I have new feelings toward running, lately. Keeping in line with my post yesterday, I went for a run with the Charm City Run running group.   Charm City Run is a local running store, here in MD.  They have a weekly run group.  I was a little nervous, because I am running quite slow, and this was likely to be a group that runs fast and far.  I mean, it’s hosted by a running store, for goodness sake, that’s all they do.  But, this is a very nice group.  They run an out and back course that can be 3, 4, of 5 miles.  

My hip has been bothering me, so I chose the 3 miles.  I had to walk a little bit after mile 2.  Some of the runners who were running 5 miles caught up with me.  (Did I mention those run store people are fast???)  Caleb, last night’s group leader, works at Charm City Run and gives a lot of fittings; basically he watches people run all day.  He said my “hip” could be my IT band.  YIKES.

I can’t tell you how much running with a group makes a difference, especially when you are trying to push yourself. At first, I was definitely intimidated. In many ways, I still am.    For some, it may be the group mentality that helps runners pushes themselves; no one wants to be the person who walks among the others who are running.   For me, it is purely competition. I do not want to be last. Once the other runners caught up.  I pushed myself to the end.  Running with people will help me keep training and certainly improve my running.

This “run in groups” philosophy does not work as well for me during race events. I spend a great deal of time trying to convince my friends to run in the events with me. I am genuinely excited to finish the race together. Yet, I regret that decision, as soon as the horn sounds for the beginning of a race. It is amazing to me that I may have become a stronger runner than some of my friends. The same people who were beating me last summer are the ones holding me back.

I struggle with running ahead of my friends because I feel like I am providing them the motivation the way my running partners helped me. Is it fair to leave that behind to shave off a few minutes on the clock? When is it appropriate to push forward for yourself and not the group?