This post is LONG overdue, and for that I apologize. Things should be calming down around here, soon, and then I’m sure my posts will be more regular and consistent.
For a long time, I’ve resisted running with a buddy or a group. My reasons (and excuses) have been endless, and I’ve leaned hard on the idea that times don’t generally work out for me. And while sometimes, scheduling may be a factor, the real reasons are far more emotional. The truth is I’m embarrassed. Intimidated. Self-conscious. Afraid.
So there it is.
There are more than a few running groups around here, both serious and casual, groups with memberships and team shirts, groups hosted by local running stores and groups among friends. I’ve shied away from all of them. There was a little voice inside me that told me I didn’t belong. That those groups weren’t for me.
I have to learn to shut that voice down.
At the RunJax 5K, I ran with a friend. It was the first time I had ever actually raced side-by-side with someone, on purpose, for the entire duration of a run. I was really apprehensive about it, because I hate the idea that I might hold someone back or keep someone from reaching their goals, but she insisted that I would do neither and we crossed the start and the finish together.
I didn’t expect that I would take to the experience, but I did. It seemed like I pushed a little harder and held on a little longer. Granted, it was just 3.1 miles, but it was nice to have someone with whom I could chat, and the conversation and banter certainly helped the minutes pass more quickly.
It made me realize that my fear of group running was all in my head and maybe holding me back.
An opportunity to make a change came a few weeks ago, when a new chapter of a moms’ running group started up. The ladies had been discussing a group run for a while, and it was pretty challenging to figure out a time that would work for everyone. I declined several requests, and then one day, the admin of the group asked if anyone wanted to meet up on a weekend morning for a sunrise run.
We had no plans, no obligations, and before that little voice could tell me “no”, I responded with a “yes.”
And then promptly broke into a cold sweat. Because what on earth was I doing?
The appointed day came and I was up earlier than necessary, my sleep interrupted by my nerves. I packed my things, and hopped in the car, heading for the meeting point. A few times on the way, I thought about backing out and going for a run on my own. But then I felt really badly about flaking, so I put those thoughts right out of my mind.
I was pleased to note that the weather was finally starting to behave like fall.
I stopped at an open shop to grab a bottle of water and use the restroom, then continued on to our meeting spot. When I laced up my shoes, I realized that I had left my Garmin still plugged into the charger on the counter at home. Who does that?
I paced while I was waiting, to keep myself relatively warm. It was a full 20 degrees cooler than I was used to and it was a shock to the system. It wasn’t long before B found me, and we introduced ourselves.
B said she hadn’t run in a while and was totally fine going 3 miles with a 2:30/1:00 interval. I had to download a quick interval app to help us keep time. We decided on a route along the water, turning around when the sidewalks got bad, and opting for an out and back in the opposite direction.
It was nice. We were able to keep up a somewhat normal conversation, without too much wheezing and gasping for air.
My running partner even wanted to stop for pictures of the waterfront.
Obviously, this was working out just fine.
I can’t say my fear isn’t 100% gone, but I enjoyed myself and I want to make it a more regular thing. We haven’t had a chance to set up another run, but now that my most recent half is completed, I think we can work on scheduling something.
Do you have a regular running buddy or are you part of a running group?
How do you overcome any doubts you may have about your abilities?