I have trained alone my entire running career because I enjoy the personal time. However, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I had heard countless testimonials on how fun it was to run with a group. After hearing about The Scout Running Club with its free Tuesday night 5K runs, free food, and giveaways, I gave it a go this evening.
I was looking forward to meeting other runners, and I was definitely ready for a change of scenery from my usual routes spanning the West Loop. The route that the group run takes affords spectacular views of the Chicago city skyline. The weather was beautiful, too - temps in the upper 50s, no wind. Perfect night for a run.
The pace group I wanted to run with was long gone by then, so I went with the next departing group. Unfortunately it was a pace group that was a good 2 minutes per mile faster than me, but I didn't have much choice at that point. Sadly, this was pretty much my worst case scenario. Since I'm a pretty slow runner, my biggest concern with group runs is that I will get left behind. Sure enough, as soon as the group started, I fell behind in a cloud of dust.
I ended up running almost the entire 5K by myself. After finishing, I went back to the bar/restaurant where they had salad, pasta, and water for us. After waiting in a long line to get food, I came back out to find that every single table was completely full and there was no place to sit. Again it seemed like every table was jammed with people that already knew each other. I made a few circles looking for a place to sit or a table to join, but there was literally nothing. Again feeling awkward, I found a few square feet of empty space and ate standing up. I wasn't in the mood to try to break into one of the tables of people to try to introduce myself and make conversation. Certainly nobody seemed interested in trying to draw me into any of their conversations, either. At that point, I decided to leave.
Additionally, I didn't like how the slower pace groups started first. In races, the faster pace groups always go first so that there isn't congestion on the course or at the post-race food lines. Having the faster pace groups start last resulted in lots of passing and a long line for food. Admittedly, there probably would have been a long line regardless, since there were so many people there. Either way, though, it wasn't fun when there wasn't even enough room for me to find a place to sit, let alone the dozens of people that had been standing in line behind me.