One of the things I love about running (other than allowing me to eat tasty high calorie foods with wild abandon) is that it is an individual and group sport…at the same time. Most of the runners I know aren’t running to beat other people, they are running to beat themselves. Reaching towards your goal alongside others doing the same creates a certain energy in the air. I recently joined a running group at the urging of my friend S. I was reluctant but walked by a sign for a group sponsored by a local running shoe store that is jogging distance from my house. In LA, if you want to do anything during rush hour (basically 7a-10a, and/or 12p-7p), this can be a crucial factor. I decided to try it out and after a few weeks, I was a convert. Even though I am usually at the back of the pack and sometimes run by myself for stretches, I am not running alone. Therein lies the difference. We start as a group and end as a group, hydrating and chatting after the last runner has come in; sometimes there are even raffles. Running with the fast kids usually shaves 20 seconds off my regular solo mile pace–I’m usually trying to hustle back to the store so I don’t miss the raffle!
Today, I was trying to best my 10K PR in the LA Chinatown Firecracker 10K. I missed my mark by 40 seconds but I couldn’t help thinking that a year ago, running this race seemed impossible, physically and mentally. So to be out there again with S, in perfect running weather, enjoying Elysian Park, was a personal best. And just about 10K times better than forty seconds.
Oh and S, if you’re reading this, next time I will NOT let you confiscate my Garmin! You owe me another 10K :)