Stepping Out

With the summer underway and school taking a lower end of the priority list, I’ve pushed myself to do things that a work/school combination has prevented me from doing for years. I’ve pushed myself to try and meet new people, go out more with my friends when possible, hit up Center City Sips (Philadelphia’s Wednesday city-wide coordinated happy hour specials) with friends from school. I’ve also gone on a few dates here and there but to no avail, fine for now as classes start in July I suppose.

My active life certainly hasn’t been put on the back burner. After an appropriate amount of rest from running the Nike Women’s Half Marathon, I hit the pool, focused on my strength training and slowly eased my way back into running. About five weeks after this race, I decided to join the City Sports group for a Thursday run. Last year, the group was small and far too fast for me but I kept telling myself to not be intimidated by the faster runners. In the heat, nine-minute miles would be pushing it for me. I’m just not there yet unfortunately.

The first run was brutal because it was my first time out since the half, and it was just after finals week. The staff, who lead all the runs, had us out on a six mile trek into the usual bike path. I was on the slower end and had to stop for a trip to the loo, but other than that it was fine. As I knew, nearly everyone was much faster than I but there were a few runners who were slower than I. Nonetheless I found this group quite nice and easygoing. As a bonus, runners get one insider buck for every mile they run with the group and after each quarter can be used for shopping at City Sports. Considering I’ve been putting myself on a tight budget in school, it’s been an awesome way to save up for running supplies I need. In the runs since then, I’ve met more people, and I’m going to be back every Thursday where travel for work doesn’t get in the way.

I suggested to one of the organisers to have runners (who were okay with this) link up on Twitter and find a way to support each other with some of the bigger races. The runners have a range of ability, some running shorter distances, but the vast majority usually training for at least a half if not longer. One of the runners is travelling to Brasil for a marathon next month for example; others are keeping their eyes on more local races like myself. Even then, Walt Disney World Marathon is a treat for myself, after years of denial forced through school.

In July I will volunteer the 20in24 relay races. I participated last year as a relay runner and had a fantastic time. The volunteers were excellent and without a team to run in, compared with my individual weakness in fundraising, I decided I would instead volunteer, and link up with the running community in this manner.

Overall I’m moving forward, even as busy as I am. Despite the frustration I’ve had to deal with socially, I’ve always found running and the running community a great community and one that I hope to become more involved with in Philadelphia, or wherever life should take me.

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