I'll admit (if I haven't already) I was extremely nervous to go to my first group run. Firsts like that make me sick to my stomach. Every first day of class makes me shaky even though I've taken enough classes to where that should have passed. But running groups are even worse. I fear I will be laughed at for not being elite enough.
That is never a problem with Team in Training. Everyone is so supportive! There are all levels of runners and walkers that no one feels left out. But driving down to that first run, I was shaking and felt sick too my stomach. I wasn't sure what to do or even if I would find the right group. Plus, that first day I was running a bit late so I got there at 5 after 7am instead of earlier like I'd planned. (I hate being late, I'd rather be early.)
The runs work pretty much the same for every Saturday. We meet at 7am (it will become 8am once we get to the taper before the full marathon). We find the coach with the clipboard and check in. Checking in and checking out help the coaches keep track of who is back from the run and who is still out on the path. No wo/man left behind! After we all check in we gather in a group for any announcements and for the Mission Moment.
The Mission Moment is where friends/family of patients and/or survivors tell their story. They are so sad and yet so uplifting to listen to. It's a strong way to start the run because we hear personal experiences and gain more insight into the cause. It makes the goal of finishing a run easier.
After the Mission Moment we break out into pace groups. The fastest runners head out first, 9 minute milers, 10 minute milers, 11, 12 and then anyone slower and finally the walkers (I don't think there are any walking-only participants in our group). We run along the lakeshore path which is beautiful even when it is gloomy outside. And it always seems to be breezy so even while the sun is beating down on us, the breeze is cooling. With the runs getting longer the coaches are beginning to set up water stations so we can keep hydrated. The good thing about this path is there are plenty of bathrooms! *laugh*
Teammates cheer each other on when they pass other TNT runners. It was a little bizarre to me at first because I'm not so extroverted but I can fully understand why the cheering helps push ahead. Because my cardio is so bad I tent to smile and wave or give a thumbs-up. I hope I can cheer with the best of them by the end of this experience! It makes me feel I can do this challenge when there are so many supportive people "with" me. And I must look happy while I am running because I've had people commenting on my cheerful disposition (they obviously can't hear me mentally cursing my choice of activity *laugh*).
When we finish our run for the day we once again look for the coach with the clipboard so we can checkout. There is also water, Gaterade and snacks offered. TNT takes good care of its runners! Recently one of the coaches have been having little stretching sessions to show us how to properly stretch our muscles after a workout. And there are also clinics scheduled. Last Saturday we had our Injury Prevention Clinic presented by a physical therapist from AthletiCo and this Saturday another physical therapist from there will present a Core Strengthening Clinic. Tuesday night there is a Nutrition Clinic at a Whole Foods in the city which I really should attend because of my vegetable issues before a run. I may just be doomed to having the dreaded trots before every run. *sigh*
So there you have it! That is what we do every Saturday, so far. So when you're still in bed at 8am on a Saturday morning, I'll be out on the path, sweating and breathing like my lungs are about to explode.
There is still time!! Please consider sponsoring me as I run the Chicago Distance Classic half marathon and the Bank of America Chicago marathon with Team in Training!
Thank you to my grandpa Will and Marie, Dr. Di and my sister-in-law Kath and brother-in-law Scott for donating!!