Normally I don’t like to divulge secrets about my life to my blog readers. By secrets, I mean anything that happens in my life when I’m not running. But for the purpose of this entry, and perhaps future entries, here are a couple of secrets that might give you some necessary context for what I talk about:
- I have started to, and will continue to for quite a while, spending a considerable amount of time in Salem, Oregon. For those of you who don’t know anything about Salem, don’t worry. Neither do I.
- I now have access to a large group of people, and I believe that there is a running group somewhere in this bunch – I just need to find it. I should note that when I say that I “have access,” I mean that I have met them and can easily communicate with them. Nothing creepy, if that’s what you were thinking.
Over the last week I discovered that there are in fact several people interested in running with me, and so today I went on our first official group run, and a whole one person showed up! That person was me. It turns out that almost-no-notice is not enough notice to rally a running group. Also there was some meeting that a bunch of people went to that I didn’t want to go to/forgot about.
What did happen, is that a bunch of people talked to me about the running group and asked me a lot of questions. In case anyone else has these same questions, I will address them here.
- “How fast do you run?”
- This is a great question. It would be super embarassing to show up to a running group and have everyone be way faster than you and leave you so far behind that you get lost and you don’t even have any Boy Scout experience so you perish from lack of survival skills. If you’re way faster than everyone, this same exact thing can also happen, and so you actually end up dead in this scenario as well. Dead and humiliated. This is why when I run with a group of people, I generally try to slow down or speed up to match their pace, especially if I was the one to invite them on the run. The ideal situation is to have enough people so that there’s a better chance of having someone who’s closer to your exact pace, and so you two can go get lost together and combine your MacGruber-like abilities to avoid death.
- “I’m in really bad shape, I don’t think I can do it.”
- This isn’t actually a question, but it gets said a lot. A few weeks ago, I would have said that you should just stay home and eat pie because if you’re not in shape already, then there’s no hope for you at all. But today being one of my first runs back in several weeks, I experienced the pain of the homebody/pie-eater trying to get back into shape, and so I can sympathize. You should come no matter how out of shape you are, and we’ll all laugh at you for how unathletic you are. Then you can hope that next time we’ll laugh at you slightly less.
- “Where do you run?”
- This question is so great, that I myself don’t have the answer. Today I used my iPhone map to navigate me to a park that is only about two blocks away. Who knows where my iPhone will take us next time? I would love it if the answer was that somebody who knows the area is coming along and will take us on the most magical run of our lives, but I can’t quite promise that yet.
- “Did you know that the Outdoorsy Club has a running group?”
- I did not know that, but now that I do, I look forward to running with them once they get their regular runs going. Especially if they know all the best routes. Until then, I’ll work on building up the first-year squad of runners.
I hope this Q&A session cleared up any confusion people were having about my one-man running group. My goal for the next running group is to double the attendance. I know this is a lofty ambition, but I like to aim high. I am also now an experienced Salem runner now, which I think will be more intriguing to people.
For anyone who has never run in Salem before, I would like to end with the highlight of my run today. On the way back from the park I ran in, there were a couple of little tunnel/underpass things to run through, and there was not a single graffiti or garbage or bum in sight! I assume that this is just because the bums here are extra-good at hiding, but I was still extremely impressed. Where I’m from (45 minutes North of Salem), tunnels are things to hold your breath and sprint through. The tunnels here are so nice that I might even get a sleeping bag and spend the night there sometime. I’ll let you know when I do, and we can make it into a sort of fun tunnel campground!
PS. Look how cute my dog and his new friend/roommate are!!