*Editor’s note: The editor apologizes for her recent, unexplained absence from this blog. She is hoping that all of her virtual friends will do the thing that her best real-life, in-person friends do: Forgive her, and smile at her in a way that says: “You don’t have to tell me about your bad day. Would you like to go get some ice cream?”*

Last night, I enjoyed my third group run with the Hampton Roads Runners, the running group that meets across the street from my house every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. for a 4.2-miler through my neighborhood. I had decided before the run to take it easy, and to run by feel, judging as I went whether I was going too hard.

Early in the run, that meant 8:30-minute miles with the guy leading the group. The route is flat, and I felt strong and energetic, and who was I to judge that?

Later in the run, that meant telling the guy—who did his best to adjust his pace to my failing legs, despite clearly wanting to run closer to 8-minute miles—that I felt terrible, and needed a break. Then, it meant stopping and leaning over in the universal sign for “Just stretching! And setting a new lap on my Garmin! Nothing to see here!” and waited to catch up (catch down?) with the next group. I enjoyed what felt like a much slower, chattier pace with some new friends, and finished feeling great.

Here’s the funny thing: My Garmin tells me that my pace was actually a totally consistent 8:23-minute miles for both laps. I attribute this consistency in part to the magic of the group run. Had I been running with just one person, stopping would have been a zero-default action that would have bummed me out for the rest of the run. As it was last night, I had lots of different pace groups, and lots of friendly faces to welcome me, before finding myself alone again—which is just how it is with my running group in Silver Spring.

Back at at H.K. on the Bay, the seafood restaurant where we meet for drinks and fish tacos after each run, I had the loveliest evening chatting with my new running buddies about races and work and the way the neighborhood comes to life in the summer. As I left, I thought about how lucky I am to have running as a way to make even the newest, strangest place feel like home. I’m still looking forward to reuniting with my Silver Spring running group when I’m back in that neck of the woods in a couple of weeks, but in the meantime, I’m feeling a little more settled in Virgina Beach.

Have you joined a running group as a way to make new friends, or to find a sense of community in a new place?


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5 responses to “Home

  1. annieb123

    Amy, I trained for my first marathon 15 years ago with a running group. Since then I haven’t run with a group very often but I probably should. I do ride with a couple of different groups and I can’t believe the difference.

  2. annieb123

    By the way, ice cream isn’t my thing but if you want to go for a coffee I could take you. Hope things are getting better. I know this is a really tough time for you.

  3. I suck at (or maybe am self conscious about) running anything more than a few miles with a group. If you’re training for something, a problem with multi-pace group runs (that are not geared toward training for a specific race) is that the length of the run is based on time, not distance. So, the slow group runs 3 miles and the fast group run 6. But what if you’re a slow runner who needs to run 6? Dilemma.

    That being said, I would love to find people to meet up with post run for a drink or breakfast or whatever. 🙂

    Hang in there, chica.

  4. Running is the best invention ever for getting to know new people — or places.

  5. +1 to what Kirstin said. I wish I had joined a group when I first moved to DC! So glad you are enjoying your group in VA Beach!

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