Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone almost always pays off. Last night, my first solo Pacers run provided a great reminder of that.
Bi-weekly runs with our local running store have become staples of mine and Steve’s running lives. The “fun runs” take us from Pacers Silver Spring to points throughout SS and DC on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.
Problem is, Steve started grad school last week. His classes are on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, meaning I’m on my own for Pacers.
I made like Celine Dion last night and went all by myself, with some slight reservations. It’s not a social-anxiety thing; I’ll yammer away to strangers all day long. It’s more of a performance-anxiety thing. See, with Steve by my side, I feel perfectly comfortable heading out with the faster pace groups, knowing that if I fall behind, I can drag Steve down with me. He’s also contractually obligated to make sure I don’t get lost (this wasn’t in our vows per se, but it was an implicit agreement he’s lived up to beautifully so far).
Last night, we were doing our familiar 5.2-mile Alaska route, which eased my worries a bit. We broke up into pace groups. First, the 7:30s left, then the 8s.
“8:30?” said the store manager, with a glance in my direction. I shrugged and nodded, then looked around, feeling very much like I was waiting to get picked up for a relay team in gym class. No takers. A few kind souls opted in for 9-minute miles, and we headed out.
As usual, I was worried about nothing. I had a great time yammering away with a store employee who’s a student at American University, and who, I learned toward the end of the run, is training for the Boston Marathon. She qualified with a time of 3:30. I, on the other hand, figured out recently that for my marathon time to qualify me for Boston, I’d have to be 75 years old.
But it was a great run, and while I no doubt slowed down my faster, younger running companion, I also got an ego boost when I told her my goal of finishing the half marathon in less than two hours again.
“With the pace we’re doing right now, that should be no problem for you,” she said. I’m choosing to believe her.
In other news, I found my next race. It’s the George Washington Classic 10K in Alexandria on Valentine’s Day. If that doesn’t sound appealing, check out the nearby Chocolate Mile on Feb. 8. It’s pretty self-explanatory: You run a mile, you get the chocolate. Sweet!