In the months I have been training for the Chicago Marathon and the upcoming San Francisco Half Marathon (eeek! just 13 days away), I get the occasional "I want to start running. Can I run with you sometime?" request. While it's nice to see when people get encouraged to go out and try running for themselves, I have to say the last thing I want to do is A) run with someone & B) run with a beginner.
That's not to say that I am the best runner on the face of this planet. Believe me (and why wouldn't you) I am not. My problem is pressure. There are times I face pressure straight on and kick it in its ass. Other times I tend to avoid it like it I did freshman Geometry. I just can't handle the PRESSURE!!!
So yes, running with another person causes unbearable pressure for me. Will I be too slow? Will they want to run elsewhere or further than I? Can I keep up? Will I be able to focus on my breathing? Will they want me to entertain them? Keep a solid pace? Heaven forbid, talk to them? And if they are new runners......forget it. Been there, done that. If you think there is nothing worse than the start of your running career, try reverting back to it after 5 years' training, just to be nice.......uhm, nightmare!
That and the fact that there are no leisurely jogs scheduled in my immediate (<4 months) future. And like I said, I don't stop, ever. So don't expect me to.
My solution was to tell those who inquired about running with me about a run group I had thought of starting. Normally that gets them fast off the running subject. Run with PEOPLE!?! OH hell no! I mean, had I mentioned this idea to my people 4 years ago, they would have laughed in my face and then ordered me a beer, thanking me for the happy-hour chuckle.
But something has happened over the past 5 years. EVERYONE is running. That or they say they want to... so I decided to actually put my money where my fake-solution was and make it happen.
[Name TBD] run #1.
Saturday @ 9am
Pffft, who's actually going to show for this? I mean I was frickin shocked 18 people confirmed to my invite. But really, 9am, Saturday morning ... NO ONE will actually make it.
My roommate and Sal, who are both training for the San Fran half with me, headed out the the beach early (7am) to knock out 8 miles before the 3 mile "run group" appeared; as it was a long run day and we couldn't afford to just run 3 with the race just weeks away.
It was a lovely run. I killed it! Finished it in 63 minutes. That is just under 8' miles. Diana ran her best time EVER with sub 10' miles and Sal kicked ass just by finishing the 8 as he probably has only ran a total of 8 miles this whole training round.
So 8 miles down. Just another 3 to go...easy, right?
It was 10 minutes to 9:00 when our first attendee showed up...after 15 minutes we had a crowd of 6...and at the start of the Run Group we had a whopping 16 people!
We started a bit late but EVERYONE finished. Some finished faster than I would have liked (show offs) but that's really my own personal jealousy issues. But bottom line is, everyone finished!!
I was so proud. While my final 3 miles were extremely tough due to stopping after the hard 8, I still managed to finish at 9'20 pace - borderline OK. But the best part of the day? Is seeing the accomplishment in people's eyes.
They were so proud of themselves. Whether it was because they ran 3 straight miles, or that they did it super quick, maybe it was because they got up at 8am on a Saturday after partying, frankly I don't give a pile-o-poo. What's done is done.
Everyone there started their Saturday off with some hard work and personal accomplishment.
And the best part is....I think I may have gotten someone hooked on running because the next day I received an awesome text message:
"Molly, just finished my 6th mile in two days! Definitely going to sign up for the LA Rock-n-Roll Half. Thanks to you chica!"
BEST. TEXT. EVER.
You're very welcome Kara.