Running is such an individual sport and I have missed some of the camaraderie that comes with playing team sports. I grew up playing soccer all my life so when I stepped on to the field the other night for a game, a sense of nostalgia rushed back to me. My “cheer on my teammates” mode kicked in from the sidelines and I was ready to help motivate my fellow players on the field.
I also have a competitive edge when playing soccer. When on the field I feel like I’m 15 again running down the field trying my best to score a goal or beat my opponent to the ball. I love the feeling that comes from racing as fast as you can on a break-away. (I had one but unfortunately did not score a goal.) Sometimes I wonder if I only feel fast when I’m running on the soccer field but when I can outrun some of the guys on the field I know I must be quick! It’s fun and I pride myself on not only being able to run long-distance races but also being able to maximize my quick-twitch muscles through sprinting. One of the girls on the team told me that my new nickname is going to be “legs” because I’m fast. I may not be a big presence on the field but I will do my darndest to beat you any day of the week.
This competitive spirit from growing up on the soccer field has been transferred to the road races. During a race I pick people throughout the race duration to pass and those are the mini challenges that help me keep me going when I’m beginning to lose steam.
In a nutshell, soccer and it’s team sported-ness is a welcome change to some of the long runs I do on my own. And the sprinting is such that you do not even look at it as work. All of which will suit me well for my next round of marathon training over the summer. Go team!