Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wednesday Workout Update - Running Camaraderie

I'm convinced that one of the biggest reasons I enjoy running so much is the camaraderie - runners are, for the most part, the most welcoming, friendliest group of people I've met.  Case in point:  while we were at Fleet Feet in Aptos a couple weeks ago, I chatted with Russ, who owns the store along with his wife Tina.  As Barbara and Theresa were getting fitted for new running shoes, I mentioned how much I was enjoying the running weather in California.  Russ invited us to join them for their Saturday morning group fun run, just like that!  Sweet!  I was especially pleased when he said that their runs start at 8:00 am - in JULY.  Those beachy California runners are so lucky - no crazy heat and humidity that forces them to wake up at insanely early hours to run.  I even wore a jacket to start the run - I know.  It was wild.

We met with the group at the store, and what a fun, friendly bunch they were.  There were actually two groups - one that was training for the Wharf to Wharf 10K, and the fun runners.  Russ said I was welcome to join either group for their run - the fun runners were going to run an out-and-back for 30 minutes each way in Nisene Marks (which meant nothing to me as I'd never heard of it...turns out?  It was a forest.  On a MOUNTAIN.)  Barbara planned to walk, while I ran - we probably should have gone with the other group, as there were walkers and slower runners in that one, but no matter.  The first group took off, and we tried to keep up, but we missed crossing with them at a stoplight and had to wait until traffic cleared.  Not a big deal, but by the time I rounded the bend to the forest, I had lost sight of the last runner and didn't know which direction to go, so I got an unexpected rest break for a couple of minutes until the next runner (who was leading the other group) came along. 

So this was a mountain that I was running up.  The scenery was beautiful - when I actually took the time to look at it.  Going uphill, I tend to put my head down and power through, but for every uphill, there was a downhill, and that's when I got the chance to enjoy the forest.  This was a tough run, and after a while, we left the paved road for a rocky, rutted dirt path.  I continued to run on that for a bit, but I got tired of only looking down as I tried to not step on a big rock or into a hole - yes, I'm still paranoid about twisting my ankle.  So I turned around started running back, and soon I saw Barbara walking toward me.  She whipped out her iPhone and got a couple of blurry shots (because I was running so fast, I'm sure), but at least you can get an idea of how pretty the forest was:
Hey, I was going downhill so it's entirely possible I might have been running super fast! ;)
 So pretty!  So just kept going up!  Mountains are like that.
The purple blob between the trees is me - I'd rounded the bend at this point, while Barbara was still on the uphill part.
 Gorgeous place - I'd love to go back and hike it so I could take in the scenery better.
Afterward, with Russ.  I was giving him a hard time, because I'd asked about hills before the run, and he only mentioned the one behind the running store.  Apparently mountains no longer register with him, LOL!

Russ invited us to join them for their Tuesday workout - Chutes and Ladders.  They run to Seacliff beach and go down the hill there, and then up the stairs on the cliff.  And then they do it over and over!  We loved the name and while the workout sounded extremely hard (yet fun), had hoped to join them, but it turned out that we were pretty busy that day and didn't want to mess with evening traffic to get there.  Here's a picture of the stairs, to give you an idea of what they do:
I got this from Google images - can you imagine running up this staircase?

Next visit, we are going to tackle Chutes and Ladders for sure!


And speaking of running camaraderie, I have to tell you that my running club peeps made me do the impossible last week - I actually joined them for a hill workout.  THAT'S how much I like running with people - I'll even do hills, just to be with them!  You all know by now that I hate running hills and doing hill workouts - I went to one back in the fall of 2010 and that was it.  So last Monday night, when Jenny texted me that she wasn't going to make our scheduled run the next day, I knew my extended hill sabbatical was over, and I met with the running club bright and early on Tuesday morning to (ugh ugh ugh) do hill repeats.  Guess what?  I still hate hills, but I did the workout.  And I survived.  Ran a mile to THE HILL, then ran up that dang thing 8 times.  I walked back down it, even though I normally love to run downhill, but I needed to recuperate before going back up.  And then we walked the mile back to our cars.  Not only did I live to tell the tale, I actually got up and did it again yesterday.  I KNOW!!!  I don't recognize me, either.


  1. I know this is the missing piece for me too.
    I neeeed to make finding a running GROUP a priority.

  2. the chutes and ladders workout sounds like so much fun, as do the rest of your running adventures. keep up the great work, shelley!

  3. Chutes and Ladders! Hilarious and gorgeous. What a great place to run; glad you were able to find such a lovely route up the mountain.

  4. I started running with a fleet feet group and miss that camarder

  5. I'd wish we had such cool and fun running groups as you have in the US but we don't. We have two running clubs in my village but they are all about achievements, they are all fast runners and I just don't feel like I fit in there.

    Your run in California sounds fantastic and I'm happy for you that you were able to join the group.

    And hill repeats? Shelley, you rock!

  6. Ie. I think that is why I like races. It's motivating to run as a group. Gl with chutes and ladders. You are brave!

  7. I LOVE the energy of exercising (cycling) with a group. I am so glad that I have found various and sundry groups to bike with - for all the reasons you mentioned. Chutes and Ladders? Totally amazing. And those wooded runs? Beautiful.

  8. There definitely is group energy that goes on. I think that is why races are fun as well, because you get the adrenaline from all the other crazy people doing the same thing!

    Go on the hills!!

  9. Groups always make the journey more pleasant. Still - I am knocked out at the terrain you can handle - amazing! And all that beautiful scenery around you? Priceless!

  10. I love that you run in a group! I have never been in a running group but it seems like it would be an amazing experience. The photos are lovely and good for you!

  11. Who are you? Way to go. Running with people is so much more fun. I agree.

  12. Groups and/or partners always make hard runs seem easier.

    Believe it or not though you've really had good luck because running partners - those perfect people who match you pace-wise and who don't irritate you with some annoying habit while you run and can run when you can run? They're hard to come by. I've had only 1 and have never been able to find another.

    And Fran, not ALL areas in the US have such supportive running stores and groups. There are NONE where I live.

    1. I think we have no other option than to move to Texas and live with Shelley and join her running club. That would be fun!

  13. Way to be a bad ass with those hills Shelley! Good for you and I bet you are pretty darn proud of yourself. Now don't let it be 2 more years until you do hills again! :D

  14. I never heard of that forest, so I thought you were talking about marks on the trees in the forest until I saw the sign!!

    Shelley, I think you are a very friendly person, and that is why people are naturally friendly to you.

    Yep, hills are hard, but they are good! I like when I can go uphill and downhill evenly on my walks. I have a routine that I like now, especially for the shorter walks in the evening. I don't have much control over the uphills and downhills on a longer walk.

  15. Wow! I just found your blog. Your body transformation is AMAZING! Way to go! I've just begun my own journey (I'm 40-something too) and feel so much better than I did in my 30s!!! I ran in the past, but recently (past 2 years) have developed a debilitating issue with plantar fasciitis. I've been casted...seen an orthopaedic doc for subsequent ankle issues, but just can't seem to cure it! drats!!! Still walking though!!!

    Cant' wait to follow you on your maintenance me hope!

  16. Hills? Ewww! Stairs? EWWW!!! Finding a wonderful group of runners to share energy and the whole experience with - about as far from "ew" as you can get!!!! I bet they are VERY happy to have you with them as I'm quite sure you are a positive and fun person to join in!!! Happy Wednesday Runner extraordinare!!!!

  17. Way to go on your hill training. Its amazing when our mind says go, how we can accomplish things. I can't imagine doing those stairs in your picture. Wow. You are very lucky you found good groups for running. For the my 10K training, most did not show up most of the time, so I ended up training alone most of the time (except for my dear hubby occasionally)

  18. Hills are one reason I have not starting biking outside yet. I'm afraid I can't handle them. I can't imagine running them. Way to go!

    Love the scenery!

  19. I'm just starting my journey to healthy living and am so inspired by your dramatic weight loss! 100 pounds? Wow. It's stories like yours that help me stay motivated. Thank you so much for sharing your life. I'm glad I found your blog :)


  20. Runners are the friendliest people. It's true. And that scenery is insanely gorgeous!!! Love it!

    Hill workouts? Not sure if I'll ever like them either. But good for you getting out there!

  21. Runners are definitely a friendly bunch. As for hill workouts - yuck. I did them before my half marathon, but now I have a sore achilles so no hill workouts for me for a while. I'm not too upset about it :-)


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