I remember my first day of competitive soccer practice. I was 10 years old, starting the fifth grade, and my childhood nickname, “chicken legs,” came to life as I struggled to keep my shin guards from sliding down. As a nervous impostor (all the girls were friend from public school and I was the awkward private school girl), I knew making it through the first practice would be victory in itself. I made it through, and I had never felt so brave. I remember going to school the next day feeling the extra hop in my step.
These ordinary experiences can makes us feel invincible and powerful.
I would feel that bravery time and time again: my first day of cross country practice as a freshman and feeling my eyes well up when what I thought was the run was actually just the warm-up. Then there was taking the baton at State Meet, with an entire team relying on me to help us get to the finals. I had to be a brave and scrappy college runner, finding my way. At each turn, there was a team. A group that made the bravery possible, that made it even more worth it.
This bravery isn’t unique. We all feel it when we do something scary. In the presence of a team, that bravery has the potential to magnify to feel otherworldly. The teammate whose triumph feels like your own. The little victory that we each share. The obstacle we finally get past that we all have a stake in. All these moments add up and stitch together to create the fabric of team magic.
On the verge of starting our women’s running team, Arete, I get butterflies at the thought of team life again. It won’t be all consuming in the ways of childhood and college, but in that way it’s almost better. It’s something we get to make time for, not just something Mom signed us up for. It’s something we are a part of, once again, and this time the bravery, the camaraderie takes on a new adult life.
What being a part of Run Arete means:
The fire still burns. We’re older now, so we appreciate finding that fire, where as before it was expected. The turn of a last lap, the last minute of an interval. It’s alive and it’s nothing age or fitness can diminish. I can’t wait to see that fire light up in our team. Some will be slow to start, and others burning from the get-go, but the passion of revisiting team life ignites on day one.
For teammates, for the sport, for something bigger than ourselves. Sharing the passion through such a raw and powerful activity fills hearts to the brim.
Like that first day of soccer practice, we’ll be there to see each other through moments of bravery. Each moment—on any scale is something to celebrate. Hopping on the track for the first time in years, setting a PR, qualifying for a dream race. Each of these moments will take heart, sacrifice, failures, and triumphs. With the support of team, we share in those moments together.
When you join a team, there’s a certain amount of letting go and trusting the process. Trusting your teammates. Your coach. Creating a space that’s different than anything else in the day. And trusting each other to fill that space with exactly what we need: each other in the art of running.
Here’s to showing up, finding your brave, and being part of something bigger than yourself.
Yours in running,