I went back to run team yesterday. I’ve been thinking about it for weeks and probably would have done it sooner if work schedules had aligned. Finally, yesterday, the timing was right and I paid the membership and training dues and told everyone I’d be there. And they all said “Great! Can’t wait to see you! We’re doing hills today…”
I avoided all “hill” workouts last year while training for Marine Corps Marathon. But let me explain. There are no hills in Florida! There might be slight inclines in the middle of the state, fine, but in south Florida it’s all flat. The team uses overpasses to train for hills, and even these overpasses don’t prepare someone for the hills in any race up north (Lee Highway climb, anyone?). I just figured, if it’s not a real hill, why bother? But yesterday I had promised everyone I’d show so, for once, I couldn’t back out of hill training.
It was fine. It was great even. Because I was so happy to be back with a group and just run and not think about the run or injury or anything at all. I missed that. I missed all the long runs we did in the sweltering heat that felt easy and where they flew by because we were talking about other things or just doing mindless, silent group runs. And that’s how hills went yesterday. And that wasn’t even the best part.
The best part was hearing about other people’s race plans and being inspired by them. Everyone already knew how everyone else had done in their fall races (nobody stalks your run times like other runners btw) so I also got an ear full of everyone’s performances. I don’t follow people’s performance unless they tell me themselves. But I was definitely curious. I don’t think there were any surprises. We all did what anyone could have predicted if they had watched us in training. But following the marathons, probably half of the distance runners haven’t been back to the group. Granted it’s the holidays and it’s still not too far from the marathons, but the people who haven’t been back are, perhaps not coincidentally, the ones who didn’t do so great on their marathons. Hey, running marathons is tough. I was pretty angry with it all just a few days ago and that’s why I dragged my ass to team. Nothing gives you that lift like other runners. But with marathon running, you gotta want it. And seeing who was back on the team even before New Year’s Resolutions began, well those are the people I want to run with.
Maybe it was because I was so happy to have an easy and pain-free run and was on a high from seeing everyone and talking races again, but I went and promised that I’d train for a spring marathon with people. Oh yeah…. Me last week: “This is so hard! I hate you for signing up for the Disney Marathon in January! I HATE YOU!!” And me last night: “You signed up for a spring marathon? Really? … Well I’ll do the training runs with you if you want.” The first comment was to my husband and the second was to a run team member. One of them was angry with me and one was super happy. Guess which one was which. But you know what? It’s great to have goals and accountability! And it’s even better to daydream what my fitness will be like in May when I start training for a fall marathon (maybe) if my fitness is already killer from training for a spring marathon (which I won’t be doing but just training with team for). It’s all very exciting.
And that’s kinda what you pay for when you do team training and sign up for coaching and all that. You pay for someone to inject excitement and accountability into your plans and dreams. Run teams can pull you out of your own head and make running fun again. Yesterday I paid money to make running fun again. It was worth every penny.