Hi everyone! So most of you know that I love running and am currently in training for the Chicago Marathon in October. However, I have only been running just over a year and only ever run by myself. I thought it would be fun for you all to get a different perspective on running in relation to other sports and with other people.
I asked my friend Kate to share her experiences with you, she is the sweetest girl you will ever meet and sent me this post in no time flat. So without further ado, say hey to Kate!
I’ll be back this evening, see you then!
Hey! Caitlin asked me to guest-post, so here I am. My name is Kate, and I go to school with the lovely Caitlin (we lived on the same floor freshman year!). I was a relatively serious gymnast from ages 4-17, had a stint with cheerleading, and started pole vaulting at age 15 and continue today. I am proud to say that I celebrated my two-year anniversary with distance running just this week.
It all started half way through my last season as a gymnast. I abruptly decided to quit for personal reasons unrelated to the sport, my team, or coaches, and shocked everyone, including myself. When a Beloit-bound friend from high school made the choice to run cross-country, things got interesting. I was very skeptical of distance running. But he really wanted a running buddy, so I caved and said I’d try it. Track wasn’t til spring and what else was I going to do my first year? I found running to be very relaxing. When he and I ran together, it was a great way to unwind and share stories about our days, and when I was alone, it gave me some time to think. Oh, it was difficult, but I liked that challenge. Since I’d quit gymnastics, I’d really missed that every day, give it all you’ve got, no off-season kind of mentality.
The team. You never have to stop being part of the team, ever. There’s an alumni race every year and people come back decades after they graduate. It’s an awesome way to stay connected, and to meet the newcomers. This was taken just this past season.
So, there I was, a novice runner on a collegiate team. I was very intimidated, but the team was incredibly supportive and a complete blast. I got lost on the third day of practice, and the captains came and found me at my dorm to make sure I was ok, and my coach called me because he didn’t want me to quit. I wasn’t (and still am not) very good, but I do believe that running has been on of the best things that could have happened to me. I love racing, being at the starting line with your team that’s really more like family, when you hear your running brothers cheering from the sidelines, making up goofy things to do, that great race, your coach going nuts about your new pr, those moments after chatting about goals and new strategies. I love that feeling after a hard workout when you know you’ve just done something awesome. I love annoying the crap out of our coach with top 40 pop music that he hates (as our revenge for 6:30am Monday practices). I love knowing your team is always going to be there when you want to stop trying. I love eating together, hanging out together, getting into mischief together. And I love summer and break running, knowing that what I do isn’t just for me, it’s also for the team.
Prime shenanigans example, there’s an annual camping trip at the beginning of the season that involves running, bonding, donut burgers, and a little mischief when the coach goes away…
I know many runners never get to experience being on a competitive team, and I’m sure it’s not for everyone. But I truly love knowing that someone else is benefiting from me competing at my best, and that they’ll still be there at my worst.
Me and my girls. This is from my freshman year, right before our home race. The boys are in the corner being less cool than us. They are jealous of our matching outfits. (The boys and girls teams practice together every day, and we are extremely close and only a little bit rivals)