The only time I’ve really run with a group before this past Saturday would have to have been during a race. Does that count as a group run? I mean the Philly Marathon was just me and 15 MILLION of my closest friends out for a run around town. Same in Chicago last year…and in Pomfret/Woodstock/Quechee VT and Hanover, NH, and on various ski areas in the upper valley this past winter. Doesn’t count? Well then…
This past Saturday I went for a run with Keith from the hospital and Mike and Dan from Upper Valley Trail Runners. I’ve seen Mike around at a few of the local trail races…dude is FAAAAST. Keith is about 6’4″ and likely weighs 170lbs soaking wet. Dan is average build, but FAST.
I’d run on the trails we used many times before, but as it turned out not in the sequence that we ran on saturday. the dudes took OFF right from the start. Planned were 2 x a 6 ish mile loop Up, up, up, down a little, across, up, up, across, then down back to the cars. Half way up the second UP…i was done. I tried really hard to keep up; i just didn’t have it in me. Why not?
Here’s where i think things broke down for me:
1) I tried to stay TOO CLOSE to the guy in front of me.
2) Because of this, i tried very hard to match his stride. not just the pace/turnover, but the actual foot placement, too.
3) I had on one too many t shirts (or at least shouldn’t have started with sleeves). i got too hot too fast.
4) I slept poorly the night before. Ok. maybe not. I dunno. i don’t sleep well MOST nights, so this seems like a gimme.
I’ve noticed that I get trapped by numbers 1 and 2 (NOT to be confused with a Number Two) during races, too. I’ll latch onto someone and before i know it i am trying to stay in step with them rather than just keep up. After I figure this out and just run my own turnover and foot placement, I can usually settle into a good groove and keep up better. This did not happen on saturday. Soon the hills were chewing me up and spitting me out. Keith was decent enough to circle back and make sure that i made the right turns at intersections. i kept apologizing for slowing the group down, and they were cordial enough to try to convince me that the pace didn’t matter; it was just great to be on the trails so early on a saturday. (yes, i know that this is code for “duuuuuuude. yer slow.”
I survived ONE loop and then stopped. We chatted for a few minutes at the cars before they went back onto the trails and I headed on my way. All in all it was a good experience. We chatted about past races, crashes, shoe laces and tying, and upcoming running plans. Would I do it again? Yes. I’d be more comfortable if there were more people so that i wasn’t the ONLY slow one, but it was nice to be pulled along the trails.
Thanks, Upper Valley Trail Runners!!!