Sometime late this summer, I started to examine why I really had never gotten together with other runners since I began my running journey. I thought about it a little bit and the only answer that I could come up with was a little complicated.
When I started running in 2015, my goal was to complete my first 4-mile race then I set the big hairy audacious goal of running the Chicago Marathon. I had approached both with a singular focus on just finishing the races. I would stick to a strict regimen and schedule to ensure success. As I have previously written about, I used the Higdon Novice Marathon plan. There would be no leeway in the schedule.
It was a solitary journey. I would hit the schedule marks as best I could and could not begin to imagine hooking up with running or training groups. How in the world would I be able to adapt their schedule to my training routine? In addition, because I was a run-walk-runner, I had always felt a bit of a stigma about taking my walking breaks. Surely, other runners would scoff at the lack of pure running in my training. I was also really pretty slow and very unsure of pacing.
The only real camaraderie that I experienced was working with the Endure to Cure fundraising team. Though we did not get together until the night before the actual marathon.
Well, I did finish the marathon in 2015 and that experience, though a bit lonely at times, resulted in crossing the finish line after 26.2. Thinking that this solo approach was the only way for me, I moved forward with the same routine over the next few years.
During the final months of training for my second marathon, I ran on the Towpath where the race would be held. I noticed immediately a large number of running groups and pairs of runners along the path. At the same time, I was planning some winter races and found an ultra training group.
At around the same time, I began to look connecting with different groups on social media. I was a fairly active user of the facebooks and the twitters for work and in my non-running personal life. There are such wonderful and supportive groups and individuals out there. They truly enjoy sharing their daily runs, what is working for them both training and product wise.
I immediately gravitated to two groups Run Heifer Run and the Ordinary Marathoner. Both groups include passionate runners with a great variety of experience levels. With daily check-ins and events like the Million Moo March, it is almost like having a neighborhood running club.
The Ultra training group also launched in mid-October. We meet for runs on Saturday and Sunday mornings. The group is run by NEOFit and is focused on preparing us for the BigFoot Ultra in December. Challenging but really informative and casual, the group has been a great experience for me.
So long story short, I don’t know what took me so long to discover these outlets. Expanding my running universe is working out great for me and truly made me appreciate running all the more.