I did it. I went to the first class of my Learn to Run clinic at the Running Room. That's a big feat. I won't lie. I waffled about going. However, I dragged my butt off the couch, gave up watching the Canada vs. New Zealand game live and headed off. Our instructor, Myles, is really nice and very understanding about my slow pace. I decided to get in touch with him ahead of time, mainly to give him a heads up as to just how slow I am and share the bad experience I had at the last clinic I signed up for. When I got to the store, I was happy to see the class was made up of mostly women, around my age, and many of them were of a similar size. I was thrilled. Finally! I won't be the only person at the back of the pack - at least one of these other women must surely run as slow as I do (about half didn't have any running experience). I was mistaken.
It became apparent as we walked to Saskatchewan Drive and across 109 Street that I was going to be left in the dust again. Our casual warm up was practically a speed walking session (at least compared to my pace) and I half ran to keep up. After Myles gave us a quick pep talk and assurances that we were here to run but also have fun, we were off. Within 30 seconds, I was already separate from the group. EVERYONE was running at about the same speed except me. I tried not to get discouraged and took it as a sign to push myself a little and try to keep up. That didn't work. By the fourth interval, my legs started protesting and there was no way I was going to catch them. Myles and the group were really good about trying not to "lose me" too badly. If they got too far ahead, when it came time to walk, he'd have them turn around and start walking back towards me.
It felt great to get out and run again, even if I felt like the world's oldest turtle at times. I'm fine with my pace, really I am. I actually prefer to run by myself and let my mind wander but when I'm supposed to be part of a group and I can't keep up to hear what the instructor is talking about, it bothers me a bit. And while everyone, including Myles, seemed to be very considerate and understanding, we're only at R1W2s. When we get to R3 or R4, that's going to put a greater distance between me and the rest of the group. I can't imagine that they will be as understanding when they have to keep turning around every time we go out. Oh well, we shall see how things go. Next week, I'm bringing my watch with me so I can keep track of when to run and when to walk. Our course along Saskatchewan Drive took us through a few trees and around a couple of blind corners. Twice I lost sight of the group and wasn't sure when to stop running or to start.
One of my big concerns is that the class is going to advance to the next level before I'm ready. When I was running on my own prior to the 10K last year, I was using the basic Learn to Run program but gave myself extra time at each level before advancing. I wouldn't force myself to move ahead until my body felt ready. And then, between levels I added an extra to help with the transition. For example, after conquering R2W1 and before moving onto R3W1, I did a few runs at R3W2 to help my body adjust. It worked wonders, at least for me. I don't get that option in my running clinic.
I figure I will keep going to the clinic as long as I can (ie. as long as my legs/lungs/heart hold up) and if it gets to be too quick of a progression, I can go out on my own. However, I will not give up just yet.
FYI, that first run was tough on my legs, hips and back (remember I pushed myself faster than I would have run on my own) but I felt great, albeit tired, by the time I got home. I won't be heading to the free run club tomorrow as it'll be difficult to get there on time without bringing my gear to work (not something I want to do) so I'll do my run in my neighbourhood. Can't wait to test out my new Mizunos!