Something I’ve been meaning to do since I started running was join a running club. Because who understands quirky runners better then well, other quirky runners. It’s nice to have a group of people to bounce training ideas off of, share long run routes with, and encourage/motivate/push you to be your best. It’s also nice to have people that understand your weird superstitions and quirks and maybe learn that you’re not really as bad as you thought.
There is just one tiny little thing that has always held me back. Um, people that join running clubs are freaking fast. And no matter how many years I have been running the idea of joining up with a group of super fast runners intimidated the crap out of me. Also I get super awkward in new social situations so that could be part of it too…
But back in June when Ralph and I decided to run the Benjamin Ross 5k which is organized by The Road Runners Club of Woodbury, we actually started discussing the possibility of joining the club. It’s so much less intimidating when you can coerce your husband to join something with you. Plus so many of the club members run this race, and were out in full force in their bright orange tech tees. We later learned (b/c Ralph spent the majority of the race running someone already in the club while I pathetically lagged behind) that the club is fairly low key, and really awesome. They have a 3 mile fun run every Thursday night, anyone can join, and when you have participated in two runs you can purchase a tech tee. Boom. Part of the club.
So the decision was made, the next Thursday night we both were free we would show up to our very first fun run. Turns out that day, was also group photo day.
“Hi, I know we don’t know any of you but we really want to join your club and even though you are all dressed in the same shirt do you mind if we get in your picture so we don’t have to awkwardly stand to the side?” Kthanks.
With that awkwardness out of the way we began our first run. All my suspicions about running clubs being full of fast runners? Right on point. Even around a 9:30 pace (which is faster than most of my easy training runs) we were one of the last people to finish. A few years it might have been discouraging but I’m smart enough now to know that I trust my training and I don’t always have to keep up with everyone else all the time.
One more fun run later Ralph and I were eligible to purchase our club tech tees. We were super excited to receive them, but a little bummed when they were not handed out at the start of the run. Little did we know that was because the actually make a big deal about welcoming you to the club, even a little bit of a “ceremony” to the whole thing as you are handed your tee and must pose for a picture as a new member.
So far I’ve only been able to make it to a handful of fun runs, because of my work schedule but Ralph goes to almost every single one. Sometimes we take the pace easy, sometimes we make it our tempo run for the week just to give ourselves a little challenge. Overall it’s just been a really cool experience and we really like all the people in the club. Some are faster and more experienced, others are just starting out building mileage and running some local 5ks. But we all enjoy getting together for a nice post run breakfast!
Are you a South Jersey/Woodbury area runner? Join our Thursday evening fun run!