This post is dedicated to my friend Dre – my college teammate, suitemate, poolside “study” buddy, drunk razor scooter-riding partner and so much more. I tried to find a picture of us from those days, but alas, we’re of the elderly generation whose college shenanigans predate digital photography. Probably a good thing.
(From my wedding a few years later. No razor scooters involved.)
Anyway, this post is for Dre because now I have managed to insert myself in to not one but TWO track groups by following in her (very speedy) footsteps.
First, when I lived in NYC, it was her encouragement from afar that made me sack up and start going to CPTC practices. Dre had lived in the city right after we graduated college and had run with the club during her years as a New Yorker. Even though I was on the CPTC D Team (D is for derriere…as in, bringing up the rear), I met some pretty cool people that year that I lived there and ran with the team.
And second, here in Atlanta. Dre connected me with one of her friends who lives here and runs with a group that does weekly track workouts (among other things). Last Sunday night, I met up with Faith and her boyfriend John for gelato.
…which was much more fun than running. They’re also fairly new to Atlanta, so we had lots to chat about.
And then Tuesday, I joined their track group for their weekly workout.
In my last post where I begged (shamelessly, I might add) for all of you to tell me what to write about, Cindy suggested I talk about making local running friends. That’s a process that I’ve been through a few times now, having lived in six different states in the last ten years.
The easy answer is that you have a friend like Dre, who hooks your shit up.
The hard answer is that you research, and you go to different groups, and you try a bunch of things out, knowing full well that you’re going to show up to group runs and be the odd (wo)man out. No matter who you are, there are gonna be people faster than you and people slower than you. The worst thing that can happen is you can’t hang (embarrassing, but whatever, runners are nice people) or you end up doing a really easy run at a slower pace (no harm in that). And just because you go once doesn’t mean you’re committed. I’ve done my share of showing up at running groups and knowing pretty quickly that it wasn’t a good fit. No big deal.
The lucky answer is that you show up to your first track workout with a new group and find a bunch of people who are friendly, fun, and happen to be exactly your pace.
I got lucky this week. Those 800s and 400s were, of course, challenging, but I’d forgotten how nice is it just to tuck in to a pack and hang on. I haven’t experienced that since my CPTC days. It really does make track work easier. There is no way I would have gone out and run a 3:04 800 on my own.
(And I probably shouldn’t be out running 3:04 800s right now, given that I have a marathon to run in a week and a half…so I tried to slow it down, a little, but eh…it was easier just to stick with the group. Those 400s were fun!)
So: thanks, Dre. And thanks, Faith and John, for welcoming me in to your running community. (And also reader/commenter Lisa, who runs with the group as well!) I’m happy to be here.
Tonight, I headed out for a recovery run. The air was extra thick and muggy. When I got home and showered, I could see why.
There seems to be a massive storm brewing out there. Tucking in (to bed) and hanging on (to my wine glass)!