Last night I drove over to one of the local running stores to try out a run with the Oak Park Runners Club. Thankfully I was not the only new person who showed up last night. Two other women, me, and two young boys were all first timers.
One of my biggest concerns with running with a new group is whether or not I'll be able to keep up. I mean, I can run by myself just fine. When I run with a group I want to run *with* the group. One of the regulars said that her pace was between 9 and 10 minutes per mile. Okay, I thought, I can hold that for 5 miles.
Turns out that most of the runners in this group are much faster than that. Or, if they're not, they like to start out fast and then slow down. Run positive splits, as it were. I'm the opposite. I like to start out slow and speed up. At least on shorter distances. So, I was lagging behind for 4 out of the 5 miles.
One of the other new runners was slower than me. I ran with her for awhile, but ended up getting ahead of her. I ran with one guy for awhile. He was going slow with us back-of-the-pack people since he knew we didn't know the route. At one point he stopped to walk to let the slower new lady catch up. I walked for a bit with him. But the second time he stopped to walk I kept going.
It wasn't until after our water stop at mile 4 that I actually found myself running *with* people. And, just to illustrate how much they slowed down over the course of the run, I actually finished ahead of everyone else and side-by-side with a former Kenyan distance runner. Of course, he wasn't going full speed :-)
Throughout the run I debated whether or not I'd run with them again. I suppose that even if I lag behind for most of the run, if I join the group I'll still have the camaraderie before and after the runs. Last night a local personal trainer who ran with us led us in some stretching exercises post-run. And I found out that next week a Brooks representative will be out to possibly raffle off a pair of shoes and then the group of runners is going out to dinner afterward.
Group membership is only $15 a year. I think I'll join. I may not be able to run in the middle of the pack (yet) but at least it will keep me motivated. Right?
Posted from bimactive.com