What was it Groucho Marx said? 'I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members'. Well, I’ve joined a running club. I don't think they're all that choosy about their membership, to be honest, but I've joined anyway.
Saying that I've joined a club sounds a bit grand… when in fact all it is really is a free thing organised by the branch of Sweatshop that sits inside the gym where I go swimming. Two or three times a week, they get people together of all different age groups and abilities and we all go out for a run. There’s a beginners group, designed to take people up from about 2 miles to about 5 miles over several weeks, and there’s an improvers group. We do a little warm-up, get told the route and then everyone runs at their own pace and no one gets left behind. That’s it.
I do a fair bit of running already, of course…. Anyone who is lucky enough to be my friend on Facebook can tell you that much as the only posts I ever put up there are the ones that my running application posts automatically…. But I’ve been feeling recently that I’m a bit stuck in a rut: I run the same routes; the same distances at about the same pace every time; on top of that, I feel like I’m getting lazy: I’ve cut down the running that I’m doing at work from about 4 miles a session to about 3.25 miles and I’ve started making excuses to myself about the problems I’ve been having with my knee, my fatigue, the dragging of my left leg and so on and so forth.
It’s just not good enough and I wanted to shake things up a bit. I don’t want to be making excuses, I want to be pushing myself.
So I joined the running club.
I’ve been twice this week, and instead of the 6 or 7 miles I would have managed in total if I was following my normal routine, I’ve done 11 miles… a 5 miler on Monday and 6 miles on Wednesday, on each occasion running further and slightly faster than I would have done on my own. It’s hard work, but it’s also fun. They’re a friendly bunch, and it’s good to be running around other people who you can use to help keep your pace up or as a target to overhaul. Yeah, I'm tired all the time... but at least it's a good, honest kind of an ache and not the weasley kind you get from MS.
So help me, I’m even thinking about running the half marathon again in September….. I must have a short memory. It hurt like hell last year.
The club has a loyalty card too. After 5 weeks I get a snazzy yellow running club t-shirt! Mmm. So stylish.... should go nicely with all my lycra.
There are only two rules to running club.
1. You do not talk about running club
2. No smoking.
I know, I know... I need a new gag. Last time, I promise.