This past week began a new chapter in my running story. The title of this chapter would be something along the lines of "Group Running" or something a little more imaginative. Sorry, it's 4:30 am, the creative juices aren't quite flowing yet. The point being, this past week I began running with a new running group that was formed at work. While it is developing into not exclusively a group comprised of only co-workers the original intent was such that employees of the hospital could join and train, race and socialize.
With a place as large as the hospital with over 14,000 employees and growing it's nice to get to know people from other departments and divisions. So often we get focused on our department or little group of co-workers that we see everyday that the rest of the workplace becomes this big mass of unknown people. So often you see the same groups sitting at the same tables at lunch time with very little change or interaction between groups from day to day. It seems in some ways we are all still in high school. The social aspect of the running group will definitely be a positive.
In terms of running I can see where this is going to up my game as well. Right now there is at least one other runner who I feel a bit of good natured competitiveness with during runs. After spending so much time running by myself and challenging only myself it is nice to get some external competitive stimulation. I know toward the end of my marathon training it became very easy to just cruise on my runs. I had lost a bit of competitive drive and was just happy to finish. If that is your goal then that is great, but for me part of the fun is the competition.
I also found out there are a couple of bonuses with the group. As part of the group we get access to a very nice training facility on bad weather days at the University of Cincinnati. We've been forced indoors this week due to snow and uncomfortably freezing temps. There is an 1/8 mile indoor track and of course the dreaded hamster wheel (treadmill). To save my knees I'm not going to spend a lot of the time on the track, because that is a lot of turns in the same direction over the course of 5-6 miles. The hamster wheel is much less torture, although still moderately torturous, when there is someone to run with and talk to while running to nowhere.