Last month, I got an invitation from the Power Milers Track Club. They are a group of fast guys who run in New Orleans, and they had voted to begin including women. The email suggested that we - the group of women invited - join them this week for an introduction to the team and a workout.
Now, don't get me wrong, I was quite excited to receive this invitation. I have sort of been floundering between running groups for years. Some don't fit my schedule, others are too small to have a true sense of camaraderie, and several meet too sporadically to rely on. I run much better with a group, especially a track group: I credit Varsity Sports with a fast few months of workouts that got me from a 3:35 marathon in September to a 3:06 in March, also hitting a 1:30 half in December, down from a 1:36 in October. So was I thrilled with the prospect of a new group? Indeed, but I was also a little unsure. The Power Milers are FAST. Disproportionately fast to me. It's hard to compare men's and women's race times, but I can easily tell you that this group is on a whole 'nother level than I am. However, I hoped that there would be other women within my pace range who would share the mediocrity with me!
Timing of the Tuesday workouts actually fits my work schedule to a T, and I got to the park minutes before the warm up started. We did some quick hello's, but started to jog with little fanfare. I knew almost everyone there already. We did a 2 mile jog, then split up into two workout groups: one on the track, the other a fartlek for runners just getting back into speed work. I joined the track group for a 10k pace workout. The workout was 2x2 miles with 5 minute rest followed by 2x1 mile with 3 minute rest. I was unsure about so much rest, but I'm a rule follower, so far be it from me to question the experts! I didn't have anyone exactly at my pace; I ran near my friend Kim for awhile, but she is just off my pace enough for it to be tough for us to run together (either I won't get a workout in, or she'll be exhausted after one rep). However, the track was crowded with the rest of the group, so it still felt like we were pushing each other. Guys going 5:50 pace swept past me, or during my ample rests I cheered on the large 6 minute group. I liked the workout, rest and all, but I was a little rusty. It's been a long time since I've done a non-Hanson's track workout - months and months and months - and I really only just got back to short, easy running after the marathon. However, my pace was pretty consistently 6:35, which I was happy with (my first 1-mile rep was faster than my second, but otherwise consistent).
After the workout, we cooled down for a total of 9 miles for the day, then met back for beer. Never tasted better, people. It is already warm and humid here, and that hit the spot! I was happy I came out to join these guys, and I hope I can continue to work out with them in the future. I need someone to whip me into shape, and I need a group to keep me company while I do it!