Today was my first time in quite a while to hit the trail with a group. I joined in with the Hill Country Trail Runners’ Sunday morning club run, which leaves from the dog park at Bull Creek. It’s lead by Roger and covers some 5 miles of uphills, downhills, and switchbacks…and it’s a no-drop run.
I had a bit of performance anxiety because I’m still coming back and I absolutely LOATHE being the needy one, the person everybody waits on, the one struggling at the back. Since I had done not-quite-an-hour trail run earlier in the week and my run time wasn’t too much off what I could do previously, I thought it was time to try. I hoped the group would be pretty large and I’d be lost in a crowd that just might include some complete newbies.
It was a very small group; I knew three of the people, and I knew they were fast. The others were unknown but in a group of only eight; odds are good that the person recovering is the weak link. I just swallowed my pride and announced that I would be pokey but not to worry about me, as I knew where I was going and (if I really needed to turn around before the run was done) I could find my way back.
As it turns out, I wasn’t the slowest by that much and I had a lovely time talking to Celeste, who hung back with me. Everyone was pleasant and conversational, and no one seemed to be put out at all by waiting at intersections. Sometimes you go on a no-drop run and the attitude is one of toe-tapping displeasure, so it’s nice to truly have a patient group. It probably helped that three of the guys were doing a “triple,” meaning they’d run miles before, were doing the club run, and then doing a third run afterwards to add up to about 25 miles of road and trail.
I felt good. The stamina is actually still there, though I will need to work on my speed a lot. I worried a bit and was careful of my footing going downhill, as it was slippery and the last thing I need is to rip myself up by some weird, twisty fall.
It made me feel more confident for completing the Loop trail race next week, and I will certainly make the Sunday club run a regular part of my week after that. Nice people, nice time and SUPER convenient.
I can’t wait until I feel ready for the Wednesday night run, led by my friend Marcia. I need to be comfortable with an hour-and-a-half of trail running, and they are probably going at a faster pace than Sunday.
But I know I’ll be there soon.