team player

For the last few weeks (especially the last few days) I have been thinking about solo vs. group sports.

As a kid, I played soccer and ringette and participated in war canoe and kayaking which were all team sports and a great experience but as I got older (and I’d like to blame back surgery mixed with adolescence), I pretty much whet on a sports hiatus until post-university. At that time, I had just moved back to Halifax and my best friend Sarah started running. She joined Team Diabetes and completed a full marathon in memory of her dad.* This was enough to motivate me to learn how to run and although I have taken a few Running Room classes, it has mostly been a solo pursuit. Don’t get me wrong, if someone wants to run with me, I am more than thrilled to have a buddy (call me!) but most days, it’s just me and my dog at 5:45 am. Running is great but it can get lonely… so what else do I do?

  1. Join A Group: Four years ago my cousin convinced me to go to a trail run with The Halifax Trail Runners Club. We had no idea what we were getting into but it was a blast. Sadly, we showed up to their last run of the season but, even though Kathleen moved away that winter, I went back for their first night the following Spring. I have continued running with the club for three years and enjoy the group aspect. Even though there are crazy-fast/crazy-good trail runners in the club, the “Happy To Be Here” group was a great pace and not terribly intimidating. Basically we’d all take off together, stick together, and run trails through the woods. It’s such a treat to be off the roads and despite a few falls, a few scars and a few stitches, it led me to sign up for great events like the Sonofa Gunofa Run and the Cuddly Coyote trail races. This season however, I haven’t been out. Why? With the growing size of the club and the popularity in trail running, they had to change their format and now you need to be more familiar with the trails and find a buddy before the weekly run rather than then relying on a larger leader-led group. This (kind of) makes sense but for someone who’s always been a follower in the woods, it makes me uneasy to be out there in a smaller group. What if I show up and there’s no one to run with? I am such a social-chicken but I am determined to go to at least one run this season – I need to get my courage back and allow myself to remember how awesome the woods can be.
  2. Join A Group Fitness Class: I am not much of a gym girl but I have become a big fan of Cyclone Studio. They’re all about group fitness and this method works for me. Rather than doing your own thing at the gym, Cyclone offers classes, including spin, barre, TRX, circuit training, kickboxing and my personal favourites – the combo classes (mix spin with TRX or spin with yoga)! There is something about being in a class that pushes you harder and it’s a bonus when you have friends in the class too. Don’t get me wrong, I will alway love sweating with Shaun T, but getting out of the house it much more fun.
  3. Join A Team: As mentioned, running is a solo sport… but it doesn’t have to be. I learnt this a few weeks ago when I joined a relay team. Running in a relay is so much fun and an added challenge. You go faster because your result is not just for you. Having a support crew cheering you on and being a support person for others is awesome.
  4. It’s not all serious: There are now a billion running races (may be a slight exaggeration) in Nova Scotia each year and it is hard to decide which ones to do. Last year I talked Sarah into joining me on the Run Or Dye colour run. I am a professional fan of colour and figured I needed to experience what running through powdered dye was all about. It was a total gimmick and very unorganized but it was still fun. And being that it felt like a “did it, done it, got the t-shirt, not doing it again” experience, I decided to sign up for the Mud Hero run this year. Doing stupid silly stuff with friends is what summer is all about. Right?

So why is this on my mind.. solo vs. group? Last week, a massive search was conducted for a missing mountain biker. He was apparently riding alone on one of the local mountain bike trails we run and he didn’t return home. This has been heavy in my heart – knowing how easy it can be to get lost in a place you thought you knew. I know people (including my mom!) who were a part of the search** and it is hard to accept that he hasn’t been found.

I hope everyone takes the time to have fun but be safe this summer.


*To learn more about Sarah, the running, her husband and family check out this podcast – so great!
** As mentioned here, Search and Rescue is a valuable organization to our communities. Support their efforts if you can.

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