One should first figure out his journey and only then find a partner or team who wants to share the same experiences
I used to wait for permission to go out and do something on my own or to achieve more. Mother Nature had primed us to gather up in tribes of 30 or so to mingle, get comfortable and eventually hunt down a mammoth if the winds were right. This applies to OCR community pretty well, because at least in the open heats you always have teams racing with members trying to support each other – in other words, going primal to the core.
That self-initiated permission to have fun and soldier on with initial plans even if other people drop out, took me quite a few years to master. Because naturally you always fall back to having more fun when you’re in a social environment with dedicated team players. There’s also security and comfort in knowing that your back is covered if you need any help. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts and all that. And even if you do go solo, you still reply on people to appreciate and acknowledge your achievement on social media, don’t you?
This weekend I was meant to race with a friend., but he cancelled. However, I didn’t let this stop me and neither should you.
In his book on being a man, Fire in the Belly, Sam Keen wrote that a man (or a woman) should first figure out their journey and only then find a partner or team who wants to share that journey and those experiences. Even if there’s no one wanting to share your experience, you must still do it. This applies across all areas of your life – travel plans, going out, cinema nights and so on. You know what you want to do, so reject your fears and do it.
This comes easy for some, such as introverts who might find doing this alone a natural way of living. However, even extroverts will benefit from solitude and solo experiences. Whilst I love to travel, race and organise other experiences with a team, ‘the more the merrier’, I also know that every one person has their own journey, responsibilities and priorities. This should be seen as the norm.
Let’s say your friend Stephanie is a flaky little devil who’s always late or loves to give you ‘maybies’ (basically means ‘no’ till they find something better to do). The two of you just agreed to do a Spartan Race as a team/army of two. Sounds great and peachy, but frankly you should plan on going alone and not just because Steph could cancel any moment or even on the day of the race. It’s because you are a finisher who will finish no matter what.
And what’s the problem here anyways? When you train, you’re competing against yourself (in your own head). You give yourself pep talks to help deal with the pain and feeling uncomfortable. The same applies in a race. The only difference is that you might be racing alongside someone else, but how big of a difference is this really?
Plus you can always find a friend or join a team who actually made it to the event! There are ways to carpool, join OCR groups through social media, or even serendipity in meeting a fellow racer en route to the race location and deciding to run it together. The latter was exactly what happened to me this weekend and even though we ended up splitting up in the race, I had a blast.
Don’t be afraid to go and ask to join someone in your heat (as long as it’s not a competitive heat, of course). Alternatively, join the UK OCR community on Facebook (Facebook group: UK.OCR), where people share their stories, advice or look for people to race with. So even if you absolutely cannot stomach racing solo, you have zero excuses not to go through with a race if others cancel on you.
And if you’re just starting to gather your own racing troops, you might find it helpful to refer to our article about camaraderie and forming your own OCR team.