Misery Loves Company

Posted: January 23, 2012 in Motivation, Run, Training
Tags: , , , ,
  • Hill Run (click to see stats)
  • 7.49k (1:56:00)
  • Avg. Heart Rate = 144bpm
  • Max. Heart Rate = 166 bpm
  • Avg. Pace = 6:05/km
  • Best Pace = 3:54 /km
  • Calories = 698
  • Temp = 1º

So I was having a bit of a hard time motivating myself getting out the door this past Wednesday, when fate decided to intervene and lucky for me that it did.  It was a cold and windy evening to be sure; the kind of weather that would have most polar bears camped out in front of the fireplace warming their paws.  However, my coach (being the task master that she is) also had me scheduled for a 45-60 minute ‘hill workout’– fabulous!  But with the extreme temperatures going on that night, not to mention the fatigue still creeping in after Tuesday’s triad of punishment (1 hour run, 2 hour tempo ride, and an hour speed pool workout), well, let’s just say it was tempting to stay in and watch Steven Tyler eye-pork all the female contestants on American Idol instead.  But, again, that’s where fate stepped in.

This whole thing came together on Wednesday morning when I noticed that another friend, who has recently gotten into this whole mad running thing as well, posted to her Facebook page that she also had a hill workout planned with her running group for that evening.  Always the glutton for information and new training locations, I matter-of-factly messaged her inquiring about the location at which her group had planned to train.  Coincidentally, it was precisely where I had planned to run myself, up and down Mountain Rd. and Bradley Str. in Merritton.   What were the chances?  Then she dropped the bomb:  “want to join us?”

I will admit that it was with a little trepidation that I agreed to join this particular running group but, ultimately, I’m really glad I did.  You see, I’m one of those “solo” runners.  The type that views his run workouts as a chance to get inside his head and flush things out, whether they be happy thoughts, dark thoughts, or whatever else that happens to be sloshing around inside there.  In fact, this entire blogsite is largely a collection of those random mind droppings.  So running with others, apart from my coach, almost never enters my brain for serious consideration.  Furthermore, her running group also happened to be with the local branch of the Running Room.

Now, before anyone gets their running shorts all in a twist, I do appreciate and support the whole John Stanton community-based business model and I’ve participated in some of their events and even had the good fortune to take a pre-race whiz beside him at last years ‘Around the Bay 30k’ event, but let’s just say I’m not necessarily an admirer of the stores prices for shoes, shirts, as well as all the other “nice to have but totally not necessary”  trinkets and gizmos that I see other new runners falling victim into purchasing as crucial gear (I happen to be a minimalist runner); running is ‘big business’ it seems.  But, regardless, I was also a bit worried that I wasn’t going to find the quality of workout that I require with my own current Ironman training schedule.  But I also pledged this year (well, last year really…but I’m a slow starter) to spend more time encouraging others to successfully accomplish their own goals, so I agreed to give it a whirl.

Thankfully, I couldn’t have been more wrong about the quality of workout.  Amongst the half marathon group that I happened to join that evening there was a real mixed bag of athletes, from accomplished and seasoned distance runners to first-timer house wives; all just as determined to give it what for on the hills.  Everyone was encouraged to go at ‘their own pace’ while tackling the assigned workout.  Still being a bit in the dark as to everyone’s particular fitness level, I decided to join the slower runners in the back during the warm up and then quietly assess who I was running with and at what pace I should attack the workout since no one likes a show off, right?

The assigned group workout went something like this:  5 x “large hill”  @ tempo pace followed by 5 x “short hill”  @ sprint pace.  Whatever, my own ‘plan’ was to run hills until either everyone else in the group was done, or until I puked up a lung (which, thankfully, didn’t happen).  In the end, I managed to accomplish nearly 7 sets of the larger hill at a faster than normal tempo pace, where I practiced chasing down the other runners in the lead (because I love chasing), and then 13 sets of the short hill (10 of my own, and another 3 simply to encourage the others).

All in all, I really enjoyed myself.  I liked the feeling of assisting others and providing that added encouragement to keep going as I remember well that feeling of ‘what the fuck am I doing?’ that begins to cloud your judgment after a while.  Perhaps in the future, once my own Ironman adventure has been completed come September, I will even look into leading one of these running groups myself with the Running Room.  What the hell.

Misery loves company.

  1. Jeff says:

    I find it increasingly hard to believe you have even one single ounce of fat left on your body. You must really enjoy the ‘replenishing’ part of your day. 😉

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