The last two weeks have been a lot of short, easy runs for me, punctuated by days of no running at all. And while I can say with certainty that I am recovering significantly faster post-marathon this year compared to last, I haven’t exactly been feeling 100%.
My runs generally unfold like this: I start out running a nice, easy pace, moving almost gingerly and anticipating the post-race soreness. After about half a kilometer, feeling no discomfort, my stride opens up, and I begin to run at my normal, pre-marathon pace. And within a few minutes, like clockwork, my legs start shutting down.
The dead legs have been gradually improving, but nevertheless, it’s frustrating to be out there on the roads with such a keen awareness of my own limitations. I know that recovery takes patience. I know that I’m making progress. But I’ve been missing the feeling of going out there and pushing myself.
Tonight, I got that feeling back.
I’m a solo runner. I have a great group of running friends, and a big running family, but by and large I like to log my miles alone. Running offers a sort of escape, a sacred time set aside for solitude and introspection, and I don’t often like to share that time with other people. But because of this, I sometimes forget about all the benefits that come with running with a group. Chief among them: they can shake you out of a rut.
Tonight was supposed to be a nice, easy, long-ish run. Anywhere from 8-10K was the goal. But even though dead-leg-syndrome didn’t really set in, the run was feeling a bit like a slog. Until, with about 2.5K to go, I ran right into the Night Terrors.
If you’ve never heard of them, the Night Terrors Run Crew is a crew (surprise!) of runners (didn’t see that coming!) who run at night (plot twist!) in Toronto’s west end (okay, that part isn’t exactly self-evident). Their group caters to all level of runner, from the seasoned and experienced to those just getting started. They also have a pretty killer Instagram.
Running into NTRC was a sweet stroke of luck tonight. In a moment, my run went from a slog to an adventure. With the help of a few familiar faces, a bunch of new ones, and a strong group to help push me along, I went from a dreary 8K to an energized 14. I felt like myself again, running tonight.
I may be a solo runner most days, but even I get a boost from running with a crew. And in a broader sense, I get a lot out of the running community in this city. I moved to Toronto three years ago, and for me, it’s only been in the past six months that the city has started to feel like home. I owe a great deal of that feeling to the amazing runner pals I’ve met through Canada Running Series and groups like NTRC.
So to all you Night Terrors: thanks for letting me tag along tonight. You helped me get some miles in the legs, shake off the last cobwebs of the post-marathon recovery, and chat with some pretty awesome runners along the way. Running into you guys by accident was pretty sweet. I can only imagine how much fun I’ll have when I run into you on purpose.
Chase big dreams.