Friday, January 27, 2012

Joining a Run Club

I am a very shy person.  Meeting new people is very hard for me as I don't know how to make small talk at all.  I usually run on my own, because even when running with people, I run out of things to say.  Back in September I got a phone call that pretty much changed things for me.

In September, I was getting close to quitting my job and I was home from work for some reason.  I was about to head out the door when I got a phone call.  A woman, Cindy, on the other line introduced herself as a woman I had met on the track this past summer.  She was laughing because she looked up my name from the results of a race she had seen me run in and then looked up my phone number.  She was getting set to run a 200 mile relay in two weeks and their team was short a person.  They were looking for a local runner and she thought of me.

What Cindy didn't know is that I had been wanting to run a relay for years. My lack of being outgoing really prevented this from happening as I spoke to very few people at local races.  Some people recognized me, but no one really knew me.  I didn't know 12 runners that I could convince to run a relay with me so it would always be just a dream until that moment.  I, without knowing anything, committed immediately to this relay.  My excitement to run outweighed my fear of being around new people.

The Reach the Beach Relay was September 16-17th, 2011, and it was a weekend I will never forget.  Hopping in the van with five ladies I didn't know on that Friday morning was very scary, but the nerves quickly went away.  All five women in that van were so nice and incredible runners.  I learned to push myself to a point I never thought possible and also that motivation from other runners can really help.  Our team ended up taking 3rd in the Masters Women division, averaging an 8:01 pace over almost 200 miles.  I was so proud to be part of such an amazing team.

On the way home from the race we got to talking about the Boston Marathon.  A few of the ladies were already registered to run and I was waiting to register because of the rolling registration.  One of my teammates asked if I would ever join her running club which offers group runs on the Boston Marathon course as well as transportation to the Boston starting line.  I admitted to her that I have always wanted to join a running club before, but due to my shyness stayed away.  They thought it was funny I would be scared considering I had spent the past 36 hours with complete strangers and had a blast.  I considered the option, but kind of put it in the back of my mind.

Fast forward a few months and here I am getting ready to run Boston.  I know I want to run on the Boston course, because I can.  Not only do I fear talking to new people, but I also fear new running routes.  I am afraid of being on an 18 mile training run and getting lost.  So, I re-evaluated my past few months....

  • I now run with someone nearly once a week.  This is a huge change from the past where I never ran with anyone.  
  • I spent 36 hours in a van with five ladies I had never met and had fun.  Runners are a great group of people and I love listening to them and I love having someone other than my poor husband listen to me talk running.  
  • I learned during the relay that there is a lot of experience to soak up from runners who have been running a lot longer than me.  Most started where I have and are now where I look forward to being in the future.  
This combined with the fact that I wanted firsthand knowledge of the Boston race convinced me to finally bite the bullet and join a running club.  I am now a member of the Greater Lowell Road Runners Club.  I am nervous to meet my new running friends but also very excited.  The experience that they have can only enhance my experience with running.

Yesterday, I received many emails that only got me more excited that I joined the running club.  I am about to sign up for the bus to the starting line and looking at how to incorporate some of their group runs into my schedule.  The running club also has a program for kids so my girls are going to get to be involved as well.  I can't believe I waited this long to join, but am so thankful I finally had the final kick to get me to join.  I guess you can say my hesitancy allowed me to find a group with people that I know I liked from the start so I am not jumping in blindly.

Have you joined a running club and if so what was it that convinced you to join? 


Stephanie said...

What are you saying? Hint hint that I have not joined yet. Yes I am planning on it and Yes I am planning on going with you that first weekend in March if you would still like. Oh but clearly you know my head is spinning with things today. lets talk more tonight! You are sooo not shy. you just don't seem to 100% realize it yet hehe

Harold Shaw said...

I am in the process of joining a running club also, the first one in a long, long time. I hope that my experience will be as positive as yours has been :-)

See Mom Run Far said...

THis sounds awesome and like so much fun! Good for you for stepping out of comfort zone and trying it. I bet you LOVE being a part of a running club.

Ok, and I can't believe that you are shy! You didn't come across that way at Disney at all. I loved meeting you and had so much fun with you, and really enjoyed talking with you.

And last, I am so jealous you get to run on the Boston course! What a blessing. Get some practice in for me. :)

Teamarcia said...

I am so excited for you! You sound SO much like me. I'm perfectly happy running by myself yet have been wanting to join a group but didn't want to feel obligated to run at certain times, etc. Enjoy that Boston course!

Laura said...

Love this, what a great opportunity! I looked around for running clubs when we moved this summer and found several, but none that fit well with my schedule... I really need to look again. Even if it means sacrificing and doing an evening run or extra early morning, I think I would really benefit from that sort of community. I can totally relate to this post!

Jamie Campbell said...

good morning! i have been debating joining a running club too... i think you just convinced me. i run with a couple friends here and there... but most of them do not run the same distances as me!

Heather McGowan said...

You sound just like me. I smile and wave at the same people at races and sometimes even have a small conversation but have not made a connection. The group runs on Saturdays and I can only do Sundays. A few do go out on Sundays I really should make the leap and try to connect.

I need to get over that "high school" feeling. I work in a HS I should know better and runners are friendly. Its just so hard to shake that feeling after years and years.

{lifeasa}RunningMom said...

I haven't really joined a running club yet to the extent of doing the group runs. Small talk is way too hard. It really shouldn't be called small talk at all. :(

Running with Attitude said...

Good for you for joining! Sounds like you will get a lot out of the experience! I usually run by myself but would love to have a group/club to run with. Fear of being the slowest on in the pack has kept me from doing it.

Amy said...

I'm not a member of a running club, but I have a running partner and sometimes we have joined group runs. I do not like to run solo, AT ALL and consider myself very lucky that I can run with a training partner 3 or 4 times a week. I have found group runs to be fun, but some are more welcoming than others. I am a lot like you when it comes to meeting new people. I need someone in the group to open the door and make me feel welcome or I will be totally uncomfortable and not want to come back! I think it is great that you are stepping outside of the "comfort zone". Can't wait to hear more about it!

Sara - Words to Run By said...

Joining my running club is the single greatest thing that has EVER happened to me! I LOVE IT!! I originally joined because my physical fitness and therefore health had spiraled out of control and I needed the accountability of a group to help me train for and complete my first half marathon. I loved it so much, I never stopped running. I consider my group my family and they have been there through some of the best and worst times in my life. So happy you found a club - I can't wait to hear more about it!!! :)