A few months ago, my employer formed a Wellness committee ( wp.me/p1N36Q-63
) to bring together people who had an interest in making our workplace healthier. I’ve mentioned before that I think my company is pretty good about paying attention to employee wellness, and this is just another example of support they provide. I joined the committee in the hopes I might find others who share my passion for (Read: torture themselves through) running, and partnered with a co-worker to start a workplace running club. We’re going for our first run as a club on Monday.
The problem is that I have no idea how a running club should operate. Is it as simple as just showing up with a pair of sneakers and hitting the road? I remembered looking into another local running club when I was in training for my first half-marathon last year, and thought it might be fun to join them for their weekly Saturday morning 8am canal trail runs.
I never really had the courage to show up, however. Having an anxiety disorder means I don’t seek out social situations alone. I worried about not being able to keep up with the group or maintain conversation (gotta save the breath for 7+ miles). I knew these things were silly, but always used them as excuses to stay in bed a little longer on Saturday mornings and just hit the treadmill at the gym instead.
I made the decision to finally check it out this week so that I could see what they do and try to emulate it for my own club on Monday. I talked to my husband last night about joining me and he agreed – with some hesitancy. So when it was time to go at 7:30 this morning and he wasn’t vertical enough to hit the trail with me, I thought about chickening out and going to the gym instead.
But I knew I’d be disappointed in myself. It would also be a waste of a beautiful morning (65 and sunny – perfect running weather).
So I did it. When I pulled into the parking lot at the meeting spot and saw 30+ people mingling about, warming up, etc, I considered turning around, but gave myself a quick pep talk (“Nicole, you’re already here, you made it this far, you are just here to run like everyone else, no big deal”). I noticed a lack of headphones, so I left mine in the car. Although I learned I *can* run without music when I did the American Odyssey Relay ( wp.me/p1N36Q-6l
) back in April, I generally prefer having it for the extra motivation. I had my iPhone with me and figured if I got left behind in the dust at any point, I could always just put the music on anyway through the speakers.
At 8:00 on the dot, one of the group leaders made some quick announcements (other runs happening during the week, races coming up, a pool party at one of the runners’ houses next week) and then asked for newcomers to the group to raise their hands. I was relieved to see there were 5 other newbies, all brave enough to show up alone. We made quick introductions and then the run was on!
I’m so happy I went – got my run out of the way early, met some nice people, and pushed myself a little bit harder than I would have if I were running alone. I will definitely go back next week if the weather is looking good. Things I’ll need to keep in mind, though:
1. Warm Ups – The club does NOT do a group warm up. I’ll have to get there earlier next time… hoping my muscles won’t be too angry with me.
2. Hang Back – I was standing near the start of the route when the club took off, which meant I felt compelled to keep up with the faster runners very early on at a pace that was much too speedy for me. I was pretty beat for the last half of my run. I think I’ll go with the back of the pack next time.
3. Alone Time – At about 2-3 miles in, a large segment of the club turns around and heads back. I needed to keep going, as my goal was to get 7-8 miles completed – but I was too slow for those who were going further. I did hit 7.5 miles, but I was by myself for the second half. So I had no shame in breaking out my iPhone and playing “Gangnam Style” for the rest of my run. Hopefully the runners on the trail I passed on my way back didn’t mind the noise, but perhaps I should bring my headphones along in the future.