Remember the first day of school at
some point in your growing-up years?
You kind of wandered around, looking a bit lost, not knowing anyone, yet needing to ask for help. Remember how lonesome and awkward you felt? You wondered where the restrooms were, who you would sit with for lunch, if and when you'd make friends. You wondered if you'd fit in, if the other kids would like you. Scary times.
Well, that was me this morning.... the first day of Marathonfest group training. Mr. BlackBerry alarm chimed at 3:45 a.m. (who gets up at this hour??), but it didn't need to. I was already awake, ready to get started with the newest experience on this crazy journey of mine.
I had laid out my clothes and gear the night before, so it was just a matter of throwing clothes on and doing the usual routine: check blood sugar level, wash face, brush teeth, hair up, barrettes in, hat on... I headed to the kitchen for a small something to hold me over 'til I returned, along with two sips of coffee. Never anymore than that before I run! Otherwise, I might really run, if you know what I mean! Eeewww! Sorry. Momentary lapse into middle school thinking... happens sometimes out of the blue. On a race day, the meal is more substantial, but on a typical Tuesday morning, it's 1/3 of a banana and 3/4 cup of milk. I'm a diabetic. Running empty is not an option.
By 4:20, I was out the door. I like the quiet of predawn, before the urban hustle and bustle begins. The newspaper man was climbing out of his old white van, lumbering to the corner box, a taxi waited for someone to emerge from our building, probably to the airport. Urban living. I love it!
It's just 3 1/2 miles to the school where our groups* were to meet. I hit every red light between our place and the school... *every*single*light. Do you stop and wait for the red lights at that hour? Who will know? There wasn't another car in sight. I waited.
By 4:30, I was pulling into the bus loop. There were already a few dozen cars there, runners stretching, changing, chatting, and heading out to warm up. First day of school.
I parked, checked my BB one more time; Lauren, my local running/blogging buddy was already here, but I had no idea where. "White top, pink shorts, no phone," she texted. First day of school with one friend who will be in a different* class.
As gaggles of runners headed out to warm up on this already oppressively humid morning, I braved it and asked someone about where the groups meet, and oh, are there restrooms? Newbie questions. First day of school. She was nice, answered my questions, introduced herself, and sent me on my way. Thanks, Leslie. :-)
I wandered. No open restrooms. FAIL. Still really dark and hard to see the ground well. FAIL. Hot and humid as he**. NORMAL. Ran into Lauren a few minutes later. We had matching expressions: lost! We read the white board set up with directions for today's speedwork. What does that stuff mean?? Um, clueless. 4 x what? How many times? And so it went...
A few minutes later, with a few (more) questions answered, we went our separate ways. See, Lauren and I will be "attending the same school," but in "different classes" this season.
More on this to follow.... In a nutshell:
1. I felt like a different kind of runner this morning. Connected. Part of a group with a common purpose/focus. As Leslie said, "Hey, you're here at 4:30 am. You showed up." She had a point. I've felt this connection race days, but with a whole lot of anxiety thrown in for good measure. None of that today... simply connectedness. This was really, really cool.
2. I met a few people and *actually talked briefly while running* ~ a few times. People, that's HUGE for me!!!
3. I learned some things* about pace and intervals. *More later on this...
4. I was hungry even before we started to run. I began to 'bottom out' pretty quickly. Didn't expect this to happen, since I often run 2 - 3 miles in the morning, but outdoor running is more challenging and I was having a 'hungry day' today (which lasted for hours after the run!). Since I didn't have anything to nosh on, this was going to be problematic, and was my only anxiety once I found my 'class.' In fact, it cost me an extra mile I could've run with a few gals after the group run. I needed to get home to eat. NOTE TO SELF: Take food/water every time!
There's more to tell, and I'm deliberately leaving details out, with more to share by the weekend. Lauren and I are in this together, with different 'teachers,' but look forward to comparing our experiences along the way, including today, as soon as 'class' was over. We took a lap around the track and talked. Awesome. And eye opening.
Turns out, we had very different experiences.... each of us on our own journey, but sharing some common ground. I'm thrilled that we will be doing this together and even have a third local blogging/running buddy, Kitzzy, a training group veteran, who will be joining us.
Oh, by the way: I learned LOTS of people (apparently) get up at that crazy hour... there were probably 150 - 200 people out there this morning.
Stay tuned for more details in upcoming posts....
- Where do I belong?
- What not to wear(!) ... classic newbie error
- The afternoon crash
- High Maintenance Martha
- All shapes and sizes
- New running lingo
- Zen vs. Technical: What does it mean?
Happy running, friends.....
Own your journey. One run at a time.