Running is a solitary adventure but you do not have to do it alone. In fact you can accomplish great things when you do it with others.
I learned this lesson in a big way this weekend at my very first Fred's Team Training run. When I trained for the marathon in 2014 I did all of my running solo. I figured others were faster, stronger, and more experienced than I was. Plus I used the excuse that I enjoy solitude to keep my running between me and the road.
But one thing I know for certain is that in order for me to grow and expand I must step outside of my comfort zone and give new things a try.
So I took a leap and signed up for a training run with Fred's Team on Governors Island. I had no idea what to expect and did not know another person going but I knew I had to give this a try and trust that it would all work out.
The run was scheduled to be eleven miles. Prior to this run the most I have gone during this training is seven miles. Running eleven with strangers in a place I have never been to felt a bit terrifying. What if I wasn't able to make it eleven miles? What if I had one of those running days where my legs felt heavy and all my mind told me to do was stop? What if I miss the ferry? What if ... what if ... what if? I could have made up a million what if scenarios but I knew no matter what, even in the face of this what if fear that I was going to lace up my sneakers and go to this run.
Governors Island is two miles around and provides spectacular views of the statue of liberty and NYC. The plan was to run five laps and a little bit more to reach eleven miles. There was no pressure to run fast only an incredible amount of encouragement to keep on going.
Runners cheered for one another as they passed. The water stop provided not only a place to re hydrate your body but a chance to fuel your mind with motivation. High fives were given as game plans for the next lap were discussed and there was never any judgment about what pace you were running. You were encouraged to listen to your body.
Some individuals ran together and others on their own. I ran on my own and still felt deeply connected to the group. Prior to starting running eleven miles felt like it was going to be insurmountable but being with others who were also stepping up to the challenge and cheering each other on kept me going. I ended up crushing eleven miles and running a little over twelve.
Had I attempted this run on my own it would have been a completely different experience. My mind would have jumped in screaming at me to stop. I would have counted down each lap with complete dread. I wouldn't have been on Govern's Island. I wouldn't have seen amazing new sites and had the chance to explore all new ground. It would have felt monotonous and may have even been a struggle.
I am grateful for the opportunity to run with Fred's Team. It provides me with the not only the opportunity to raise money for cancer research at Sloan Memorial Hospital but also the opportunity to push myself further than I ever thought I could go. I am so glad I took the leap and went on this training run. It has taught me to keep stepping outside of my comfort zone, to try new things, and to allow myself to be seen by strangers.
Together we accomplish so much more!
I invite you to join me in the fight against cancer and help me reach my fundraising goal as i run in memory of my mom at this years NYC Marathon on Fred's Team. Donate today and learn more about my story here.