Saturday, March 10, 2012

First four mile run

I program late into the night on most days. Thus I am not a fan of getting up early.
Today however I got up at 6:30, changed, said hi to the kids, who are always up early and drove to the Running Depot in Crystal Lake for my first morning group run.

I was driving half sleepy, wondering what the heck I am doing. Then I got to the store, walked in, and found over 50 people in running attire. The looked great, well prepared, strong, and frankly intimidating.
Turns out there is a large group that runs for "fun" on Saturdays. They happened to be doing a "short" six mile run today. Our half-marathon training group was going to run four miles as we build up our distance.

It was 30 degrees when we started with a strong and chilly headwind.
I quickly learned why everybody else was wearing hats and gloves, I had neither. I was sleepy, cold and not having fun running into the headwind. But stopping was not an option as I was running as part of a group. I never understood the value of running groups till today. The group energy was amazing and it helped me overcome the cold weather and the chilly headwind.

I ended up running an 11 minute pace for the four miles. Couple of people in the group ran faster pace but most of the others ran 11 minutes or slower. It was fun, not overbearing nor exhausting. I felt energized after the run, a feeling I never have after running on the treadmill.

I found out along the way that while this was my long run almost everybody else in the group considered it their short run and were running much longer distances on other days of the week, they also all run at least four times a week. Some run every day. It looks like I joined the right group. I am not going to be able to spend as much time running as they do but I am sure the group will help me achieve my goals of running the Rockford half marathon in May and then the Chicago Marathon in October.
One step at a time.

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