No, this is not a promo to go get yourself a Prius. I had a dilemma this morning....meet the group for a hilly trail run, or get in my regular long run as planned. I love getting to run with other people when the opportunity presents itself-especially when I knew there would be several ladies there who were me two years ago, doubtful that they were ready to train for a half marathon after their first 5K's. That said, I raced four weekends in a row and really wanted Sunday off.
When I started running and training, I was totally rigid to checking off workouts on the schedule. I don't think this was bad at all at the time-it kept me going and ensured that I would follow through to my first half marathon. That said, I'm in it for the long haul now and don't worry about splitting hairs like I used to. Besides, I need hill work for all three of my big fall races, and this was a chance for that. I opted for having my cake and eating it too, creating a hybrid run with 3.5 miles of trail with the group, and then heading three minutes down the hill to the riverfront trail to do a 9 mile loop there.
It turns out that this wacky mish-mash of a hybrid run was a great idea. I am weak (wait...let's not do that stereotypical female putting down of one's self...I am PROGRESSING) on trails, and it was a great chance to take my time with others who were new to anything on a trail. Besides the ladies who have already been running, we had one there who had recently had the "I want/need to get in shape" moment. She said she'd run a grand total of one 5K, and finished last after her race companion dropped out, but she didn't care. I remember how intimidated I was at my first group run two years ago and how I almost didn't go because I had this misperception that people were going to look down on me for being new and slow, even though I've since found that nearly all runners, male and female, tend to be very accepting and welcoming of others joining the sport. Hopefully, we didn't beat her too much over the head with the "great job-stick with it! It just gets easier as you go," but she did seem to appreciate it and get that we all start in about the same place.
After the trail run, I headed down for my loop. At first, it felt relatively easy compared to the hilly scrabble and scree I'd just run over. Somewhere around mile ten, though, I hit that point where I thought, "yeah, I'm tired. I could be done now." That's the great thing about loop routes-the only way back was completing the loop, so I sucked it up and finished--and it really wasn't that bad. While I may think about a three to four mile super easy recovery tomorrow, I'm feeling good about having absolutely nothing scheduled tomorrow. I kind of thrive on being go-go-go, but it's nice every once in awhile to just hang out and do nothing in particular.