This morning we successfully kicked-off Cherry Blossom 10-miler training at Reston Potomac River Running. As I was getting dressed this morning, I wasn't sure that we were really running. The welcome letter described our session as an informal kick-off followed by an optional run. What did "optional" run mean to people? I knew it was cold out (around 20 degrees) and that the trail where we would usually run was still iced over. So I put on all of my cold-weather gear, but wasn't sure if I would walk into a room full of people who were similarly dressed or not.
I needn't have wondered - this was a crowd of people who were ready to run! I think there were about 40 of us, and everyone was dressed for the weather. We checked in with the coaches and then Head Coach Shannon Scalan (who could be a stand-up comedian if she wanted to) spoke with us about the program, what to expect, how to be safe on the trails.
Then she encouraged us to make new friends while we ran and helped us split up into slower and faster runners. It was such a relief to me to see so many of us head to the back of the store where the 10-12 minute runners were connecting. We exchanged names and there was some discussion about layers and socks and gloves as we all geared up to head out into the cold. Since the trail was indeed iced over, we were going to run laps around Reston Town Center.
We headed out and I waited for my garmin to connect to the satellites. It did not connect. I watched the group head off without me and flailed my arm around in the sky to get a signal. It still did not connect. But I was not alone! I met a runner named Nina and her garmin was working. She suggested we run together and rely on hers.
We ran three laps around the town center for a total of 3.7 miles in 46 minutes. We fell into an easy conversation about running, work, and life in general. Nina has run the Cherry Blossom 5 or 6 times, the GW Parkway Classic a couple of times, and has run the Chicago Marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon, and the Savannah marathon. I learned a lot listening to her talk about her various race experiences and everything she has learned from training with PR over the last decade or so. I was grateful for the company and the information, and Nina was great about slowing down or walking when I needed a break. And I could tell she runs for the enjoyment of running, which is always great to see. I felt lucky and inspired to be running with her.
Afterwards we stopped back at the store to check out with the coaches. Shannon suggested that I connect my garmin to my computer and check for any firmware updates, especially since this was the second week in a row that I had satellite connection problems. There are tall building in the town center that sometimes cause problems, but last week we were on the trail where there shouldn't have been any issues. Sure enough, there was a firmware update that I hadn't installed, and hopefully that solves the problem. I get very frustrated when technology doesn't work the way it is supposed to!
Later tonight we should get our training plan and I am really looking forward to seeing everything laid out in a fancy excel spreadsheet!