runs well with others -- sometimes

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Last Sunday, I ran the Kenwood Footrace 10K with Neveia and Ulysses. (Don't worry -- we didn't make the cat run with us.) The course was hilly as hell -- to the point where Ulysses was muttering four-letter expletives mid-way into the first climb -- and I was definitely far from a PR (finished in 1:02:07 and really couldn't have tried any harder -- my legs were maxed out), but we still had so much fun and celebrated with beer and a dip in the pool afterward.

Kenwood was just one example of how much I enjoy running with friends. Portland will not only be the second marathon for Neveia and me, but the second one we are running together. (And neither of us will ever forget the adventure that was CIM.) We started training together a few weeks ago and have been meeting on the weekends for long runs and even longer conversations. It's been absolutely wonderful. The miles go so much faster when you are chatting with a friend.

To get additional support and coaching for Portland, we recently signed up for a training group with Heart & Sole. The head coach is an ultramarathoner who has run Comrades and considers 10-milers to be "short runs." We figured we'd learn something from him!

Our first group run was tonight -- 3 x 3-minute intervals, with a 4-minute rest in between. The workout was good -- and I wasn't the slowest person in the bunch, which is a minor miracle -- but I have to say that the vibe is definitely different from the duo runs I've been doing with Neveia. Part of me feels like people are marking their territory -- trying to establish where they are speed-wise and experience-wise and make that known to the rest of the group. Since I am naturally competitive, I feel like I have to belly up too. It's a little weird, and I'm not sure I really like it.

Anyway, we'll be doing a 10-miler with the group Sunday morning. Hopefully I'll feel more comfortable and be able to tune out some of the swagger and focus on getting what I personally need out of the workout.

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