When I was asked to join a Run Club last year I had to weigh the pros and cons before committing:
Pro: I love to run…especially at night.
Con: I usually ran alone to the beats of my hip-hop jams.
Pro: I’m a social butterfly. Let’s face it; I’ve been known to make friends at the post office, in line at the DMV, at an eye doctor’s appointment. That’s how I roll. I like people and I believe “strangers are just friends waiting to happen.”
Con: It’s not easy to be the new girl in a group of ladies that already know each other.
Pro: Group members mentioned something about drinking beer after they run.
SOLD. I decided to lace up and give it a shot.
I should preface this by saying that I am not a competitive person by nature. I am the girl who cheers for the opposing team if they are the underdog. I’m likely to pass you the ball to take the game winning shot. I’d stop mid-race to help a stranger. I’ve only ever been interested in competing with myself. So the idea of joining a group of women that trains for races seemed intimidating. I liked the idea of being able to challenge my mileage, train throughout the winter, tackle new terrain and, of course, meet new peeps. But as I headed out I remember thinking, “Am I going to be able to keep up?” “Were these girls going to be super-competitive?” “Can I outrun a large bear?”
These ladies definitely brought it. They were not only bad-ass runners but also genuinely kind, loyal and amazing girls. I quickly learned that the first rule of Run Club is that we are all here for each other, not against each other. The second rule, as promised, is you better be prepared to enjoy some brewskies after running. After that…well there are no more rules…just run. Even though we all hail from different towns, careers, and places in life we share a common bond in our love to run, a good drink, and in supporting each other (like a good sports bra.)
Being in a group of women who are competitive, but not with each other, is a rare and wonderful thing. If one of us has a race coming up, we can count on the others for encouragement (and an occasional inappropriate sign) to keep us motivated. We’ve been known to rock tutus, run up bar tabs, share troubles and celebrate joys. We can talk babies, work stress, and relationships in the same breath as running shoes, calf strains and GUU gel. We’ve pounded the pavement after hours in rain, humidity, snow, and a 14-degree polar vortex. We’ve shared many laughs along the way, like that time one girl’s eye swelled to three times its size when a bug flew in it at mile 4. Oh wait, that was me. Truth be told, we’ve probably landed in as many medical tents as beer tents but always with a good story to share.
These girls have been there to encourage me through tough times on the road (damn you hills of Boston) but also in my life. They are the type of girls who will be there at the finish line with cheers, hugs and cowbell, if needed. We show up week after week with our headlamps and orange shirts for more than just a run. We show up for each other. The miles seem a little shorter, the wintry runs a little warmer, and the beer always tastes better with the “Bad Ass Runners” Club Girls.