It happened! I had a Very Enjoyable Run! In fact, this was my second Very Enjoyable Run in 7 days. Now that’s some sort of record for me, Mrs Lead Legs. The secret to my success? Running Club.
Every Tuesday, at 7pm, I join a fluorescent herd of like-minded beasts. We are various shapes, sizes, abilities, ages and speeds with differing goals in mind, but we all have one thing in common. We can run.
As we set off, it’s a comical vision. A hundred or so reflective stripes, bobbing up and down like pogo-ing neon zebras, bike lights transforming muddy trainers into disco shoes, GPS watches jubilantly bleeping in unison as we breakthrough the first mile.
I was very apprehensive before my first session but I needn’t have worried. I was taken to a group of runners who would be running 9.30 min/miles – a comfortable-ish (!) pace for me. We set off and straight away the conversation started flowing. The first time I looked at my Garmin, we were 46 minutes in! Now that NEVER happens. Normally I’m huffing and puffing for what seems like hours and when I look at my watch I’m all of 7 mins in. A little soul destroying when I’m out for 1 hr 30…
Whilst it’s pretty hard to motivate myself back out of the front door after a truly frantic day at work, I’m always glad that I go (with the help of some gentle cajoling from Twitter). These runs are the best ones of the week and covering a good distance post-work, on a week night, is really boosting my confidence. 10k – once my ultimate Blue Skies achievement, is now a distance I don’t even think twice about. I NEVER thought I’d say that. Quite a change from the girl who swore she’d never run that ridiculous distance again back in September.
I’m definitely a People Person, I benefit so much from being surrounded by others, especially those who have the same love (and, yes, sometimes hatred…) for ‘my’ hobby. I suddenly feel like I’m speaking the same language as others, after months of trying to get by in a foreign land without knowing a single word of the Mother Tongue.
I’m so inspired by Mel in my running group who has 5 kids, including 5 year old twins and who has just signed up for her 49th marathon, a mere week after saying with conviction that she would never do a marathon again. Her stories of eating cheese and pickle sandwiches & rice pudding whilst completing 52 mile Ultras and Triple marathons entertain me during our runs and remind me that speed and endurance are entirely different disciplines. I am truly humbled by the blind runners and their guides, and genuinely excited for the Learning to Run group, who are just embarking on their journey & are achieving PBs at Parkrun, for I was in their position less than 9 months ago.
But most importantly, I’m learning that everyone is ‘average’. There’s not a runner in my group who isn’t pushing themselves to run that bit further or that bit faster. We are always, always striving to be better, always competing with ourselves. So when I’m despondent and frustrated I’m going to remember that, once again, I’m back in that high-vis, Garmin-bleeping, pavement pounding herd of ‘mediocrity’, chasing the dream of being the best we can be.
The first rule of Running Club? Join one