Despite ear infections, work and being an un-paid taxi for my ridiculously busy kids, this week I managed to attend my very first run with an actual, proper running club- The Saltaire Striders!
Based on last Sunday's awful experience, I was expecting to find a group of super fit, 'running to the run' style athletes with car tyre sized calf muscles and tight fitting vests but no... the runners were really normal people. Honestly- several of them had even driven to the running club. They were really friendly, introducing themselves by their names (not by their personal bests- another thing I had come to fear) and warmly shaking my hand. By a stroke of luck, I had hit on the advanced beginners class. For the first time... well... ever... I wasn't at the back. In fact, I was actually near the front. I ran the first 2 miles at a 9 minute mile pace without noticing because I was talking (my all time favourite hobby) to a really nice lady, who, it just so happens, is also running the Great North Run for the first time in September! Small world eh?! We did Fartlek training (I still can't write or say the name without laughing like a teenage boy) and I just did it- up and down the hills, quick pace, absolutely no problems! The lead runner lady simply said, "you're never a beginner... great run, can you make it next week?" To which I replied, 'Hell yeah!' And that was that. Back in love with running like the fickle character I am!
When Gary the Garmin and I went out tonight, I decided to use him to properly train- not coast and enjoy the 'experience' of being outside, wearing lycra in the freezing cold and getting beeped at by van drivers because my nipples are sticking through my t-shirt like chapel hat pegs- I ran properly. The way the group ran on Monday. I ran 4 and a half miles in 43 minutes. The first two flat miles were 8.45 and 8.34. The third and fourth miles were up-hill and even they weren't that slow AND I didn't stop... not once... not even to give the finger to the van driver who peeped his horn and shouted 'nice baps' as he sped into the sunset.
I honestly wish I'd gone running with a club earlier. I could have been training a lot more effectively if I had. It's funny because everyone I spoke to at the club had joined after reaching a frustrating plateau after a long period of running on their own... hopefully, the Striders will help me get over my 'hump' and then I will rock my next races. Then Gary and I can run to the run and talk personal bests with the proper runners! Yippee! Can't wait.
8 miles tomorrow. Happy running :)