Last week it was raining, dark and I was tired. I decided to shake things up a bit and, for the first time ever, sent a text to check where a local running club met and set off. I didn’t stop to think about it until I was standing in the foyer of a sports centre, wearing my hi-vis vest feeling very self-conscious. Eventually a very kind person took pity on me and motioned that I should follow him. I did and was met by all these really fit, fast, speedy looking males. My worst nightmare.
I was given a very nice welcome (it is hard to remain inconspicuous wearing a bright pink vest!). They asked me how much running I did……apologised for the fact that there were no girls there and….then another girl did arrive. I was not alone totally.
The plan was to run a warm up 1.5.miles to get to the place where we were going to run up a hill for 20 minutes. The warm up was more like my sprint but I managed not to be right at the back and not embarrass myself completely. It would appear that 2 miles down the road, across the border into Suffolk we leave the flat fens behind and enter hilly country, another challenge for my body!
We then arrived at the bottom of a hill. We then proceeded to run nearly all the way up it. We were then to spend the next 20 minutes running up and down it. This was just the sort of thing I was looking for. Yes there were some that were running UP it like they running DOWN it but I took it at my own pace and wasn’t at all bothered. No-one said anything except for the odd encouraging comment (everyone was working too hard!)
Running back was at a slower pace and I chatted to some of the members a bit. We spent some time stretching which was very appreciated.
So what did I gain?
- Commaradery – I was running with others which is incentive enough to get out there.
- Expert advice – I picked up a lot of tips just from that very first hour.
- Variety – it was really nice to run new routes and in a different environment.
- Effort – I definitely worked harder than I do when I am on my own.
- Confidence – I did a lot better than I believed I would do. At the start I did fear it would be a disaster! This continued into my runs at home.
- Mental strength – I did not let my mind win as there were a lot of distractions.
I am going back for more and I would definitely recommend any runner seeking one out, whatever your ability. I know that the club I went to has recently started a beginner club and I also know that there were some very good (elite?) runners running with me. There is something for everyone. Yes there is a lot of advice about on the internet but there is nothing like connecting with people.