Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Running as a Team Sport

One of the things that I have always loved about running is the fact that it is not a team sport. When you want to run, you can - anytime, anywhere. You don’t have to rely on someone other than yourself to get out and run. You just lace up your shoes and you are good to go.

This weekend, I learned that running can be a team sport when I ran a running relay race that covered 190 miles in North Georgia. There were twelve members of my team, and there were nearly 50 teams that were all a part of this “team” event. It was a new and very unique running experience.

When we started, we did not know quite what to expect. We planned for what we thought we needed for the two day race. Running in the dark, running as a team, and running over 190 miles in two days. Even with all the planning, there were things that we could not have planned for. There were hills that we had not anticipated, a few more miles than we had planned on and there were unexpected local animals that came out to see who on earth was running through their neighborhood.

In spite of the fact that our planning did not cover everything we encountered, what I learned that running as a team sport is where fellow teammates encouraged and supported each other to get you through all of the unexpected “surprises” on the course. We laughed, we complained, we whined a bit and some even threw up, but in the end, we all had such a great time. This encouragement showed me a different side of runners that were all bound together to conquer 190 miles in two days.

Support came not only from teammates, but other teams who shared the experience. Along the course, when someone got lost, there were runners who directed them back to the course. When someone was struggling up a hill, there were those who ran or walked along side rather than breeze by them to finish first. And, when someone needed water, gu, food, or even a laugh, the support teams were there – whether they were your support team or not. There were also volunteers stationed in the middle of nowhere that offered words of encouragement, candy, water and directions. I appreciated every one of them.

This weekend provided another new and different opportunity to share my love of running with over 500 fellow runners all running as a team.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

When I am Your Age

I know time is passing by much too quickly these days. I am reminded of this anytime I run into someone I have not seen in awhile and see the passing of years in the way they look. Whether it is someone that I knew when they were an infant that now towers over me, or someone that I went to college with that I barely recognize because time has not been kind to them, I see the effects of time all too well. I remember when time seemed to pass so slowly. It does not see that long ago, as a child waiting for the summer break from school or as a young manager waiting to have enough years of experience to get the job that I wanted, time used to crawl. Now looking back, the reality is that it has just flown by, and now I find myself in the “when I am your age” group.

I learned this for the first time as I was recently competing in a triathlon. The only thing I do not like about triathlons is that fact that your age is plastered on your leg for all to see. So, when you breeze by the “30 something” racer up a hill, you feel great, but likewise, when the “70 something” racer speeds by you out of transition, you begin to wonder where you went wrong.

In a race recently I had a younger triathlete pass me on the bike portion of the race who said “I hope when I get to be your age I am as strong as you” while pumping up a hill, she went on to say “I am just a beginner at triathlons…” Somehow I think there was a compliment somewhere in that comment, but I did not hear anything after “when I get to be your age”. As I glanced at the young biker’s age on her leg, she was 39. Ugh. I thought to myself, I was just 39, then looked down at my leg and was reminded that 39 for me was over 10 year ago. How does that happen?

In every race that I compete in, there are always – still – several people competing that are older than me. So, I too can say that I hope when I am their age…
But maybe not for long, as time continue to pass by, much too quickly. I am just glad that I am still out there, hopefully an example for some young beginner runner or triathlete as I get to be the ages of the competitors that I now look at and think “I hope I can look as good as they do when I get to be their age”. I remind myself that we will all get there someday…if we are lucky. And, I would much rather be in the race than not.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A New Year, More Points

The 21st year of the Run and See Georgia Grand Prix came to a close with the year end awards celebration on New Years Day at the ‘New Years at Noon’ race in Athens. The 2010 Grand Prix series was the biggest ever with just under 500 races and over 70,000 runners participating in races that represented all parts of our great state. The number of races was impressive, but even more than the number of races or number of participants, was the number of runners who ran hundreds of races in the race for points. The runner of the year was Linda Zieman who ran 198 races and earned 4755 points. The male runner of the year was Roger Keel, who ran 203 races, earned 4597 points and logged many more miles in his car. Amazing. But what is even more amazing is the range in ages for Grand Prix runners – from under 10 years old to 70 year olds who are still running a race or two every weekend – mostly looking for Grand Prix races where they can earn not only a trophy, but the ever coveted Grand Prix Points.

The Run and See Georgia Grand Prix will be bigger and better than ever this year and is sure to break 500 races. If you are looking for a new challenge with a great group of runners for 2011, look no further than the web site and e-magazine. The race calendar features the races that participate in the series and where you can earn points for being one of the top 20 runners in your age group. And this year you can track your points and plan your running to maximize your points with our new system on the web site.

A great kick off to your running for the year and motivation at the beginning of the year is always a good thing. But even better is a way to stay motivated beyond the first part of the year. The Run and See Georgia Grand Prix does just that. So check out the calendar for January and get started. Even though many got points for the race on New Years Day, there are plenty more coming up this weekend and ever weekend throughout the year.

Happy New Year and Happy Running!