I joined Rogue Running in early July 2012. I think I ran three miles that first day.
My plan back then was to train for the San Antonio Rock and Roll half marathon in November–it was a bucket list thing–then go back to running shorter distances on my own, like I’d been doing the previous year and a half.
Except that I didn’t.
Two months after San Antonio, I ran Austin’s 3M half, improving my time by about 12 minutes. I ran two more half marathons that year, plus two ten-milers and half a dozen 5K/10K races. Clearly, the running bug had gotten me.
And I stayed with Rogue, signing up for consecutive training programs that essentially made Tuesday evening and Saturday morning runs a permanent part of my life. This was new for me–I’ve never been good at sticking with things for very long. As a kid, I tried gymnastics, then ballet, and later, jazz dance. I spent three summers on a diving team and four school years playing the flute, plus a couple of years taking horseback riding lessons. During my teen years, any marathon involved hours of MTV, not exercise. In college I was too busy. And after college, I was too tired. Then came the kid. Definitely too tired.
Running became my midlife crisis hobby.
With Rogue, I made new friends and training partners. I got faster. I bought more running clothes than work clothes. My trips became run-cations. I was healthier than I’d been in years. I found myself thinking a 10K was “only” six miles.
Some days, it was hard. Really hard. On Tuesdays during the school year, I got home from work and had to leave again an hour later for Rogue training runs. Sometimes the workouts took two or more hours (including the warmup, plus stretching and rolling afterward) and I didn’t get home until 8:30 or 9PM. Then, after my weekday 5:30 alarms, I got up at six on Saturday morning for my long runs. For someone who’s chronically short on sleep, one day a week of sleeping in is insufficient.
But I stuck with it. I became a regular at Monday night’s core class. I joined the optional Thursday running group. I signed up for the Fit to Run summer classes. It was a rare training day that I missed–usually because of a work event or kid conflict, never because I just didn’t feel like it.
My pace dropped. I ran a string of PR races. Then after recovering from an injury, I ran some of the worst races of my life. I bounced back again, running more PRs.
The common thread? Rogue Cedar Park, and my Rogue friends and coaches. They pushed me when I needed it, and sent me home early the few times I needed that too. They cheered my successes and sympathized with those personal worsts. They ran in the early morning/dark/heat/rain/blazing sun/ice with me. I was a Rogue.
And I’m still a Rogue, but the parameters are changing. Rogue Running is closing its Cedar Park retail store–our meeting place, our home base–at the end of next week. Training groups will still meet there through September, but after that? We don’t know.
Rogue CP has always been the smaller sibling to the downtown Austin location, and I guess it’s no longer economical to maintain two retail stores. It’s not the first time a running store in Austin has overextended itself and failed. But damn. It’s my Cheers, where everyone knows your name.
I’m not sure I believe in the whole “when one door closes, another door opens” thing, but I’m hoping that like me, Rogue CP bounces back stronger than before. Maybe that’s just the denial stage talking, I don’t know.
We’ve been told the training side will carry on, that they’re trying to find a business to partner with, to lend/lease us space to meet. But even if that pans out, so much will change. No more routes that start out the back door behind HEB (and its stinky dumpster). No more exactly-one-mile-at-the-top-of-the-hill water stop. No more familiarity. Rogue CP is all I’ve ever known, runningwise, and no matter what solutions they find, it will be different.
Right now, I have a lot of unanswered questions, so that makes acceptance more difficult. Will they still hold supported Saturday runs with cold water/gatorade coolers every two miles or so? What about bathrooms, safe places to store our stuff, space for post-run foam rolling and weekly core class? I suppose these questions will answer themselves in time.
It’s been a good run. Four years, almost exactly. The end of one era, and the start of a new one.