pain reliever and Endurolytes if they run out or forget...

You are a training group within a training group within a training group.

It is during training that you are never alone it would seem.

But then comes the time and you are in taper and you start talking about race day.  It is on race day where everyone (for a lot of the time) is on their own.  You know, as well as the others do, if you have the same mentality that is..that on race day, all bets are off.

You have to pee?  See ya if you catch up. 
You need to tie your shoe?  See ya if you catch up.
You need to slow down? Wow.  That sucks.  Maybe you can catch up later.
You need to walk?  Dude that REALLY sucks.
I'm not passing up this water station.  I don't need any water; I am going to keep going.

You see the trend right?  As with us, we talked about this very thing on Saturday.  We all know that if one of us has a wheel or two come off, the others are not to be like our military, and pledge to leave no man (or woman) left behind.  We aren't leaving you to die on the battlefield...its a marathon, on the streets of Houston...its going to be OK. 

And we know that each of us that might be left behind, will be thinking of 2 things:  a) man this sucks for me and b) damn I hope he/she makes her goal !!!! 

You also know that there will be no banter back and forth like on Saturday training runs.  There will be no male bashing, talking about Greys Anatomy or anything of the sort.  There will only be the murmur of 'slow down, we're way over pace, hey pick it up the next 2 miles or lets take these next 2 slower because we got Allen Parkway coming up'...

When you are together, and if you're lucky enough to make it to the last .2 miles together, you also know that that is where one of you is going to make your move.  Regardless of it all, there is still competitiveness in each of you and each one wants to beat the other.  Actually more like the last 1.2 miles is where I plan to make my move, but don't tell them...  :o)  JUST KIDDING GIRLS!!!  wink wink

There was never any pact or secret code about ooooooooooooh...lets all have the EXACT SAME TIMES!!!  We aren't girly like that...

In the end, on race day, regardless that you might be surrounded by thousands of others, and even in your remaining pack of training buds, you are alone.  Its you and the pavement, maybe your thoughts ... always your alter ego though, and quite possibly your God...

You will have nothing else to get you through this other than your sheer determination.  Even the best athletes out there may have a bad day, maybe even rougher than again, in the end its not always about the physical, but the mental.

I know, I've been there.

12 days and counting to race day.

And I got my 'peeps'....and I hope and pray every day that we will make it to .2 left to run part as we started... together...then I expect that I will have to smoke them both :o)


dixie :o) said...

great read junie b... sorry i wasn't in your pack this yr (probably won't ever be), but i'm finally ok with that :) I'm glad you have your love of running marathons, it is clearly good for you! When you publish your first running diary I will be the 1st to buy it ;) I'll be at the Starbucks on Memorial to see if you and your peeps are still together!!! :o)

Junie B said...

You will be, when it’s right for YOU and if you choose to.

It saddens me a bit to be honest with you (that post)…that ‘some’ of us have seemingly grown apart in certain respects…but like you, I am finally ok with that ;o)

I cant continue on with any sort of fa├žade that I am different than I am, and I guess its ok for some to not like me; I am done trying to be everything to everyone because of whatever you know? I have even gone so far as to outright ask “hey, have I done something to offend you, etc” to-wit they insist that it is not the case, but actions speak louder than words in my world.

I yam what I yam. :o)

I love you to the moon and back though :o)

TX Runner Mom said...

Great post! I was just discussing this with my running peeps who are doing the full for the 1st time this year. I totally agree, ideally we'd all love to finish with our peeps. But, we all have goals, we all have our good days, we all have our bad days and we train too hard to not run the best we can on race day no matter what. Run your race and then meet up with the peeps post race to share stories if ya have to!