I am a member of a team, and I rely on the team, I defer to it and sacrifice for it, because the team, not the individual, is the ultimate champion. – Mia Hamm
Running is a funny sport. As a runner it is you alone out there on the road. It’s your mind that tries to pull you out of the run or pushes you through it. Your legs that ache during the last kilometre. Your sweat that you wipe off your eyebrows before it drips stinging into your eyes.
Yet, like soccer and any team sport, an individual cannot win a game by themselves. The brilliant Mia Hamm sums it up well in the quote above. She was the member of one of the most successful women’s soccer teams of all time, and a key part of their success. But the team did not pivot on her brilliance alone. The skilled hands and instincts of Hope Solo (and what an awesome name). The game-winning attitude of Brandi Chastain. The amazing goal seeking abilities of Abby Wambach. And these are just some of the players. Behind the ladies in the uniforms are a much large suite of support – an extended team. Without this extended team, the individual players would not have been the best that they could be.
I am not a member of the US national women’s soccer team, but it is no different for me. Without the support of my extended team, I would not be able to perform at my best.
So this post is to doff my cap to my extended to team to thank them for keeping this ageing body on the road and helping keep my spirits strong. I won’t name them personally, but recognise their roles:
- My loved ones, friends and family. Their excitement and belief in my ability to go out there and run further than some of them drive helps me to keep my self-belief strong on the days when I doubt myself. They support and strengthen my heart and mind.
- My masseur. ‘Healing hands’ does not say enough for this person who I see once a month. Mind you, with each quiet sigh I hear from him with the occasional ‘hmmm…a bit tight here’, and ‘have you been having any aches around this area????’, I guiltily try to sink into the massage table a bit and hide.
- My osteo. The first time I went and saw him and heard the cracks and felt the subsequent release of tension and tightness, I was sold! I see him on a 6-weekly basis for maintenance work to ensure that my back, neck and legs are holding up OK. I feel like I am taller after each visit!
- My GP. She is based in another state, and is fantastic at managing my health via email, phone and twice-a-year face-to-face visits. Through her, I know a lot about my body and its potential limitations (or at least areas I need to be aware of or take special care of).
- My counsellor. We all see dentists for maintenance of healthy teeth, and a GP for general check-ups to ensure we are in good form. I see a psychologist once a month for ‘maintenance’ of my mental health. Money well very spent. It refines the mental part of my game.
- My Reformer Pilates instructor. A bit like my osteo – working with her weekly helps keep my core strong and allows me to strengthen targeted muscles groups to support my knees. It is also nice doing exercise that allows you to be half asleep and lying down in a semi dark room.
- My boxing and Zuu trainer. If all I did was run I would get bored. Boxing and Zuu give me a sense of intense physical strength that balances the extensive hours and hours of cardio I do every week. And besides – it is FUN!!
- My hairdresser. I am rather particular and a little vain about my hair. It is an unusual short cut, so I am very fussy about who touches it, and it needs to be easy to deal with during a run. ‘Nuff said : )
So at this nearly half-way point through my training, I would like to say thank you to my team for challenging me, believing in me, and providing the inspiration or support at times. I stand (or perhaps I should say ‘run’) on the shoulders of others.