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Does Not Run Well With Others-And Neither Do I

Well, I have read all of the stuff in Runners World and the books by the likes of Burfoot et. al.   And they have talked about the joys of a running club.  How it is a joy to run with others.  Lets address this point.

I agree.  I really like running with others.  I think it is why I race.  Those are the other dedicated that have chosen to put themselves through the rigors of some training to compete.  Mostly against the clock.  If they are running around me then it is only the clock that is can keep up with something near the speed of light.  It is great.  Some races are shorter than others and it takes all kinds to get to that point to race.  And pay some else for it. 

On that same point I really like running alone.  I wake up in the morning and head out to the route of choice and just run.  I am there with my thoughts and the wildlife.  I see other runners and of course we are running together even if it is in the opposite directions.  That is one of the coolest things about runners.  I see them and nod or salute or smile or something like that and they acknowledge me similarly.  We are a running nation where no real strangers exist.  How often do you see to random pedestrians give a head nod of recognition upon crossing along the same path.  Either way, it is just fine to be alone as it is to run together.  Sometimes, when I am out by myself on the path I am not really alone.  And neither am I.  Who said that?

There is the encouragement of training with others.  We are compelled to perform when we know some is watching.  There is the constant inquiries of how the training is going, or what the injury of the week is, or how the family is going, and when is Rachael going to joy the ranks of the running insane.  (Soon I hope.)

These are just some of the great things I have heard about the running club. 

I must admit that I have totally avoided the running club idea since I returned to running three years ago.  Maybe it was pride or fear.  When I restarted I ran so slow there was a little embarrassment.   I was around a 10 minute mile.  When I left Track in high school due to injury I was topped out at a 5:05 and was primed to shatter that.  Either way, I had some hard time believing that there was a group of runners out there that was willing to let me drag them down the spiral of muddy steps.  The other thing is that I kind of liked it in my mind.  It was liberating and refreshing.  I could talk to myself and no one would know how crazy I was.  Or how crazy I was. 

In any case I was totally misguided by these irrationalalthoughts and came to realize that my fellow runners relished the joy of running no matter the pace.  I found this out when I got the chance to just run with a friend or two.  One in particular Dave is so far ahead of me that he could have lapped me in a single loop 5k, yet he has ratcheted it back to enjoy the run and conversation on a  few 4-5 mile fun runs.  He completed his first Ultra, the Buckeye Trail 50k, this past month which is totally awesome.  12th out of a 185 starters.  He is an inspiration. 

Well, I started looking at the running clubs at one point.  Well, I like to running the morning and most of them run in the evening.  That made it another excuse not to join up.  On that point, it is a rare occurance that a running club does weekday morning runs.  I understand why, but it would be nice. 

Skip ahead to last week.  {Picture Scooby doo squiggles}  I’m already there. Show off.

So there I was.  At Indiana University for a week.  What was I doing at Indiana University.  Well, I belong to a co-ed professional chemistry fraternity Alpha Chi Sigma and every two years is the national meeting where the business of the fraternity (a non-profit educationaland outreach organization) is done.  The Conclave as it is called is held at different locations like two years ago it was at UCLA and the before that at my home Virginia Tech.  Well, this year it was at Indiana University where 200+ chemists, chemical engineers, and the like both collegiate and professional met.  I got this bright idea.  IU has a huge campus and I was planning on running in the mornings to beat the heat and keep up with my recovery training.  I decided to start the Alpha Chi Sigma Road Runners.  I had announced it at the starting meeting as an idea and to meet with me to work something out.  Well, I had several people approach me with interest.  I was elated.  I wasn’t going to join a running club.  I was going to start one.  And me too.  Stop that.

We discussed it and because the heat was going to be on the rise it was said that an early start would be best.  I had suggested a time that would best be described as “Oh Dark Thirty” or 5:30.  I got some wide eyes and then a realization that it was the best time.  Everybody said they would do their best to make it.

Let me stop here a moment and explain that at this Conclave we have a tendency to stay up late celebrate our brotherhood and socialize, fraternize and even on occasion imbibe drinks of the alcoholic nature.  When I say late, I mean that there were probably people who were up at 5:30 only because they had not fallen asleep yet. 

Well, I woke up that next morning ready to inaugurate the first Alpha Chi Sigma Road Runners a nice easy run around the campus.  It would be nice.  Those who wanted to cut it short could cut across campus and we would meet up with them on our way around.  The pace would be light and easy so my brothers or I would not get smoked.  Totally awesome, right.  I got there a little bit early just in case my clock was off.  Really, I was so excited I couldn’t stay still.  I got down the the meeting point (the dorm lobby) and waited.  5:30 passed and no one.  A few more minutes.  Then the elevator dings and my brother from Indiana University of Pennsylvania comes out.  He is “ready” to run.  We wait some more time and no one else comes.  He informs me that if no one else is going then he is going to get that extra hour of sleep he missed out on.  I am bummed then I realize I have a run around campus to do.  Rock On.  What am I chopped Liver.  Only between my ears.

I don’t blame my brothers.  I should have thought this through more and given people more than 10 hours notice about a run.  The run was fantastic.  Lots of hills and IU seems to never really end.  I did let some of them know what joy they missed.  Perhaps in two years I will be more prepared and get organized.  I may even make t-shirts. 

Since I decided to make my own running club, as a radical splinter group (possibly militant) out of another organization(AXΣ), I figured I should try just joining a running club.  I have been looking them up.  Still not a lot of morning running but I am willing to adjust my schedule.  It should be fun.  For both of us.  Are you happy now.  Yes.  🙂


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