On (finally) joining a running club.

After moving life up north this year, and knowing almost no-one, I took the plunge and joined one of the local running clubs which my now good friends Daisy and Scott belong to. I’ve thought about doing this before, but with my stomach being the delicate flower that it is (I refer the reader(s) to https://katerobinsontri.net/race-report-alp-dhuez-triathlon-long-course/ and https://katerobinsontri.net/race-report-laguna-phuket-triathlon-1-8km-50km-12km/ ) and often being a bit overwhelmed with social situations, I have always talked myself out of it.

But I’m so glad that I went ahead and finally did it! The Macc Harriers ( https://macclesfield-harriers.co.uk/ ) are *SUCH* a good bunch. Me being me, I’ve tried my hand (well, feet) at a few different sessions: Tuesday track sessions, Thursday road running by torch, and weekend cross country racing. I haven’t managed any trail runs yet, simply due to clashes with the cyclocross season and/or Covid. But I fully intend to in 2022. I have new trail buddies I’m itching to get out with, not least for the banter!!!

Having missed out on Christmas this year due to finally hooking up with ‘Rona, several of my new running buddies checked in on me, dropped food parcels off, facetimed me or just simply said “hey” over WhatsApp. What could have been a really lonely and difficult 10 days has been very bearable with these guys and gals, and I am fully indebted to them!!

So I’ve established that the people are absolute diamonds. As for the sessions themselves. I get different things from the different disciplines and groups:

Track I am more comfortable in the “B” group, but the coaches have promoted me up to “A” to push me. I don’t necessarily complete the whole set as planned, but I certainly go harder than I otherwise would in the Bs. I’ve missed several weeks due to other committments or covid, but I intend to get back to this ASAP in 2022 as I think this is where my speed gains over longer distances are to be had.

Thursday road sessions I’ve deliberately gone out with the “C” group to have a more chilled, chatty run. I still get a good 10k in, and sometimes the faster of us do some out-and-back loops whilst others catch up, but I’m saving my legs for the harder sessions. And I get to chat with different people 😀 I just need to learn how to put one foot in front of the other without stacking it…! (just the 2 falls to date – bloody knee/ankle/elbow and sprained ankle).

Cross country is a whole different kettle of fish! Prior to joining the club, I hadn’t done any of this since school, probably pre-2000. But I bought some Mudclaws which my friend Daisy recommended, from the lovely ladies at Running Bear in Alderley Edge ( https://runningbear.co.uk/ ) and dove straight in. I also had a slight midlife crisis and bought some running knickers, and have since obtained the knickname “Knickers girl” from Baz…guess there are worse names 😀 Turns out I’m not too shabby! And somewhat ironically I’m better at staying upright in the slippery mud… Although I didn’t complete all races due to joining part-way through the season, I did help contribute to the ladies team winning North Staffs 2nd division, which was a lovely feeling to have.

Upcoming aims and events include Bowstones NYE fell race (might be more of a steady paced effort due to Rona), Cheshire XC champs on 8th Jan and hopefully my 2nd marathon attempt in October. Otherwise, keep training, trying out different Parkruns and just enjoying it.

So my message to anyone else who is hesitant about joining a local running club is…don’t be! Just get out there and join in. You’ll meet lovely friendly people (in the north, anyway!) and you might just enjoy it 😀