I’ve always wanted to find a good running group that was convenient for me here in DC. I had a great experience running with a group in Miami (read about that here) and was hoping to find a good group here at home. I stumbled across the DC Captial Striders and decided to join a group run near my home. It turns out there is a group that meets Mondays and Wednesdays at 6:30am about 7 blocks from my house. I figured I’d give it a shot and see if I liked it.
I woke up at 6am, threw on my gear and headed up to the park where the group would meet. I have to admit, I was a little nervous. I was worried about speed and if I’d be the slowest person in the group. As it turns out, I was, but it was totally okay! I arrived to find a group of about 7 or 8, a few ladies and a few gents. The group went around and introduced themselves but I’m bad with names so I forgot everyone’s name except a couple. It was decided we’d do a national mall loop and of course (because I’m me and can’t get out of my head, ever), I started panicking about the hill that you have to run up to get back to our starting point. I’ve spent the past two years living on Cap Hill and avoiding the heck out of that hill and now I was going to have to run it with strangers? Eek!
We started off running super fast – like a 9:xx minute mile. I was nervous because I knew I probably couldn’t keep that up comfortably for more than a couple of miles. However, we quickly broke off into two groups and settled into a 10 minute mile pace. As we got closer to the Capitol on our way back, I began dreading the hill. Here is a link to the route we took — it’s not exact, but based on my Nike+ app I think it’s pretty close. You can see the elevation for yourself, but honestly it felt like this:
We made it up the hill and then cruised back to our starting point. I was actually really happy with our pace, which at 10 minute miles exactly, was a bit faster than I would’ve gone by myself, but perfect because I want to become faster. I was also glad to discover that even though, I was the slowest, Lindsay (the group leader) stuck with me the entire way. I was also pleasantly surprised that I was able to talk (a little bit) and not die. Luckily, Lindsay can talk and be just fine so I just chimed in with one or two word responses here and there. I definitely plan on joining the group again next week.
Do you run with groups or solo? Do you incorporate hills in your runs? Clearly, I avoid them like the plague!