Can running be a team effort?
Last week on our long run it was just H and I for 17 miles and she popped the question, no not that question! She asked how I felt about working together during our upcoming half marathon. My initial reaction was 'yeh, sure', you can pretty much ask me anything and that will be my response. She reassured me she knew races are everyman for themselves but maybe we could have a plan for the 1st few miles.
I went home and as is always the way I fully digested what I had just agreed to. I have never run a race before as a team. I mean I've run countless relays but that's different. The whole concept of entering a race with a plan that involves working with someone else is so alien to me. I would have never thought of doing it myself. I worried that in agreeing I was somehow losing my competitive edge, not treating the race with my usual 100% do or die attitude?
I decided that I would talk to H and tell her I didn't want to but then as the day wore on I really started to think about how this partnership could benefit me, both of us. I think it's so important to be conservative in the 1st few miles and I struggle to contain myself, if I was accountable to someone else pace wise then maybe that would be more likely to happen. Yes, maybe for the 1st 5 miles we could keep each other in check. Then I started to think about it some more.
We work together a lot, we make a good team on the track and long runs week in week out, maybe it could work in a race? It's much harder to be upfront and setting a pace, imagine if we could take turns, mile about during the guts of the half, say miles 6-11....think of it as 3x 1 mile reps each, thus sharing the work load and the pressure of pace making...that's sounds kind of awesome.
I think it might help psychologically too, breaking the race up that way into real separate chunks.
I haven't talked to H anymore about it since she popped the question so these are merely my thoughts. I did check with Doug what he thought about us working together and he said he thought it was a great idea so we have coach clearance. Between the 3 of us I'm sure we'll come up with a good plan.
It even got me thinking about the marathon in January. H and I share the same coach and are working towards the same goal, sub 3 in Houston. What if we could work together in that race too?! How incredible would it be to go up against 26.2 as a team, maybe the half will act as a good trial run to see how we both feel about it.
It's funny how full circle I've come on this. It's not EVER something I would have thought up by myself and my initial reaction (after agreeing ;D) was 'wow, wait a minute, I really want to kick everyone's ass in every race I enter including you H!' but I think this might be the smart thing to do to get the fastest possible time I can. I am excited to talk to H and see what her thoughts are. I do think the plan should only extend to the first 11 miles, then it's just a case of give it what you've got for the last 2. Also, if she's feeling great and doesn't want to stick to the plan she can take off at any time she likes and ditto for me (but I don't see that being an issue for me).
I said I want to 'kick everyone's butt' but thats not really true, I don't think about placing or other runners when I race I am just trying to better myself (except for in the race when I try to pick off runners or beat them towards the finish of course!). I'm all about PR's at this stage. So if H and N (she's running the half too) were to go out and beat me, that's a ok, I'm interested in how I run and my time and I always want to see them do their best and have a great run. Oh, I don't think N is interested in teaming up, she announced on Sundays recovery run 'I don't even want to see your faces before the race'. :D She cracks me up and she meant it! I guess car pooling's out of the question then :D
I've really surprised myself on this as I am a VERY independent person. I don't do anything really with help from others, I am loath to ask for help I just like to get the job done solo, it always seems so much easier that way.
Have you ever teamed up during a race, is that what it feels like when you run with pacers? I've never run with a pace group before and was nervous about losing my competitive edge come Houston if I chose to then - does that sound nuts?!