Thank goodness for Fred.
It was our second group run, and Group 7 had swelled to about 15 people, most first-nighters, heading out from the lot at Thursday evening for a 30-minute jaunt.
Pam, Lynn and I were all there for a second session of the six-week , along with our fearless leaders, Jen, Jeff and Peggy. Among those joining in Week 2 were:
- David, who ran a 5K "about 15 years ago"
- Angela, who was persuaded by Lynn to join up (and told me after that she was so pumped she was ready to go home and "do some ab exercises")
- Michelle, a group leader who started out just a year ago training in the Couch to 5K program and returned to help us newbies.
- Jennifer and her daughter, Lauren, a fifth-grader. Jennifer's husband runs marathons and encouraged Jennifer to join the program when she expressed an interest in trying out running for herself.
And then there was Fred.
I'm really sorry I don't have a last name for Fred. You see, journalistic rules go out the window when you are gasping for your next breath. By the time I'd caught my breath in the lot afterward, he was gone.
During our run, Fred was effortlessly striding ahead. He'd then make sure traffic stopped for all of us who were focusing so much on our next steps we barely paid attention to cars and trucks making turns as we crossed intersections and driveways. If not for Fred, I'd probably be dead.
And Fred also struck up a conversation with me just as we hit a killer hill (OK, not so killer, but you gotta remember I'm STILL in really rotten shape, so a gentle incline counts as killer at this point).
He asked me about my Ohio State Buckeyes red T-shirt, the one that always elicits comments. Fred, it turns out, has a brother who attended OSU, as I did. He also has run several half-marathons, including three Detroit Free Press halfs and a Brooksie. But he enjoys the group dynamic, he said, so he runs with this group even though it's clear he's far from a newbie. He was great enough to slow his stride and run with me up that hill.
When Fred wasn't there, Jen was. Or Peggy. Or Lynn. Jeff, Dave, Michelle, Angela. Running as a group is a bit like experiencing peer pressure, but in a positive way. "They're all still running, I can't stop now!" Running on my own during the week tested me mightily, but the 30-minute group run, although tiring, was inspiring.
Finishing up, I was sore, tired, and the last couple of minute runs were tough. But on the whole, I felt better than a week ago, and not quite so wiped out when I got home. My GPS showed we'd gone 2.2 miles. The leaders left us all with instructions to "do your homework," and offered to run on off days with us or get groups together to do so. Is that cool, or what?
Moms in training
Lynn Foss of Rochester Hills and Angela Coventry of Auburn Hills, both 37-year-old moms of small children, said they felt energized after the 30-minute "run" (remember, it's a 1 minute walk/1 minute jog interval program).
"I did track in junior high – that was the last time I ran," said Coventry, who has two children, 3 and 6 years old. Exercise now? "I push my kids in the stroller, and they are obviously getting too old for that."
Foss, whose children are 5 and 2, said she's doing this to "inspire my kids and show them that exercise is something you practice just like everything else."
Foss said she did all her "homework" in the past week, but that she'll need to find ways this week to incorporate her children more creatively into the process because chasing after them while trying to do training runs proved exhausting.
Her goal? "I plan at this point to run more than one 5K this summer."
Foss said she and Coventry did some weight lifting last week to cross-train – and the two women plan to continue doing that and possibly add some core exercises as well.
The next week
Training this week includes runs and walks of 25 minutes on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, with cross-training for 35 to 40 minutes Tuesday. Wednesday is "rest day" before the next group run – which will be 30 to 35 minutes!
And next week, for our three-week celebration, there will be Popsicles, said our fearless leader, Jen.