Last week’s run club was pretty special to me, but I was afraid to write about it before it happened in case I jinxed anything. I got to lead the beginner group for the first time! I’ve been going to run club since March, and I usually tag along with the “experienced” group. Several weeks ago during one of our runs, Rachel mentioned that they were looking to find some new run club leaders from the community. I dorkily shot my hand up as we were running down Dwight Hill and said “ooo me! I would LOVE to lead a run!” I knew I couldn’t lead the experienced group; we have some seriously speedy and awesome runners who come out every week, and I just couldn’t do them justice. But we also have a beginner group that runs a shorter distance at a more moderate pace, and I knew it would be so much fun to run with them.
For the last several weeks I’ve been running along with the beginner group and Katherine, who has been planning and leading the runs. Katherine was away last week (and we missed her!) but I got to plan and lead the run. We had about 12 brave souls running with us, and they totally kicked butt. I’d planned an out and back route on purpose, so I could easily adjust our distance. The prior week we’d run a seriously hilly 3.75 miles, and I knew this group could take 4 miles if we were having a good night.
When we were 1.5 miles out I took a quick group poll about whether we should head back for an even 3, or keep pushing forward to the 2 mile turn around. Nearly everyone voted to keep on going, and so we ran on to the 2 mile turn around. We had a great group, including some speedy folks taking an easy day and a girl who hadn’t run in years but was keeping a friend company. Everyone did a great job! Now that it’s getting dark earlier, I was a little more nervous about losing people.
When I run with the experienced group, especially when we go up into the hills, I’m sometimes the person falling off the back of the run, reassuring the leader that I can find my way back to the store, and not to worry about me. I’ll think twice about doing that to the other leaders from now on! I would have been concerned about leaving someone out there in the dark. I’ll be bringing my coolest bike light, neon shirt and head lamp to future runs.
I got to talk to nearly everyone, and we had someone who had just run the Nike Women’s half, someone who had just run Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose, and several people for whom 4 miles was a PDR (personal distance record). That’s one of the things that I love about our run club. We have a whole range of abilities, from a 5:20 miler to people just starting out, but everyone is enthusiastic and encouraging, no matter where you are in achieving your running goals.
If you’re in the Berkeley area, come out and run with us! We meet at the Berkeley Lululemon store every Wednesday at 6:00 PM; all are welcome!