Ten weeks down and only two more training runs before the Parkersburg News and Sentinel Half Marathon. If you'd told me in April that I'd be running a half marathon in August, I would have laughed in your face, then encouraged you to seek medical attention.
This week's run was the 10- mile loop through South Parkersburg, but I was in Cleveland, so my run consisted of my old neighborhood and all the sights and sounds I grew up around. My run was a pleasant change of scenery, but I missed the group dynamic.
As I've detailed in past articles, I am neither a fast nor consistent runner. My pace is rarely even but always slow. I recall on one run in particular as I was crossing the bridge into Belpre for the first time, club members were running back in the opposite direction, already well over two-thirds finished with the run. I was barely at three miles; they were hitting mile seven. I know what you're thinking, and that's not an exaggeration, that happened. Luckily, by this time I'd already come to grips with the fact that millions of people run faster than I do, so I wasn't discouraged.
As a handful of club members crossed the bridge back into Parkersburg at different paces, just about each one smiled and encouraged me. 'Good job, Erin,' 'keep it up,' 'way to go,' 'think of what you can eat for dinner tonight,' 'don't stop now, just a little further,' the last being a blatant lie, but a welcome nnonetheless.
You'll also remember from articles past that I'm a homebody. There isn't a day that I wouldn't rather sleep in, watch Netflix, and hang out with my husband and cat, than do just about anything else. So, as I Google mapped my long solo run, my laziness level climbed and I started my streaming lists of why missing one run wasn't going to kill me, chronicling all the things I could be doing instead of running, and working to convince myself that I'd just work extra hard during the week.
Ten miles on my own, back in Cleveland, under the northeastern Ohio sun, felt longer than the 13.1 miles with the club. The River City Runners and Walkers Club is one of best groups I've ever belonged to. The support, the encouragement, the smiles, high fives, and pats on the back, it all helps make runs more enjoyable and feel less daunting.
When I began running with the RCRW, I hadn't run five miles straight in over two years, and I'd never completed a half marathon. Never once did an existing member look at me and make me feel like what I was attempting to do was impossible. I never felt like the underdog, I never felt like I was on the fringe, and I never felt like the club doubted my potential for success.
If you're looking for a way to get active and be supported no matter your fitness level, or already lead a really active lifestyle but want some friends to run with, I can think of no greater group then the River City Runners and Walkers. To all my RCRW club members, thank you for supporting me, encouraging me, and believing in me. You've been the difference between success and quitting.