Tonight was a really big night for me.
After completing the Ballymena Runners C25K programme over the previous nine weeks I finally took the plunge and became a fully fledged member of the club – and tonight was my first training run with them.
I had long thought about joining them but didn’t want to until I felt I could hold my head up in their company and, to me, that entailed getting to the end of the C25K.
I’m not a naturally sociable person. I find it difficult to mix and I tend to withdraw in company. I happen to think that I’m a pretty reasonable, respectable and friendly chap – I’m just quiet, very quiet. That’s why joining a club was such a big deal for me.
But I did it. And I turned up tonight for the run.
Thankfully, around a dozen of the C25K people also turned up tonight so at least there were faces I recognised and some folk to engage in a little small talk with. One of the club members who had been helping out over the previous eight weeks took me and someone else under her wing, introduced us to some other members and basically looked after us.
We all gathered in the same corner of the room, looking like scared kids on their first day at assembly in big school! After the expected announcements we were then introduced to – and received a round of applause – from the not inconsiderable crowd that had turned up.
Then all the different pace groups set off, leaving us 30-minute lot to the end and after a few instructions from the group leader away we went.
He stressed that it would be an easier run than we had experienced over the previous couple of months, and so it proved. People stopped for a breather, we looped back on ourselves on quite a few occasions, we waited at the side of the road etc. etc.
Naturally that had an adverse effect on the overall pace but I wasn’t terribly bothered about that. I looked on this as my ‘easy’ run but one from which to pick up valuable experience, to run in a group and just for a change of scenery.
Things were going perfectly fine until we hit a short hill about halfway through. It may have only been 200-odd yards long but it was fairly steep. We had been warned about it and some chose to walk it or to take it easy.
Not me. For some reason – probably to challenge myself – I decided to tackle it, and to tackle it quickly. I’ll admit that it totally drained my legs by the time I got to the top, but get to the top I did. Hopefully I’ll reap the benefits.
After that the rest of the run was a bit of a slog, not helped that parts of the route were single file along roadworks in poor lighting which saw the pace drop to little more than a brisk walk. Not that I was complaining, I needed it to regroup after that blasted hill!
All-in-all, a pretty successful night. We were out, in total, for around 45 minutes although I didn’t record the standing parts so the actual running was just over 39 minutes. Hard to argue with that.
I walked back home feeling exhausted but also feeling satisfied that I had got a good workout and given all I had. That’s all I could have asked for.