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The "Slap in the Face" Group Run – Geek Turned Athlete

The “Slap in the Face” Group Run

This weekend was my first group run with these ladies

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Yes, I know I signed up a few weeks ago, but I’ve been really intimidated to start running with them. Don’t they look hardcore?

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Um, yes! After emailing back and forth with the team a couple of times, I asked what their average pace was for group runs on the weekends. I was assured not to worry since there were different running levels within the team, and that the slowest was at a 9 min/mile pace on Saturdays. I thought to myself: Okay, I can hang at a 9 min/mile pace for an hour. Nevermind that my average pace since last September has been around a 9:15-10 min/mile pace depending on the ice. Ha!!

I got a little burned out after my Half Ironman with hardcore training if you are new blog. Last year was a crazy one!

Anyhoo, the meetup this Saturday was about a 10 minute jog from my house so I decided to strap on cleats and jog on over there instead of driving. I was REALLY nervous. My stomach was up in my throat.

Were these girls going to like me?

Was I going to be the last person running?

How far were they planning on going for the day? I only wanted to run about 6 miles, not 10, not 20.

What if I was soooo slow, that they had to kick me off the team?

I was basically having a nervous breakdown about 10 minutes before I left my house. Then, I remembered that this was the year of “No Fear.” I told myself to snap out of it, and just do it. The 10 minute warm-up run to the meetup place/house wasn’t a bad thing either. I was so worried about being late that I was sprinting. I didn’t have time to worry about what was going to happen once I got there.

When I got there, I was fine. All the girls formed a circle and introduced themselves (I wasn’t the only newbie), and then we discussed who was running what distances, and we headed outside. There were maybe 12 girls? Maybe more? Everyone was really nice! I, of course, was talking my head off. That is what I do when I am a) nervous b) excited or c) drunk. I wasn’t the last one, but I was definitely the first 2. I was like an excited chihuahua who couldn’t stop barking. A little ridiculous.

Adrenaline definitely took over my body the first couple of miles to help me get through the very uncomfortable pace. Then, I started to notice the VERY uncomfortable pace. My legs had not moved this fast since, hmmm, I don’t know, 4 months ago?

Even though I had brought my garmin, I hadn’t reset it from the last run. At the pace we were going and the fact that I was STILL talking (and my breathing sounded like a freight train), I couldn’t concentrate enough to reset the device so I had no clue how fast or how long we had gone so far.

By now, there were only 4 girls left in the back. I was one of them. And I was hurting. My legs were yelling, “WTF are you doing to us?!! We are used to stopping ever so often so the dog can sniff around!” and my lungs were just giving me the silent treatment by making me feel like I was suffocating. The fastest group would run ahead, then loop back around to “sweep” us up, then run ahead again. They did this to make sure that we didn’t get lost, but I felt a little piece of my ego chip away with every single loop they made.

haha. A little dramatic right? But it was just a tad demoralizing. And it was the slap in face that I needed to make me realize that I have been slacking just a tad with my running workouts.

We finally made the turnaround (just the 4 of us), and I managed to survive the rest of the way back to the meetup house. The rest of the group was running at about a 7 to 7:30 min/mile pace for about 10 miles (some were doing 20 that day). About 5 minutes from the house, I asked the one of the girls if we were going to cool down or if this was supposed to be our “slowest run” that we didn’t need a cooldown. She answered with the latter. HA!

When we made it back to the house, we were greeted with snacks. We all talked some more and waited for the other girls to show up. It ended up being a great morning. The group is really friendly, and I know this is just what I need to take my running to the next level!

Wondering what the “slowest group,” aka my group, was running? 8:15 min/miles for 7 miles!! Did I mention that there were HILLS too? Lots! And I was talking most of the time. I guess that I wasn’t as out of shape as I thought, but I haven’t been pushing with my running the way I should be.

And do you want to know what else? I’m going back for more next weekend! Track workouts start in February, and I’m sure that there will be some good workouts if this is suppose to be our “slow” long run of the week.

Any group workouts this weekend? Do you ever pleasantly surprise yourself with your abilities?

{ 26 comments… add one }

  • lindsay January 24, 2011, 9:58 am

    gotta love that pressure, its good for us, right? WIsh I was there to join you. THey look tough!
    lindsay recently posted..Spice my Life

  • Kelly January 24, 2011, 10:05 am

    The running group I used to belong to had really fast people that I could never hang with. Fortunately for me there were a lot of people at my pace and several that were slower too. I’m a pretty slow runner (I think so anyway) and marathon training made me even slower, so I totally know where you’re coming from. I’m making a point to concentrate on speedwork and tempo runs this time around. Good luck increasing your speed! :)
    Kelly recently posted..Out to lunch

  • Abby January 24, 2011, 10:10 am

    You’re so hard on yourself! I think that’s why you’re in such good shape! Good for you for going out there and joining them! You are always such an inspiration!
    Abby recently posted..Just One of Those Things

  • Toronto Girl West January 24, 2011, 10:23 am

    Those girls look fierce – in the best way possible!

    Truth be told, I find their name alone intimidating. But I’m not fast. You on the other hand are fast and you can be even better!!! So I’m all for you joining this team – tap into all that potential! πŸ˜‰

    Besides, maybe if you keep running with them you can be in the next calendar. And I can buy one and tell everyone you’re my amiga! lol
    Toronto Girl West recently posted..Weekend Highlights and a Training Update

    • Nicole January 24, 2011, 10:30 am

      haha! I need to get my 6 pack abs back for that!

      You have potential too!! I didn’t start off this fast! πŸ˜‰

      • Toronto Girl West January 24, 2011, 6:09 pm

        Colour me intrigued! πŸ˜‰

        When did you start running? How did you get fast?
        Toronto Girl West recently posted..Weekend Highlights and a Training Update

        • Nicole January 24, 2011, 6:12 pm

          I started running in 2002. I was running 11 min/miles. At first, I went for distance. I couldn’t even run a mile when I started. Then, I slowly started working on speed. Just keep running. It will come… πŸ˜‰

  • Erica January 24, 2011, 10:28 am

    whoop whoop! What a challenging run! I’m so glad you went. That is totally one of those experiences that you freak out during and then love afterwards. Soon enough you will be moving your way up in the group- I know it!

    • Nicole January 24, 2011, 10:30 am

      Let’s hope so!! πŸ˜‰

  • Melie January 24, 2011, 11:00 am

    They do look hardcore! But you are quite a badass too, so I guess you are even! Last week for one of the short runs of the marathon team, I somehow managed to find myself in a group comprised of 7 guys whose “slow pace” was 7ish minute miles. I wish I could say I even kept eye contact with them but alas, I quit even trying after the second mile.

  • Sarah for Real January 24, 2011, 11:09 am

    Yowza! Way to go! I need to find me a granny running group to join… they’d probably be closer to my pace with their hip replacements and walkers.

    I do think it’s incredible how our bodies can actually do so much more than what we usually think. This reminds me that I need to push harder in my workouts.

  • Jess January 24, 2011, 11:35 am

    Damn girl! I’d have been super nervous too! But look at you – rising to the challenge as usual annnd going back for more! That’s how it’s done!!
    Jess recently posted..STS – that’s a wrap!

  • Michelle January 24, 2011, 11:48 am

    Wow. Wow. First, good for you in embracing the year of “no fear.” And running with that group is going to make you a speed demon, no doubt. cannot wait to hear about your progress!!!!

  • Mike January 24, 2011, 12:13 pm

    All I am saying is great work. I think you have even more speed in you yet. This group is going to help you fly…
    Mike recently posted..How an Ice Bath Can be a Great Training Tool

  • Mike January 24, 2011, 12:14 pm

    And can I say I love the new look. I almost thought I got the wrong blog. Pure awesomeness.
    Mike recently posted..How an Ice Bath Can be a Great Training Tool

  • Andy January 24, 2011, 2:06 pm

    Yeah, we are a little bit sick sometimes. We get a butt kicking from group workout, love it, and come back next week asking for more :) Glad you had a good time with your new group. BTW, after spending the better part of the week in Spokane for IMCDA, love that city!
    Andy recently posted..One Step Forward- Two Steps Back

  • Marie C. January 24, 2011, 3:50 pm

    I am always afraid to run with other people too. I need more confidence!
    Marie C. recently posted..Running from the LAPD

  • Pure2raw twins January 24, 2011, 4:35 pm

    WOW girl way to hang in there, you did awesome. I could not do this, one reason I could never run with a group. I am a “baby” when it comes to running, I would not be allowed in this elite running group. But glad it was a good experience for you and that everyone was nice :)

  • Tanya January 24, 2011, 6:26 pm

    Seriously awesome job!!! I’m a bit of a baby when it comes to my running pace – really scared to challenge myself too much.
    Tanya recently posted..Its Monday What Are You Reading &amp Monday Musing

  • heidi @ runaroundaroo January 24, 2011, 7:02 pm

    Apparently the pressure of other speedy runners has its benefits! Great job at keeping up with the pace – I don’t think I would have been able to do it!

  • Rose January 25, 2011, 8:47 am

    Holy cow! That’s a serious pace! My pace is somewhere in the double digits for anything over 5 miles. LOL. It’s soooo good to run/bike/swim with those faster than you! Nerve wracking, especially when you know you’re not the fastest (I’m often the slowest). I always try to remind myself that I’m only competing with ME. Keep it up girl!!

  • Heather January 25, 2011, 9:30 am

    Wow – congrats on sticking with it and finishing! This is why I love running with groups, friends, basically anyone faster than me. :)
    Heather recently posted..Icicles In My Hair

  • Stephanie @ The Cookie Battle January 25, 2011, 10:33 am

    I tried a running group last summer and they were all MUCH faster than me, they had to run slower than their usual pace to just stay with me. very demoralizing. I never went back :(

    • Nicole January 25, 2011, 10:44 am

      Have you been working on your speed so you can go back since last summer?

  • Samantha @ Health, Happiness & Skinny Jeans January 25, 2011, 1:33 pm

    I think I would love a running group because it just seems easier to run with people. Mind you I would curl up and die if the pace was sub 9min/mile unless the run was one mile lol :)

  • Jena January 26, 2011, 10:00 am

    Yowsa, that is quick when you were planning on hanging around 9:00min/mile.

    I run with a group sometimes. I’m very intimidated by their speediness. I’ve only been a few times and I’ve run by myself every time. I’m pretty shy when it comes to big groups. I plan on going this weekend, so maybe this will be the movitation I need to step up and actually run with one of the groups. It’s a big group, like 30+ people, so there are quite a few smaller groups. AH, scary!


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