Weekend Fun: Group Runs

>> Monday, June 25, 2012

As I wrote on Writing Chapter Three the other day, I've been avoiding social situations a lot lately. And there is no better example than with how much I've been avoiding joining the local runners club for group runs.

Concerns I had included: 

  • I wouldn't know anyone. (That was more a concern a year or two ago.)
  • I wouldn't be able to keep up with others. Or that I would end up running alone anyway. 
  • I would bonk out and not be able to get home like I usually can if I don't feel like finishing. 
  • I would need to use a restroom or drink water and not be able to drop home. 
  • I wouldn't be able to get ready in time due to breastfeeding/etc. -- baby excuse stuff.

This Sunday, however, I had no such excuses. Ada had woken up earlier than usual. Fed earlier, too. Was on schedule to nap during the run. And Stephen was eager to watch her. Time rolled around to when I'd need to leave to join the run, so I went for it.

I'm so glad I did. Our local group has done a fantastic job of coordinating various loops from 6 to 16 (and beyond) miles. All those people you see above? For my area, that's a big crowd to draw at 8AM.

Those concerns I had?

  • I now know a bunch of people in the club. And you know what? Meeting new faces wasn't half bad!
  • I knew my general long run pace and asked around ahead of time to see who might be interested in joining me. My friend Sue was generous enough to let me tag along and we settled in with a couple others. I wouldn't say it was easy for me not going my usual slog, but I also felt strong being able to be more consistent about it. 
  • Had I not found anyone to run with me, I don't think it would have been so bad. People were running a variety of distances, so we were always crossing paths with others. Just being part of the group was in the back of my head regardless. 
  • Surprisingly, I was almost able to slip into a race day mentality. Had I run alone, I imagine I would have stopped at my house for a break or even stopped early. Being accountable made my workout better and longer. 
  • I didn't know it, but our run organizers have thought of everything. Several water stops were along the loops and dropping into a local business took care of a bathroom break I needed. No biggie! 
  • As I already mentioned, the stars aligned with Ada to allow me to make it to this run. But getting up a bit earlier than normal, pumping, and just leaving the house will help me in the future. It CAN be done. 
I ended my 10-miler thinking: "Why didn't I do this much, much, MUCH sooner?" I'm already making plans to do it again next weekend. Just the extra motivation I need to stay in shape over the summer months (I hate running in heat).

Do you participate in group runs? If so, what do you like/dislike about them? And if you haven't, do you have share some of my same concerns?

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