Lesson #5- Supporting your team.
It took me some time to get the true value of this lesson. On my first run when I saw my team they were flying to get to the next Exchange Zone so there was no value except for a sigh or relief on my end. On other runs as we would see our team we really would try to encourage them. I first got my glimpse of the importance of this on my second run. As my van passed me twice and once stopped on the side of the road blasting Metallica for me and with Jason flexing in the middle of the road. I can’t tell you the boost I got from this. Later as I was on this same run I can tell you exactly when this happened, at the 8.21 mile mark I heard someone scream my initials T.B. I know the only people who call me T.B.! The second van pulled up next to me and began to scream and shout encouragement for me. I can tell you knowing they were there and waiting for me at the finish helped carry me through and I ran my fastest miles to finish this run. That tells you all you need to know about encouragement. The fact that in what could have been rest time for Van #2 would come to support my tough run meant the world to me.
You could see it in each others faces as they ran. Whether they smiled, waved or gave you that “please let it stop man” look on their face, we knew they needed the encouragement. Let me get Mr. Webster to help with “Encourage”:
1- a. To inspire with courage, spirit, or hope
b. To attempt to persuade: Urge
2- To Spur on
I can assure you whether it is a scream, shout, phone call or text message your team and those around you needed to borrow some courage in pursuit of a big goal. Pour out encouragement all over the place. Don’t hold back. As we screamed for Mark to make it to the top of the hill on his last segment I knew he needed our courage and his own to make it.
This race was unlike anything I have done before. Racing has always been a solo effort on my part. To be able to suffer together and celebrate together made this an event I will always remember. The character of a team is determined by the individual parts of that team. I will tell you that the parts of this team are made of the highest quality. Allow me to honor my team once more as getting to know them was the best lesson of all.
Aaron- This is a runner who with basically no training delivered for our team. He has an amazing ability and is a runner who I could find myself hitting the trails with somewhere in Oregon. His second segment survival helped spur on our van through the night. As he set the tone, our team would follow. We loved using his experience as well. What I leaned from him is to be “cool and steady”.
Jason- Watching him run a personal best on a downhill portion and do it fast was awesome. What was better was watching him push beyond what he thought he could do and run that 9 miles without walking. Don’t limit yourself, you would be amazed at what you can do. To describe Jason I would say “Reese’s and Relationships”. Learned a lot about Jason and he learned a lot about himself. (No beef jerky though!)
Jeff- Solid! I could leave it at that because Jeff is one of the most solid runners and leaders I have spent time with. I had high expectations about what Jeff could do and he exceeded those. Jeff just went out and took care of business in impressive fashion. Like myself Jeff has that little competitive streak in him! I love it! To describe Jeff I would just say you can take it to the bank. You can count on him to deliver the goods.
Brian- A great stride and I enjoy watching him run. His best contribution is as a team member. He picks up the slack whenever we need it. He loves to encourage and this is the guy you want on your team regardless of the activity. He really found his stride during the training and toughed it out on the last run battling his stomach. To describe Brian I would say anything and everything. He is whatever we needed him to be.
Reggie- Never been more impressed with someone than after that second run of his during the night. We thought he would struggle and he excelled. Reggie seemed to get stronger with each run. He took care of his team at every turn and showed courage in every run. We trusted Reggie!
That was my van. My only regret was not seeing the other runners as much but I saw enough to learn from them.
Mark- Mountain Goat. That is all I need to say. He was a little afraid (maybe a lot) and wondered if he could make it up that hill. I never had a doubt! I knew he had it in him to knock out one of the toughest runs I have ever seen. I will say this of Mark, he runs with his heart and not his legs. In fact he does most everything with heart. That is a great lesson for myself.
Richard- Those last two segments showed him something he had not seen before. He showed me something too. We drove that 2nd segment of his and knew he had a battle on his hands. Richard has a tendency to think too much which causes worry. He has the ability and he discovered just that. His limitations are his own expectations. Richard showed no fear in asking for one of the hardest runs of this race and he showed he deserved it.
Scott- Enthusiasm. I could wrap it up in one word. There was not a time I saw him when he was not excited and smiling. Scott finished with one of the steepest inclines I have ever seen and he killed it! He relished the opportunity and earned everyone’s respect. (Knows how pick a place to stay as well, after that pick he is always invited back!)
David- Leader. He was our captain and leader. He had the experience and it showed. Quietly he ran as solid of a race as anyone out there and on a bum knee. The reason this race had so few problems is because of our leader. The best organized team was because of one person. The Leader. Whenever this team needed a bolt of energy or a laugh he was there to provide it. The Leader sets the tone, and he did.
Gerard- Shocking. We took a non-runner and we converted him to one of our greatest assets. Every time I turned around he was killing it. He says he does not run but that is the best non-runner I have ever seen.
Rob- Saved us! We needed one more runner and Rob was there. Not only was he there but he delivered some of the toughest runs of the race. In the brutal heat twice and brought us to the finish line. The only regret I had been not getting to know him more. Seeing him deliver that first run in that heat was inspiring. Strong runner is Rob.
There were a lot of lessons learned and it was an experience I will not soon forget. You can go do something easy but it won’t leave a scar and it won’t change you. The choice is yours. Don’t just do it, learn from it.