So after a rough-ish start, this week's moving along pretty well. Tuesday night brought 4.7 miles after work, and tonight I joined the Wednesday night ladies run for a shy five-mile loop. (Between those two, I'm crossing off Run #1 and Run #2, by the by.) I've realized that while my training plans throw in speed work and hills and tempo runs and all that, my first priority is to build my running base so I'm ready to take on marathon training come June. What that means in reality is that I'm willing to blow off the instructions that say "1 mile warm-up, 2 miles tempo, 1 mile cool-down" and just go run four miles at whatever pace feels good.
How have I not tried running with this group before? They are so much fun! I screeched into the lot about three minutes late, and saw the group gaggled by the bandstand listening to someone talk about race entries and giveaways and something else... to be honest, I was nervous, and my shy introvert went and asserted itself. I knew from their Facebook page that this group split into a 3-mile batch and a 5-mile batch, and I definitely wanted the 5-miler... but I couldn't tell if they'd organized or not or what! So after glancing around a bit, I softly asked the lady next to me if they'd split up yet. She assured me they hadn't, and she figured out pretty quickly that I was new and graciously took me under her wing.
The group leader got us to stand for a picture, then reminded folks that the run tonight was to be an easy paced one, since many in the group have a killer half-marathon this weekend. And then, we were off. I forced myself to chat (shy! ack!) until it wasn't forced; the miles moved quickly, even at an easy pace. This run felt as easy as a lunchtime walk, but the pace was sub-10:00 miles the whole way. By the time we returned, I realized that I recognized several faces from around town... or perhaps we've passed each other on runs. Either way it was all grins and hugs and then back into cars to head home.
So many of my runs are solo. A few are run with one, maybe two others. This was a different experience - and a new challenge. Maybe this has been a missing link?