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?