The Scribbler

6 October 2011

First club run

Filed under: run — The Scribbler @ 18:41
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I hope they didn’t think I was showing off. I stretched my legs out as we picked up speed down a hill and got my breath back ready to go again as we waited for all the group to catch up together. It was a still evening, not yet cold and I just wanted to feel the air on my face and let my legs go.

Kathryn, who has encouraged my running since the very early days when 2 miles non stop was enough to set me bouncing all afternoon, had kindly given me a lift and introduced me to her lively and friendly club, Wallsend Harriers.

‘Do you know Swan hill?’ asked Terry, leading the group. And one of the girls grimaced, ‘First time out and you’ve got the hardest session.’

A long slope ahead, up to the traffic lights. Not so steep as the local hill I very occasionally run, but more often cycle. Six sprint repeats, chasing a lead runner, making them work hard.

I dig in and power up on the tail of the leader. Pause at the top for a breather, then jog back down. And again.

Terry shouts ‘Use your arms, use your upper body!’ And I know I have that advantage, so I power on, using the downhill jog to recover and getting set for the next explosion of speed.

I’m consistently near the front, never quite catching the lead runner, but always finding the power for another blast. This is fun. I can’t remember when I last sprinted other than the end of a race.

The last push right from the bottom, a pause for breath and then we’re off again, running towards a new battleground.

Keeping a steady even pace up a longer shallower incline, I feel the rewarding tug on my calves that tells me I’ve worked hard.

A dimly lit industrial space. Battle lines drawn facing each other. As the first runner approaches we sprint across no man’s land. Another six rounds blasted out, fast. Race face on.

And then a gathering and a run back to our base, sharing running experience and comparing performances. Mixing it up with a couple of fast blasts.

It’s nice to get the well dones and encouragement to come back as the three groups meet up and we stretch by the car park barriers. There’s even an invitation to cross-country race this weekend.

It’s been fun. And definitely mixed up my training a bit. Would I have run sprint or hill repeats on my own? Maybe. But I wouldn’t have been chasing someone else. The scent of competition spurred me on.

I surprised myself at what I could tackle, not having any expectations or knowing what was coming. It was a tough run workout, but I’ve worked harder in my PT sessions.

That made me realise I take my fitness for granted. It’s just me, what I do. When I’m training, I like to focus and get on with it. I expect to train hard.

As the nights and early morning’s grow darker, it makes sense to run with company and with other faster runners around me, this could be a great way to improve. They’re a friendly bunch and very encouraging, celebrating their recent winners’ success with pride.

So yes, I’ll be back to try out the club again to see if that’s my next step.

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