The first reason my time was slower was because we didn't run as much as I anticipated. My running partner's ankle hurt and we decided that walking would be better for her. At one point, we were able to run about 2 miles across the bridge, about the same time that the mathon runners
The second reason was simple - a teammate was down and we were not going to leave a woman behind. So, our pace definitely slowed as one of our own struggled to keep up. The good news is that she did finish and we are so proud of her for pushing through the physical challenges she faced today. I will admit (with a twinge of guilt) that two of us pulled away at the end, simply because our muscles hurt and walking slow actually hurt more. And by mile 11, ya just want to be done.
There was a point when my pace slowed and I looked out over the waterfront, when I realized that being a teammate has always been more important to me than the competition. I was an athlete in high school but never at an elite level. I didn't have the competitive fire. Well, I have the fire but I ALWAYS chose to put the team before myself. I suppose thati is why I was the setter and the catcher for my teams. I could direct and lead but I could also take the blame, even if it wasn't warranted, in order for my team to succeed. Don't get me wrong - I do not like to lose. I do not like being the weak link. And I do not like being in last place. Ever. But I want others to feel good about the experience and I suppose that is why there never has been an "i" in "team" for me. I just couldn't ever feel good about being so competitive that it caused others to have a terrible time.
I wanted to run today. I wanted to be that runner who was being cheered on by the crowd (they don't really cheer for the walkers, like they should). I wanted to cross the finish line at a run. I didn't like feeling that walking was less than running to the people on the sidelines. I want to know I can set a goal of 13.1 miles and complete it at a full run. I absolutely have the fire to succeed and I have a desire to train and run the half marathon next year.
However, being with my friends, supporting them through the aches and pains, and choosing to be by their side was more important to me than a fast time. At any point today, I could have run ahead and my team would have supported that decision. But a fast time isn't why I do this event. I love the girl time, the gossip, the laughter while we train and then sense of accomplishment when we cross the finish line. Together.
I guess if I want to run, I should sign up by myself. Because we all know, I'm going to put the team first. Every time.