Anything in life worth doing, I think, is much easier—and better—when you have people around you.
Helping you through, encouraging you.
All the rah-rah-rah, you can do it stuff.
They let you know you’re not alone.
That you can get through it.
That they’ll come alongside you. And help you rally.
Raising a child? Takes a village.
Getting Emily to class? Takes a village.
Don’t mind the language….
Together we are stronger…even with texts.
You need one another…especially when those voices inside you want to say, “you’re not a morning person”, “you’re not good enough”, “you’ll never get there”, “what is the dang point.”
And that’s when your best friend tells you to go to bed earlier and to get your ass out of bed.
And she keeps telling you that.
And texting you. Blowing up your phone. To make sure you did, in fact, get out of bed. Teeth brushed. High and tight ready.
Until you fear…less.
Until you believe it you can actually do it yourself.
But the text is just the beginning. That helps you get through the door.
But there’s a lot more to it.
You can’t really understand the mantra, ‘together we are stronger’, until you show up again and again and again.
And commit to the system.
A time, a class, an instructor, that same group of people who decide to sweat together each week.
Showing up, vulnerable.
Anticipating (& dreading?) the workout.
And you come to expect to see those same people, the fellow attendees.
And you enjoy the rhythm.
There is something about knowing who you’re going to see in that 4:30 Course class, the Saturday morning Ebb & Flo, the late-night Control that makes it easier to get your tail there.
Two weeks ago, I went to Tread. Wednesday night. Jenny led the group in the workout.
And Jenny is just great. Reassuring. Steady. Super calm. Calm before the storm.
I was late. (Not surprising).
BECAUSE, it takes extra time to rationalize why you can’t go, then to explain to yourself why you need to go…then think about it for a while, decide you will go, pat yourself on the back, smile at your decision, look at the clock, “OH SH*T! I’m late!”
It takes a village.
I run around the house, look for a clean sports bra, throw my clothes on…shoes, shoes, shoes. Where are my shoes?!
(My dog has this habit of bringing me a shoe when I get home. He gets really excited. And brings this rubber-soled sacrifice to his master. But he never brings the pair…and he never takes the shoe back. Thus, I’m endlessly searching for shoes.)
“Well why don’t you yell at him?!”
BECAUSE IT’S ADORABLE. THAT’S WHY. AND HE’S PERFECT.
[And, then I might be on time…and that is a terrifying thought. I would have some sort of an existential crisis.]
Find shoes. Grab the water bottle and head to Jones Middle School.
It was a ladder workout.
Now, typically, me running in circles ranks at a 1.5 on the fun scale for me.
[A “10” being a 4-hour massage, followed by a glass (or twothree) of wine and a screening of When Harry Met Sally. Oh, and an hour in, maybe some Jeni’s. [She’s a dairy magician, I tell you.]
[A “1”? Calculus.]
And then you have to run fastin a circle? We start going in the red.
But, I was there.
So, I figured I couldn’t leave. That would be awkward.
I joined the group in the last two laps of the warmup.
We chatted. I dreaded what was next.
So much of speed work (for me) is mental. So, so, so much.
Some people struggle with long runs, tempo runs…but my problem are those dang intervals.
And I hype them up, get stressed, and worry.
But once I join the group—in the warmup, the laps, a 200, a 400, an 800, and so on, and so on—those powerful and paralyzing thoughts leave me.
There’s some joy in being together. Braving the cold…or the rain…or the snow, together.
Working towards a common goal.
Knowing it will be hard but it will also be worth it. And we will leave in an hour, proud, sweaty, satisfied.
Of course, in the first lap around, steadying my pace at a comfortable discomfort, I think to myself “I’m never going to be able to do this workout. I’m never going to be able to do this effing workout”.
But, I try and focus on who is beside me, our breathe and turnover in sync.
“If I can just hang with her."
“I don’t need to go any faster. Just stick with her.”
“Steady your breath, lower your shoulders.”
“You’re pushing her too………maybe.”
And, once we met Jenny at the line, with each recovery, that feeling of ‘not being able to’ lessened.
Thank golly miss Molly for this chick.
But my running partner too.
Those in front of me, behind me.
Just doing this together.
And, to the little guy who couldn’t have been more than 9 years old. He showed up with his Dad to run laps towards the end of our workout.
He likely wasn’t training for Cap City. He was just running. Happy Forrest Gump style. Because he could.
And I really appreciated that reminder.
My thoughts shifted.
“We’ve only got 3…2…1…left”.
“I’m so glad I’m out here.”
Before I knew it, we finished the ladder workout.
And it felt like I had blacked out for an hour.
“It’s over?! We…did it? I maintained that pace? HOW IN THE WORLD DID I DO THAT?”
Quick answer: I didn’t. We did.
Sometimes, you just can’t hype yourself up to do those things on your own.
And that’s why together we are stronger—whether it is your BFF pumping you up for a 5:30 high and tight or a handful of runners circling a track in the cold.
We run stronger together.
See you soon, Cap City.