Phil and I went along to the Hamilton Hawks evening run after work tonight. Phil's been once before, but I missed it because I was in Rotorua for work.
For those of you who haven't who been around since 2005, this was by no means my first foray into club running, so I thought I knew what to expect. I ran with Wellington Scottish (aka best, most awesome running club in NZ) for a couple of seasons when I first started running, and tried my best to maintain my links with them when I started finding Saturday runs more difficult to fit around work and my long Sunday marathon runs.
... but it turns out that the Hawks' Thursday night run was a far cry from my Scottish mid week runs. When I turned up, I noticed a whole lotta tights, compression sleeves and compression socks, and a whole lot of dudes. There were maybe 5 women there, with an average weight of 40-something kilos, and an average body fat percentage of about 12%.
I realised pretty quickly that I wouldn't be able to stick with the group, so just took off and let myself drift back. Before too long, I met an injured ultra marathoner who was kind enough to run with me, a good few minutes behind the rest of the pack, and a hundred metres or so behind the tail end charlie. But it was a mixed blessing, as my new friend's "easy, lagging, recovery" pace was a little over 5:00/ks, even on the undulating course.
I let my ego get the better of me, and, miraculously managed to bluff it for the 7-odd ks we ran togetherjust well enough to hold a semi-comfortable conversation, without puffing too much.
We finished the loop at an average pace of about 5:15/k (AHR 173), and I jogged back for about ten minutes to find Phil, bringing my average pace and HR to more sensible levels.
So, won't be doing that again! (but I am secretly happy that I could hold a semi-respectable pace while chatting and running some wee hills....)