My blogging lately has revolved around two topics - my bum foot and my running with BOMF. Don't have much else to talk about today. If I dwell on my foot, I'll whine some more about my half-fast running. Circumstance here haven't changed much.
That leaves BOMF
. This is now my second week of getting up earlier to meet in SW Philly at Outley House at 5:45 to run with a group of folks. I don't know much about Outley other than it is a shelter on the magnitude of 200-300 beds with a therapeutic component to it. Somewhere I heard referred to as a "rehab shelter". A group of mostly guys, about 10-15, staying at the shelter and a few "non-residential" runners meet and we go run. I had initially thought of this as a good way to get mileage on my easy days, but recently these "easy" days have become my hard days and I've cut back on my mileage by biking to Outley.
A week in, I've already figured how to time my arrival to avoid most of the stretching that they do before the run (I'm already warmed up when I get down there) but have gotten there in time for a huddle to recite the Serenity Prayer, 12 step style, before heading out to run. I've been running with whoever is in front of the pack, which has worked well in that its been different people on each run. Runs have been anywhere from 3-6 miles.
The running is different than other group running I've done. Some of it is obviously the socioeconomics, but it is also due to most of the people there not having been involved in running that long. Both those factors create an absence of little nuanced running-related things that I only notice in their absence, and make me realize how homogeneous the typical running groups are, and how even the most friendly running groups can be intimidating to the uninitiated. It's hard to pin down, and I'll write more about it in some future post when I can offer more specifics.
But in writing this I realize that is the difference of this group, that it is a running group less socialized to the running "norms" of the masses and leaves me feeling the outsider. The run today was down the Cobbs Creek bikeway to Baltimore Ave, about 2.5 miles, and back. Reese and I started at a steady pace that from his breathing I didn't think he'd maintain. We were joined about a mile and a half by "Cheeks", who caught up to us for a bit and promptly started walking. Following this the pace undulated somewhat between faster and slower, with Cheeks either falling back and catching up or running ahead and walking until we caught up. We'd run as a threesome at times and at other times there would be a good spread between us. The running paralleled the way I was feeling - alternately connected and disjointed. Reese thanked me for slowing down to run with them, something I hate when people do because, I think, I feel their discomfort where I feel there shouldn't be any. If I wanted to run faster I'd have run faster. I started to explain this but couldn't find the words to do so. So I let it drop.
New situations bring out the sociologist in me. I'm very aware that I'm still new to this scene so I largely take it in and try to figure it out and where I belong in things. And I heed some other 12-step advice, to keep coming back.
As a postscript, I ran 5.5 miles around the Art Museum loop yesterday, took Saturday off and ran 6 miles up and down Woodland Ave on Friday. Yesterday's run felt fine but subsequent frisbee tossing and apple picking got my foot worked up again. It didn't feel bad after this morning's five, however. Go figure.