My running crew

My sister and I are creatures of habit. We know if we want to run our best we need to do an interval workout at least once a week. We live near each other and have similarly busy lives, and since misery loves company, we started doing these workouts together every Wednesday morning at 5:30 a.m. (the only time we had). This was about three years ago. Once we started we just kept up our pattern. Every Wednesday morning – rain or shine, even through the darkest, iciest, coldest winter mornings, we would meet and run hill repeats or hard intervals together.

My loyal workout buddy doing hills at 5:30 a.m. in January

My loyal workout buddy doing hills at 5:30 a.m. in January

One day we thought it would be nice to have some more company. So we started telling people it was fun. If we heard that someone was a runner and lived nearby, we immediately tried to sell them on the idea of joining us at 5:30 a.m. We got a few out – one very consistently, so we became a bit of a trio for a year. Sometimes there were four of us, so we started calling ourselves a “running crew”. Then we used the warmer months to bring more people in. More stayed on. Amazingly we went through the next winter with some freezing workouts bringing as many as six runners out.

It has now been just over two years since we started our “running crew”, and we have a group of up to sixteen runners (we average about 8-10 people per workout) who meet to do hills or repeats ranging from 400 m to a mile every Wednesday at 5:30 a.m. Bodies converge at our meeting place in the dark, a few pleasantries are shared, we wait a few minutes for those we know are making their way over, I go over the workout and we jump in. We don’t talk much – there’s not usually enough time or oxygen for small talk. We bond through the shared experience of waking up in the dark and working our butts off to get faster. We’re all moms and dads, although that’s not a prerequisite for our group. There are no prerequisites, running credentials or membership dues required: you just have to show up and run. However, we are the ones for whom 5:30 a.m. seems like a great idea, because it’s the only window which works. Once we’re finished, we don’t hang around and enjoy our post-workout buzz. We hurry home quickly to start our busy days. Our crew contains teachers, a firefighter, business VPs, directors and managers, a doctor, sales and marketing executives, entrepreneurs. Some of us have gotten deep into professional careers and are now focusing on raising families (I suspect these are the busiest amongst us!)

Definitely not making small talk at the top of a hill repeat

Definitely not making small talk at the top of a hill repeat

We’ve managed to get together for a few social events and sometimes a few of us can even coordinate busy weekend schedules to do long runs together. It turns out I really like these bodies in the dark who run, sweat, grunt, gasp and spit beside me on early Wednesday mornings. Who would have guessed? I’m glad my sister and I told them it was fun – I think some of them may now actually be starting to believe us.

Enjoying a mid-morning pint together after the STWM Half Marathon

Enjoying a mid-morning pint together after the STWM Half Marathon

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