This week I really pushed out of my running comfort zone and met up with a running friend and her tribe for a Saturday long run, which I hope was the first of many more to come. It was time.
When Steph asked me to join her and her friends for their Saturday long run, I didn't hesitate. Me, the runner who craves the solace of the long run? Who am I? I blame my boldness on the steroids I'm currently taking. Actually, I'm blaming everything on the steroids, but that's a topic for another blog post.
What's the big deal, right? A lot of runners run in groups.
I've never run with a group. I've never even run with a partner. Ever. Unless you count that neighbor who used to wait for me at the end of his driveway. I didn't ask him to run with me, he just decided to join me--for several weeks in a row. Do you feel me here? I finally had to tell him "it's not you, it's me". He looked as if I crushed his soul. It was as weird as it sounds.
Running has always been a place for me to work things out, to get lost in my head, to escape all the crap life throws at me. I've always run alone, including all my long runs for marathon training. I never minded my solo runs.
It's not that I didn't want to run with people. For a while now, I've been thinking about joining a group. My #holottafun weekend showed me how fun it is to be part of a tribe. A couple of things held me back from taking the plunge. Where would I find compatible runners? You're going to laugh at me, but until recently, I was always intimidated by other runners. True story. For years, I never saw myself as a "real runner". Crazy, right? I worried that I wasn't good enough to run in a group. What if I couldn't keep up? What if I got tired and had to stop? What if they thought I was weird? What if I got the runs on the run?
That is the real issue, you know. Fear of public soiling was the real anxiety-inducing reason I was avoiding the group run. The "if I don't stop now, I'll crap myself" issue. If you have GI issues, then you know of what I speak here. Those of you who are brave enough to wear white running shorts can just skip ahead to the next section. For many of us, the fear of a code brown on the run is very real. The idea of it happening on a group run? When I joked about it with Steph, she laughed it off and told me she stops all the time.
Obviously, I needed to get over myself, so off I went to Steph's house at 7 am. It was 13 degrees, but the sun was coming up. Her friends Katie and Tabitha met us there, and off we went. The plan was to run 10 miles at 9:20 pace. For real? Hey, that's my long run pace! Ok, then! We stopped about every 2 miles to drink and fuel, running to Payton's Hill for a picture and finished up. Steph and I broke off from the other 2, finishing with 8.5 miles at 9:15 m/m pace. We were cold.
I told them I'll be back next Saturday. This was such a nice, easy going run, and it was a great way to do my long runs. Marcia suggested I try to find my gears and I think running with a group will help me find my long, slow distance gear. I liked the frequent fueling stops and I liked that we could break off from the group if we needed to. We ran past plenty of places that were worthy of a pit stop, although none of us needed one.
Most of all, I liked the company.
The saying is true: runners really are friends we haven't met yet.
I had some other good runs this week, particularly Thursday's run. It was sunny and cold but I managed to run 6 miles at 8:34 pace on the bike path. That was the fastest run I've had since last summer!
The conditions for Tuesday's run were just brutal--the kind of conditions that mean Mother Nature owes you one in the form of a perfect sunshiny spring day. It was raw, it was cold, I was pelted with freezing rain pellets, and in the midst of all that, the roads began to ice up. I was grateful to stay upright. Before I finished, and yes, I finished my planned miles, I stopped to attempt a handstand--in the grass. I was pleased to land it once again.
|I brought my own sunshine.|
Becky continues to work me through my strength cycle. I'm really enjoying the creativity of this one. I did back squats and I did more power cleans. She's pleased with my progress. So am I.
|I battled with the bar but it's up!|
I hit the yoga studio twice and was rewarded with the return of my balance. As on the mat, so it is in life.
How was your week? Did you see the sun? Do you run with a group? Did you enter my giveaway?
I'm linking up with Holly and Tricia for their Weekly Wrap as well as Angela and Ilka for the Sunday Fitness and Food Linkup!