While shopping at Mountain Equipment Coop (Mec) recently, I noticed their listing for a group run on Saturdays on their community board. I’ve been thinking about joining a group on the weekends as the weather gets colder because I know I’m going to need the extra motivation when winter really sets in. As I’ve mentioned, this will be my second winter running outdoors and I’m not sure what to expect in Calgary. So, having some people to “suffer” through winter with might actually be helpful. 🙂
I was a little nervous going to this running group because I actually haven’t ran with a group in about 5 years. There was approx 2 years in there when I hated running and didn’t do it, and then the rest I have been self-motivating and running alone. I’m proud of what I have done on my own, but last winter I did face some mental challenges and I believe it would have been nice to commiserate with people in person about this tough season. I’m thankful I had people cheering me on and being supportive through Twitter, but I think there’s just that little extra when you are able to gather together and give each other a push in person.
So, on Saturday I went to my first run group in years and really enjoyed it! I showed up a little too early and the store wasn’t open yet, so I was pacing and freezing outside the front of the store while I waited. I’m hardly ever early for anything, so this amused me. While I waited, slowly more people started to show up and a very nice gal introduced herself to me, which made me feel welcome right away. Everyone seemed cheerful and welcoming, which you don’t always get with run groups. The run leader (Josh) was this hilarious guy who seems to have way too much energy on a Saturday morning. He made everyone in the group feel welcome and got us all laughing while doing warm-ups and stretching. In this group there were all levels of paces and I mostly ran somewhere in the middle. Parts of the route I was on my own, but it was nice and I didn’t feel left out. We ran a route I normally wouldn’t do on my own (huge hill) and then did a round of the Memorial Street stairs, which was very challenging for my first time. I can see why people are training on these stairs constantly, definitely a good workout! Once we were up in Crescent Heights the views were STUNNING!! I actually took a few moments to walk and snap a pic so that I could take in the beauty and peacefulness of the morning. During the run I had great chats with a couple of different runners and enjoyed sharing running stories with each other. We ended up running about 7.25K and I enjoyed every minute of it.
Afterwards a couple of us went to a local coffee shop (Bumpy’s) and chatted away for about an hour about running, winter, etc. It was really nice to get out and meet some fellow runners and I look forward to doing this again. While living in Toronto I didn’t meet great running friends until close to leaving, which I regret now. This time around, I’d like to get out there, meet people, and be part of a community. Really looking forward to joining this group again… and who knows, maybe I’ll lead my own run group someday. A girl can dream! 🙂