I’ve been toying with an idea.
Running with a group of strangers.
I’m kind of a loner when it comes to working out. I hunt alone, as it were. The truth is that I’m extremely self-conscious and I also feel like I am really inexperienced. I don’t ever want to be a drag, a drain or otherwise hold anyone back. It’s ok for me because I don’t really need the accountability – I’m pretty self-motivated when it comes to exercise. I’m also comfortable with the alone time. It’s good for me to clear my head and decompress.
However, I started walking with a group of girlfriends, and that was nice. Enjoyable. I’m a good walker, so I never felt out of place. Having some people to chat with was a nice change, too. These particular ladies are also runners, and we tossed around the idea of going out on runs together.
I’m in a new phase of “never say never” and last week, some of us finally did get out to run together. I was comfortable enough with this group to admit that I wasn’t as well-trained as they were for the hill run, and that I would meet them at the car when I was finished. It was fine. I didn’t lag too far behind, and it was kind of motivating for me to have someone in my sights for most of the outing. I was a little embarrassed (irrationally, of course) that I couldn’t keep up, but I can also laugh at myself and use this as a way to challenge myself to push harder.
Of course, since this has all worked out so beautifully, it’s only natural that my brain should push the envelope. A few of local running stores have big “group runs” on certain nights of the week. For some reason, I’ve been considering joining in one night. They say all levels of expertise are welcome, so…
Except, I’m pretty introverted and I freeze up in unknown situations. And even though all runners are welcome, I envision myself stumbling along while these amazing gazelle-human hybrids sprint on by, leaving me to eat their dust. Which is completely unfair of me, because I don’t think I’ve ever been in the company of a community that has been so welcoming and supportive. I just can’t seem to picture myself as a runner who belongs in that group, rather than an outsider trying to fit in.
And really, what’s the worst that can happen? I fall behind and don’t finish with the rest of the runners? I chicken out and go home? Conversely, I could have a great run, propelled along by the enthusiasm of a crowd of people who love what they’re doing and are united towards one goal.
So what do you think? Should I throw caution to the wind and try to get out with one of these groups? Or should I stick to my lone wolf tendencies?
Do you prefer running with a partner/in a group, or going it alone?