New running group, new distance: Countdown to Around the Bay

nike ad februaryOn Sunday, I joined a new running group to complete my 20km training run in preparation for Around the Bay. My usual running partner was away for the weekend, so I decided to drop by The Running Room on Sunday morning to find a group to join. For those that don’t know, The Running Room has open runs every Sunday at 8:30 am. I knew there were half marathon and marathon training clinics happening so I figured I would just join the group that was running the closest distance to 20km.

I found the Midtown Pacers. A diverse group of runners, mainly made up of men 50+. I know I hardly fit the demographic, but they were running 20-26km and they were very friendly so I decided to run with them. Their average pace was a little slower than mine for a long run, but I was OK with it. I wanted to run slowly so that I wouldn’t burn out on this run. Of all the groups I could have joined, I was very happy I picked this one.

They went over the run – a huge square covering what seemed to be the entire city of Toronto. It seemed like a good route with a couple decent hills and I figured if these guys could do it, I certainly could too.

I’ve run with lots of groups before, but I’ve never seen a group that so conscientiously sticks together. If the leaders of the group got too far ahead of the rest of the pack, they would take a walk break and walk the opposite direction to bring the group back together again. They really emphasized the “group” part of this run. Why bother running in a group if everyone just splits up anyway?

The group also doesn’t really run for distance – just time. Some of the group wanted to run for two hours, and when two hours was up, they walked. We also took regular walk breaks which I think helped keep me feeling good till the very end.

I noticed that most of the runners didn’t run with anything – no music, no water, no gels. When I asked why, they said they didn’t need it. It made me reconsider how much gear I’m usually hauling around on my run. Most ran with a GPS sportwatch or a regular watch to monitor the time or the distance.

We ended our run through the Mount Pleasant cemetery. Around 17km, I was definitely losing momentum but I powered through back to the store which put us at 19km. Even though I really wanted to go to Timothy’s and sip lattes with the group, I was so close to my distance goal, I decided to run the rest of the way home (another 1 km) to complete my 20km. It was tough. How I’m going to add another 10km onto that distance, I don’t know… but I will do it.

A big thank you to the Midtown Pacers. There’s no way I could have done that run without you guys.

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