(Warning - long post!)
I was brave and I went to the local running club's Beginners' night last night. I'd tried a couple of years ago and didn't find them very friendly or helpful, but I've been running for a bit longer now and I am a bit wiser and I am more able to think 'Sod 'em, I'm doing this for me, I don't care what they think!' I went because I am in a bit of a rut, am not progressing (in fact am going backwards), have lost my mojo etc. and thought that this might be helpful.
We all met up at the local leisure centre. There must have been around 20 of us, ranging from 8-year-olds fizzing with energy through elegant, swishy pony-tailed ladies up to people like me, and then there were a couple who were like I was last time. There were 4 or 5 people from the running club and it was explained that we would go up the Trail, through the tunnel (oh, deep joy) and that we would do one minute of running and then (I think) a minute of walking. And repeat. Well... I wondered about this, because the Trail is all uphill from town. Anyway, we started off with a warm-up jogette around the block, doing exercises as we ran. Hmmm. I did some of them, but would have fallen over if I'd done them all! Flicking the feet up towards yer bum, okay, arm exercises, okay, but sideways skipping, erm, no, especially not on uneven pavements.
Anyway, then we got to the Trail. And the tunnel. Aaargh. We were supposed to stop halfway through it but I apologised and kept going because I was in a proper panic about it. One of the lights was out halfway up which didn't help at all. They all came storming up past me and I was huffing and puffing like a mad thing, but it was sheer terror more than anything
After that, though, I was in the second group just after all the speedy types. The problem was that the leader set the pace, but further down the line you couldn't really see when he was stopping and starting. I found it quite hard - and the funny thing was that I kept looking at my watch and thinking, 'Where's the bridge? We've done over 1k - where's the bridge?' But because we'd started from town and not my normal start point, we'd already done at least 1k before I'd normally start running
I'm all for encouraging kids to run, but they were a bit of a nuisance, quite frankly. They were darting in and out of the pack and going backwards and forwards for a bit - then they were all whistled up front, so that was better. Once we did get to the bridge, we stopped for a breather while everyone caught up and we regrouped. I hung back and stayed at the end and just did a jog-trot down rather than run-walk, and had a chat with one of the ladies from the club who was pleasant. She talked to me all the way back through the tunnel, bless her, so that was a bit better.
At the end the leader went through some stretches and there was a shout-out for C25K - hooray! One of the club members said his wife was doing it, so I said how good it was too The leader recommended that everyone try to get three runs a week in, said 'See you all next week' and that was it.
I had a bit of a problem in that there wasn't any real accommodation made for those who really couldn't run - which was exactly the problem I had last time. There was at least one lady I was talking to at the Leisure Centre who dropped out at some point, and I heard the back marker saying to someone that they'd tried 30-second runs 'but she just couldn't hack it'. We were out for 50 minutes and covered 5k. That's not beginner territory. I was knackered - okay, I didn't have to stay towards the front, I could have pushed myself less and been mid-pack, but the leader said that each week we will do more, so next week we will run for 90 seconds. His aim is to get us to run the local 5k fun run in 10 weeks' time - but we could all do that now!
I think it will be useful in that it should improve my speed and stamina. I will have to run an additional twice a week to keep up, which will fulfil my goal of getting fitter, even if I don't much enjoy the evenings. He said that towards the end of the course we'll do interval training, hills and fartleks (although I thought we were doing intervals!) so if I can stick with it it will Do Me Good.
In other news, I got back home, had a shower and wasn't even hungry. That will Do Me Good too