Hi everyone! I know I just posted about how I’m starting some new cross training through Pilates, but I have even more crazy news to share with you all. As you all are probably aware, I’m a solo runner. Every run I’ve ever done, with the exception of like 3 runs with my friend from last summer, have been done alone. I’m a lone wolf, just going along at my slowish speed doing whatever I want. It’s great for so many reasons – I can pick any location I want, squeeze it into any timeframes that are free for me, and push myself to go long without worrying about anyone else. Running alone is what makes me feel comfortable, and I’ll probably never stop making that my primary way to run.
But there’s something that’s missing from my solo runs, and that’s a fire – a fire to run faster and harder, to push myself, to run crazy routes (and hills!), to learn how to do speed workouts, and to run on trails without worrying about bears. And that fire can only come from running with other people. The problem is that other than my awesome friend who I met last summer, I don’t actually have any runner friends. I don’t know many people who run at my pace and I’m always self conscious about slowing other people down. I kind of gave up on the idea of joining any kind of running club a while ago because I really just never considered myself a runner who was able to hold it down in a group. But through some miracle I recently discovered a women’s running team here, and on the website it stated that all speeds were welcome. The only stipulation was that runners should be able to run at least 3 miles without dying, and I actually fit that! The club runs from April through August and it holds one Tuesday night run each week. The workouts vary from fartleks to hills to track workout to trail, all with a focus on gaining speed and strength. And luckily for me, the club started meeting last night! I was so nervous all day – was I going to be too slow? Will anyone else run 10:00-11:00 miles? How many miles were we going to run each time and was I going to be able to handle it?
I showed up at the meeting place after Girls on the Run practice and immediately noticed like 20 women walking towards the trailhead wearing running clothes. After talking to a few of them, I discovered that probably 90% of this year’s group is newbies, and none of them knew what we’d be doing and all of them definitely felt the same way I did about joining a running group. As practice started, we were instructed to jog out about a mile with a partner to get to meet someone new. Then we did four sets of structured fartlek runs “together” – we were instructed how hard to push ourselves for certain lengths of time, but really had the freedom to go at our own pace based on our own level. After every hard push we ran super slow, and the people in the front looped back and met up with those of us in the middle and back until we were one large group running together again. No one cared what anyone else was doing, and it was awesome! People were joking around and having fun while still taking their paces seriously, and I pushed myself hard right until the end! My biggest fears never actually happened – quite a few people were running at my pace, and I wasn’t the last person there! And honestly, I don’t think anyone would have cared if I was 🙂 Overall we ran about 4.5 miles and I went home exhausted but super happy. I think I’ve finally found a running group to join! It does have dues but I think it’s worth it because I’ll be getting help with all of the running workouts that I tend to avoid because I have no idea what to do and everyone said it will help with my speed. Plus I get to meet lots of new people who love to run which is something I’ve never experienced before. I can tell it’s going to be a fun summer training with this group and I’m already looking forward to next week!
Do you run with a club or team? How has it helped your running? Were you super nervous the first day too?