“Comfort…was the key ingredient to making the prisoner crave the prison.” Ashim Shanker
I had a first (and I guess a last) recently. I went to my first Nike Run Club run. Most athletic gear stores now have running groups, where you meet at a certain time to run with any number of random people. I always hear about these events, but for a multitude of reasons, I never go. What if I can’t keep up. What if I’m the oldest hag there (this has mostly held me back from the run at the Lululemon store that is a ten minute walk from me). The largest factor…time….both making the time and the time of these actual runs. They tend to be at 6 or 7 pm, and I’m a first thing in the morning runner. And, taking the time to go to the group, run, and then come back….I could do double the length run on my own if I just run out of my house.
But lately, I have been thinking that in addition to having signed up for the L.A. Leggers in August, I would like to try as many local running groups as I can at least once. Sort of like speed dating….but with running clubs. I figure that some of you are reading my journey and telling me that I’ve inspired you to run….and so now I in turn need to push myself out of my comfort zone of running out my door and then report back.
A couple of weeks ago, I got a Facebook group message form one of the Every Mother Counts contact people who I met a few months ago when I ran the Hollywood Half-Marathon. She was going to go to the local Nike Run Club if anyone wanted to join. It was a sign. No more excuses. Just do it.
I went online and at least for the Nike Store, it’s a pretty organized event that you register for in advance. You pick whether you are going to run 3, 5, or 7 miles, and then you pick your pace group. I settled on 5 miles, knowing that I would walk or run the one mile each way to the store from my house, and given that I’d be running at 7pm after a full work day, 7 miles would be too much. Plus, I’ve never really tried running at the end of a work day…. yoga after work, meet me at savasana…. happy hour after work, I can pace the lead group for that….running after work is new territory.
The distance to run was an easy decision….the pace group to pick….that was the real question. You all know, I’m “not fast.” My best pace has been a 9:23 mile average at the Hollywood Half-Marathon(total time 2:02:56)…which I’m happy with maintaining for 13.1 miles. But that was extra race day energy, proper fueling, rested. Usually on my morning runs, I’m running about a 9:45/min mile. You could sign up to run in the 10+ minutes per mile group, the 9 – 10 minutes per mile group, or the under 9. It may not sound like much, but there is a BIG difference between a 9:00 pace and a 9:45 pace. What was 10+ going to be? I didn’t want to run at 12min/mile….I’d get bored. But did I want to show up at the end of a long work day to a new group and be running at an uncomfortable pace….well, why the hell not….I signed up for 9-10.
I showed up, signed in, we got different color wrist bands per our pace group, and got divided up. There were a lot of energetic, young, cute, muscular pacers….fabulous. The fast group started out first, followed by us, and right behind were the 10+…. or as the pacers called it, “sexy pace” group…
The weather …a cool breeze….the scenery…we went up Rodeo Drive into the hills of Beverly Hills…. beautiful…. the energy and encouragement of the pacers…perfect. We were really running a 9 minute mile and not close to a 10 at all. For the first 3 miles, I was ok and in the middle of our group. By mile 3, all that exerting and I had some side stitches and ended up at the end of our pack. I started trying to inhale and exhale the cramps out. By mile 4, I wanted to be done. The 10+minute group was just a little behind us. I could stay with my group and somehow push through and come in last place ….or easily drop back and join the 10+ and comfortably come in first in that group.
It was a night of firsts. I did my first evening run, my first post-work run, my first run store run, and I could have come in first place in the 10+ group…but I stayed in my group…. I came in last place. Just when I wanted to drop back into the 10+ group, I remembered that I was there to get out of my comfort zone, to push myself. I couldn’t come back and tell you that I took the easy path out. I’d rather have my kids get a B in an honors class than an A in the regular. I chose to come in last place. Now on to find the next run club, for the second of my speed run dates…..maybe Lululemon….where the pants were not designed for my behind:)
**All photographs were taken by a photographer that Niketown hired and then emailed to all participants (so I’m assuming I’m allowed to use them.)