Monday, October 11, 2010
Running in packs...
This week, after weeks (or more like it - MONTHS) of neglecting my group, I went back for a run. The timing was right. I had guilt of not having shown up to their oh-so-early runs since June and more importantly they were running somewhere that was reported to be... FLAT! As someone who had 20 miles on the schedule this weekend, flat looked pretty good. I don't get a lot of flat around here. Not that we have mountain ranges as such but it is hard to avoid hilly runs in my area of town. Needless to say, we weren't running on my side of town.
The call of the early morning Saturday run is hard for me for a couple of reasons. I have tennis on Friday nights and my CSA pickup on Saturday AM. Luckily for me, the Friday night match was a quick one and I had chosen to skip my CSA pickup this week. (Side note, we have become so accustomed to our weekly veggie pick up that even veggie hatin' CR was a little horrified that we wouldn't have fresh cucumbers, tomatoes and other veggies this week). I would give up my CSA bag every week, or at least arrange for a different pick up day, if all my runs could be as effortless as it was this week.
I hopped in the car at 6 AM to head across town to the Alpharetta Greenway. It was about a 45 minute drive from my house but absolutely worth it. Most in the group were running from 6 to 8 miles that day so my plan was to run with the group for the first bit and then conquer the last 12 on my own.
If you live in the area, you have to check out this greenway. I have heard it can become crowded so I may have just hit it at a good time but it did not seem overly crowded to me at all. The path itself was made of concrete and was flat as promised. In fact, the only hills were slight inclines leading to bridges.
The first 6 miles were easy and done before I knew it. I managed to pick up a second group that was headed out for 8 more miles as I was finishing my first 6 which meant that I only had to run 6 miles on my own. By the time we looped back around and I hit the 14 mile mark, I only had 6 more to go which seemed like a breeze! I really did not feel tired at all until mile 19 which was a miracle considering the less than comfortable long runs I have had this summer. My legs were a little difficult to unfold from the car after the hour ride home but all in all I felt pretty good.
My takeaway from the day was never underestimate the value of running in groups. I was doubting my ability to get 20 miles in on my own and the group helped make it seem easy. I might even have to start showing my face on a regular basis ... Who needs fresh cucumbers? ;)