Group Practice #4
3 miles on the schedule
Step Back Week
Start time: 7:00 AM
For our step back week we gathered at a park that has received low rankings in our past seasons as a training spot. But we thought since it was such a short run, we could make it work. The problem was that in past seasons, we usually left from this park and ran on sidewalks and had to cross streets at stoplights and there was more traffic along the road. This time we had the group run the 1.2 mile loop around a water retention basin twice, followed up with one loop around the 1/2 mile track inside the park. And I got a lot of positive feedback from people, especially from those who had done past seasons with us. Many of those participants said, “Why didn’t we run this route when we were here before? This is kind of nice.” Simple answer… I just didn’t think of it. I had run with a friend (or friends) from that park several times and when it was just the two of us (or 6 of us) it doesn’t seem as bad to deal with the cross streets… but it’s definitely an issue when you send 100+ people out.
I love the sight of my whole crew cruising along the path, but it’s also a little bit of a hazard. Some are still running in tightly clustered groups (glad you’re making friends!) or they are wearing headphones with the volume up too loud. They don’t hear me when I run next to them to ask how things are going and they don’t hear other runners or cyclists yell “On your left!” at times. That concerns me. I know some Team Challenge groups around the country have banned headphones at practice. I’m not ready to take that stance, but I am concerned by the number of people who seem completely oblivious to their surroundings. (Seriously, this is a case for the One Good Earbud people!)
Another reason we chose this park is that we had a big pavilion that we could gather in for pre-mileage announcements/clinic as well as holding our Honoree breakfast. Well, the running store that was going to come for our clinic on performance fueling/hydration had to cancel. And the Honoree breakfast was canceled because our Honoree is sick.
This just breaks my heart so much. Our Honoree Ashley has been good at coming out to support the team at trainings and information meetings, despite battling Crohn’s disease and feeling REALLY ill. We gave all of our team members a copy of Ashley’s bio at the beginning of the season, so they had a face to put with these horrible diseases. (There are quite a few people who sign up just to help a good cause, without having a personal connection to IBD, which is amazing. But by the end of the season, they all have personal connections.) Ashley has been battling for her life for over a decade and she is only 24-years-old. She has been hospitalized 42 times since 2005. Well, that’s probably higher now since she was just in the hospital again, due to her compromised immune system she came down with pneumonia and whooping cough. She’s out of the hospital but she is isolated from most people because she’s contagious, plus she can’t afford to pick up any new germs.
So of course, we rescheduled the Honoree breakfast for later in the season when Ashley can make it!
Ashley’s awesome boyfriend Walter has been coming to several practices and taking photos. He is an amateur photographer and his photos are so much better than mine that are snapped while I’m running along with the team! It’s been fun to get his photos added into the mix!
Next weekend the team gets their first evening training experience!