When I started running one of its appeals was the solitary nature. Morning runs allowed me work through issues and plan the day while bathed in golden light. A good run often set the tone for the day. I often use post-work runs to destress. Knocking off a few miles after a rough day is cheaper than therapy.
I’ve tailored runs to my work schedule, a late-morning start time allowed me squeeze in five or six miles. Finishing up early meant a twilight run and more than once I’ve headed out for a few miles in light-falling snow when a blizzard was in the forecast.
Upon joining a team most of my runs were still solo, or maybe with Esther. I showed up for on race day, posted my times, scored a few team points when I could and went home. That changed at last year’s Cherry Tree 10 Miler.
Showing up unprepared with pre-race butterflies swirling more than usual, I spotted another blue and silver singlet with a big Q on the back — just like mine. It was Myrian. Myrian and I knew each other on a quick hello and goodbye basis. Since we both were equally unprepared we ran the rolling 10 mile course together dragging each other up Prospect Park’s hill three times.
Last season I decided to become a more social teammate, joining weekend long runs, track workouts and hill repeats. Socialization took time — group running is about compromise. What route, what pace, and what time are we starting?
I quickly learned who was chatty — running 10K tempo runs while maintaining a non-stop dialogue. I learned the teammates who ran a twenty miler barely uttering two words. We also learned we were chasing Esther during recovery runs if she stopped at Starbucks for a Chai Tea Latte first.
While I still run solo, group runs have made me stronger. It’s hard to bail on a run after you said you would be there or posted it on the team Facebook page. It’s harder to sneak in a walk break or two if as part of a group.
This week served as reinforcement, with a calendar of races I met Reggie, another teammate at the track for a tempo run Wednesday night. On a damp and ugly night, where I might have bailed for an evening of channel surfing we clicked off seven miles. Turning laps in a rolling fog, and getting stronger as we went, we put up negative splits. Yes I can get used to this team running.