steep learning curves

Last Wednesday, I went to my first session of timed interval training.  I was prepared to work hard and do my best.  I was also mentally prepared to face and accept the possibility that I might be one of the weakest/least experienced members of the group – hence my moniker, “rookie runner”.

Turns out, I was absolutely right.  We started out with some mobility exercises.  I didn’t even know about these.  It was all new, but informative and helpful.  At the very least, I will take these new exercises away with me.  And then we were off.  We left the store for a little ‘warm-up’ run to the Spirit Trail where we’d be running our drills and intervals.  Right away, as all the other experienced runners pulled away from me, I got the feeling that I was literally in a league of my own.  I arrived at our training spot about third from last.  “It’s okay,” I told myself, I knew this might happen.  Coach Jerry introduced some warm-up drills which I was able to do just as well as anyone.  That part encouraged me and I started to think, “Okay, this isn’t so bad…”

And then the intervals started.  Progression Intervals:   3 sets of 4:30 – 3:00 – 1:30, with a 1:30 walk recovery between each hard run.  Well…  let me tell you…  I got schooled!!!!  The first thing I learned was that everyone else’s “slow” was my “fast”.  I had runners passing me by with a “Hey, you doing okay???”  Or a “Don’t worry!  You’re doing great!!” Of course, I know everyone was just trying to be friendly and encouraging, and I really did appreciate it.  However, let’s face it.  I was dead last.  Sigh….  One of the members actually ran back to ‘run along’ with me and explained to me that this was a group of well-seasoned runners – the type who win races.  That made me feel a little better.  I explained that I was a true beginner and I was sorry if I was holding everyone back.  She told me not to worry and just do what I could.  Well, that’s exactly what I did.  I sped up when I could, but if I couldn’t maintain my pace, I just slowed down to what I could manage and just kept moving forward.  I realized I was perhaps in over my head, but how else was I going to learn and get better?  After all, this was the whole reason I signed up for these sessions – to learn and try to improve.  I refused to give up and I did the best I could.  I might have been dead last to finish each set, but at least I didn’t quit.  I had no problem with the distances we were running.  It was the pace that challenged me.  I ran everything, just a lot slower than everyone else.  I completed my sets.  We did our cool-down exercises and then had an ‘easy’ run back to the store.  My first session was over.

If there’s anything I learned last Wednesday, it’s that I can only go up from here.  I’ve always known that speed is not my friend.  I will never be a pace bunny.  I’m just hoping that I’ll learn a few things along the way and I’ll try everything that we’re instructed to do.  I also learned that it’s true what they say – runners are very friendly and welcoming.  I did appreciate everyone’s words of encouragement.   These sessions are a lot more intense than what I thought they would be.  This is not a group of beginners, after all.  But I’ll do the best I can.  Hopefully, I’ll come out of these sessions a little wiser and a little stronger.

This week’s coming session:  hills.  Oh goody….  I can’t wait….  (If you’ve read my earlier posts, you know how I feel about those!!)  Wish me luck – something tells me I’ll be digging deep come Wednesday…

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