I got to Maybury State park at 6:05 PM, paid my $24 for an annual pass, and headed towards the group meeting point.
"What if I am the only one?"
"What if they are running rock stars and I the lowly roadie?"
"What if they take one look at me and laugh at my non-typical runner's physique?"
These were just a few of the thoughts running through my head.
I went into the women' bathroom and changed into my gear. While in there I hear people outside talking about where to run, pace, etc. OK Jenn it is now or never. Let's do this.
I walk outside to scope it out under the guise of stretching and tieing my shoes. I hear one guy say to the other "Yeah I figured that I would check you guys out and see if I like it."
That is my que.
"Uuummm.... sorry to interrupt" I say clearly not interrupting, "but are you with the NRR?"
"Why yes we are!" said guy #2
"I am new tonight" said guy #1
"Well so am I!" I say.
Another gentleman comes over and we stretch then head out for a 10 minute warm up.
LOTS OF TRAILS.
We do about .75 of a mile before guy#1 and 2 head back to the meet up point to meet up with the rest of today's club runners. I stay with guy #3 because I am clueless on these unmarked, definitely overlapping, and varying trails. We ended up running between 3.5 and 4 miles at a nice pace with walk breaks up the huge steep hills. The many crazy death inducing hills. Of torture. That I am so not used to.
It has been 2 or 3 years since I did trails for any real running. WOW. I was not prepared for that! A lot of walking, but great conversation with a man who is retired Air Force, a very accomplished runner and cyclist, as well as an awesome humanbeing who is trying to qualify for the 2009 Senior Olympics (he has to run a sub 46 minute 10K! And he can do it easy!)
Sice he just did a 100 mile bike competition the week earlier, he was taking it easy and helping me to not get lost.
Not an easy feat out there on those trails!
I have no clue on actual distance or time, but when I asked him how far abouts we went, he said easily 3.5 miles if not 4.
Right as we were cooling down, the rain started. Then the lightening. And sure enough, there were all the runners pouring out of the trails to the central meeting place. After everyone was accounted for, we headed off on our seperate ways. Some to home, the rest to the Deadwood for after running social time.
I have my car decal, my membership card, and another discount at Running Fit. Plus, there are people who run at every pace from 14 minute miles (with walking) to the blazing fast qualifier trail times.
I will not be alone.
Saturday is our 9AM meeting. I am going to do the paved flats around the park for my long run this week. I hear that there are some runners who only do the paved, and that can run any pace from 10 to 14 minute miles depending on turnout and who is there. They will accomodate you.
They really are a diverse group of runners who welcome everyone. And even if you end up running alone, you know that at the end everyone meets up and heads out to social time. That is the comradarie that I am looking for, and it is close to home. One of the other new people even lives in my gated community.
Speaking of, for the past week the guard shack has a saying on the board which I love, but I think I need to alter it a bit.
"No one is perfect. Try not to be too hard on others."
I think that it should read:
"No one is perfect. So do not be so hard on yourself. "
And I will leave you with that thought. Sometimes you should not be so afraid of yourself, that you are too hard on yourself. It was time for me to stop denying myself the opportunity to meet fellow runners of all abilities. Up until now, I have denied myself in meeting some potentially supportive people. I swallowed my pride and went for it. For me it turned out well. But I was ready for it to not. And that is just it. Sometimes, we need to step out on that limb and take a risk, to have faith that people are as good as we want them to be, and not as prejudicial as we fear they are.
The potential rewards outweigh the uncertainties.
Today's workout - 3.5 miles on trails. Crazy endless looping hilly trails of death and fun.