Today marks week one of an 18-week marathon (and half-marathon) training program managed and coached by A Running Conversation and sponsored by Peak Performance Multisport in Portland, Maine. Forty people have registered! Isn't that awesome? There is definitely no recession in participation in running and triathlon. I actually think it's growing.
Of the 40, 26 runners showed up today for the kick-off Sunday group run. The group will meet every Sunday for the progressively longer run. We'll vary the meeting places and courses, and some weekends will include races. During the week, runners follow their personal schedules. A handful of the runners are coming out of various walk/jog programs, many are looking to "get back into" running, most are running either distance for the first time. To say the least, this is a refreshing group! I am looking forward to the weeks ahead.
On the other side of the same running coin, I had an experience today that left me feeling, well, honored, I guess. I'm not entirely sure of the feeling, maybe it's just lucky, and when I told my husband about it I prefaced it with, "I know this is dorky, but..."
He and I were out running after the group run, when we came across two local running friends. We joined them for about three and a half miles, chatted and caught up on things. One of these women is, in my opinion, a near world-class runner. Sheri Piers ran in the 2008 Olympic Team Trials last year, in a personal record 2:38:45; this year in Boston she bested that in 2:37:04, finishing in the 11th spot overall. Yesterday, she ran a personal record 5K at Freihofer's in New York, beating Maine's other legendary runner. She is a rockin' runner!
Fully-rooted in Maine, out for an easy run in the 'hood, and as nice and approachable as anyone I've ever met (I really like her) I feel...is it star-struck? I don't know. I am fascinated but I fully understand what it takes to get where she is. She works damn hard and is fully committed to it. I feel total respect for that. I guess it is just lucky...and dorky.
Here's to the marathon training season, and appreciating all the amazing runners - whether new or veteran - that we get to witness, in pursuit of their goals.