Mary's Going with Guts!

Track my progress as I train for my next Team Challenge half marathon for the CCFA

Teamwork and Motivation

Posted by msdon9 on May 23, 2010

I usually like to run alone during my long run. Sometimes I’ll start off side-by-side with a teammate, but later on I’ll either try to push ahead or drop back a little so I’m by myself. I do so for two reasons. Primarily, I find that listening to somewhat-loud music in my earphones and letting my mind wander helps make the workout a bit of a spiritual experience as well as an athletic one. Secondly I find it awkward to try to have a conversation with the person next to me when I’m winded, struggling to keep up, and about ready to pop a lung.

Before we began our weekly workout, our mentors had us do one of those classic team-bonding activities that I often do with my cheerleading camps. It’s called “the human knot,” and it involves a bunch of people getting themselves into and out of a pretty complicated tangle just for the sake of speaking to each other and finding solutions to solve problems.

In the past few weeks, I’ve been getting my stomach into some of its own knots. It is my understanding that most endurance runners typically have to adjust their diets pre-working and even during workout in order to be successful. While I was able to power down an Egg McMuffin before a training run when we weren’t really going that far, it’s not something I can do now. In fact, I think I finally settled on what I can and can’t eat on the morning of a long run: a very small amount of carbohydrates works for me… such as a handful of dry multi-grain cheerios or half of a packet of instant oatmeal. Some runners like to take gels or energy chews before beginning a long run, but I don’t think I can do that. Taking a gel like a Gu gel during the workout is OK, but so far my experiments with taking any gels before we begin (especially the PowerBar gels) is NOT a good idea for me.

So after a few weeks of rough and tumble long runs because of some stomach issues, I FINALLY had a good week. Partly due to my eating adjustment, and partly because the group of women that I was running with. Yep… the girl who usually runs alone ran with a pack this weekend, and I’m really glad that I did. I found that having a buddy next to me was very motivating, as if I was by myself I’d be more inclined to take more frequent walk breaks than I needed to. With someone next to me, we kept each other challenged, and with an additional one, two, or three people either closely ahead or not-to-far behind, we kept ourselves on track.

So 10 miles down… and I was able to get through it mostly running. I’m excited!!! As the mileage increases, the idea of running 13.1 becomes less and less intimidating.

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