I was reading Running Rabbit's blog and something she said about the Flying Pig really struck a cord with me.
To sum it up, she feels that she really needs someone to run the race with her. She has a support team at the finish, but she needs someone along the course running by her side. She feels that she is running the race for someone else, not herself, so she is potentially dropping out of the marathon.
Well, I am certainly running the race for myself, so that is not really an issue for me. And I have never had someone run a race of that distance with me per say (they are on the course somewhere ahead of me, but never by my side for more than the first few miles due to pace differences.), however what struck a cord with me, is that my last two races I did alone. I mean ALONE.
I guess I just never let myself reflect long enough on that to really grasp how it effects me. The Freep I had someone on the course with me, but PF Chang's AZ half I was travelling solo, running solo, and to top it off... I finished alone. Now that was a first. And I could see the need for having someone there for upport along the course. RR hit it suare on the head. Sometimes we have to perform a reality check and ask - who am I running for?
There was no one waiting there to hug me, and that is all that I really needed. (I know I know.) Someone I knew was on the course somewhere (and had finished a good deal ahead of me actually - good job!), but since we have split ways in a very not-friendly manner I could not turn to him for support or comraderie, and that really is a shame. I think it was here that I realized that I really did loose a friend.
I knew a few people who were running the race as well - Denise and Pat. It makes the meeting of friends such a wonderful experience, and I really could not have imagined not being alone out there. I got to see some wonderful sights that, yes I wish I could have experienced with people, but at the end of the day... this is still my journey.
And at times you need to walk alone.
Of course I kept on going past mile 8 when I wanted to consider dropping out, strictly because I found strength in myself. I mean, come on Jenn! I trained solo (although not for this particular race!), so I expected to run solo...
You could just give up if you really wanted to, but that would be running away (or walking away I should say) from your accountability in the matter. I know what I am and what I am not capable of. When I do train, I train smart. I have had to devise tricks to get through runs, but after I started throwing the numbers out, I found the runs to so much more enjoyable!
You HAVE to run the race for yourself, otherwise you are being ran. Drive or be driven I say. I have been there done that, and spent equal time behind the wheel and in the passanger seat!
I finished the RNR AZ just in time to catch the shuttle back to my hotel, to change out of my clothes and settle in alone waiting for the morning to come when I would be flying back home to see friends. I didn't even get my picture taken at the finish. I just stopped running, then walked straight onto the bus, stopping only for the sandals and a drink of water. "Time to go home." That is all I said. I called Mike, hopped on the bus, settled in for the night preparing for my flight home. Superhero in need of a sanctuary.
I run for me. I train for me. (oh, we established this already? Sorry for the redundancy!) I am accountable for my results and my feelings. That is true. But sometimes even Wonder Woman needs a little support, right? I mean she cannot save the world alone. That is why there is the JLA - Justice League of America. That is where all the *cool* superheroes belong. (nerd alert! Hey lay off! I grew up in a comic store!)
I see my schedule for this year, and with it comes a lot of travel... a lot of SOLO travel. I have three trips to Chicago planned, two for races, one for the wedding of the century. I have a trip to Boston planned.
The great thing is that I have friends in all of these cities - Jenn from High School now lives in Cinncinatti, so I plan on seeing her for dinner one of the nights I am there (sky line chili anyone????) EJ from high school lives in the Boston area, so I will be able to see her while I am there. My friends Matt and Shar live in Chicago, so I will be seeing them on all Chi-town trips, especially since one of them is for their wedding! So even thoguh I will be alone, I will have someone in each city cheering me on in one form or another. And this is not even mentioning the RBFers in teh areas! Hello meet ups!!!!!
I love what I do, and it is a lone sport... I know this. I still have never had a race where someone came to watch me run. I have a feeling that 2007 will be no different. But you know what? I am OK with this. Again - MY journey! Spectators are welcome though!
I guess to sum it up - this is where finding a group to run with is so important to people. We form both actual and virtual running groups (DRS, NRR, RBF... JLA) because comradarie is just as important as personal gain. It goes back to that "Running is 25% mental" aspect.
I think that running with the NRR is going to be a big help this year. I know already that my involvemnt with the RBF has made a marked difference in my running attitude, so running with a group of runners locally will only be better!
Side Note: Speaking of the NRR - Northville Road Runners - we went to Northville last night for dinner to celebrate Par's new job (way to go girl!) and we passed the runners. All I could think was - man - I cannot wait to be out there with them!
I am just me. The runner girl. The journey. Yeah that is me, I am that girl. I do get lots of support in general (especially from my friends and fam), I just need to find a way to bottle that all up and take it with me on the run. Sort of an "on call" support team. My portable JLA, if you will.
Superheroes wanted. Please inquire within.