I joined my first Rogue training group after I decided to train for the San Antonio Rock and Roll Half Marathon, but I missed the group’s first Tuesday night workout and Saturday long run because I was traveling with my family. Instead, I kept up with the training schedule by running the little cruise ship track (seven laps to the mile!) over and over. So technically my first “date” with Rogue was July 17, 2012.
Five years ago.
So let’s take a little walk down memory lane, shall we?
On September 8, 2012 I ran ten miles–double digits–for the first time.
And on November 11, 2012, I completed my first half-marathon.
What happened next–even moreso than finishing that race–changed the trajectory of my running life. I originally planned to run one half-marathon as a bucket-list thing, then return to shorter distances. But while I achieved my original goal, I felt like I had more left to prove. And to my surprise, I realized I enjoyed what I was doing! So when several people from my San Antonio group jumped over to the 3M/Austin half group to continue training, I joined them.
At this point, I fell in-step (literally) with a group of similarly-paced women. Little did I know they would become more than my long-run company. They took on the roles of shenanigan partners, sign-up-for-that-race enablers, race carpoolers, and biggest cheerleaders.
Mile after mile, through bad weather and illnesses, chatter, laughter, and silence, we dealt with disappointments and celebrated firsts, PRs, new shoes, and life moments. Sometimes we only started together, then caught up when we each finished. And we started the all-important post-run coffee date tradition.
My son ran his first half-marathon accompanied by Rogue friends. He didn’t always run my pace, but several Rogues tag-teamed along the way to make sure he followed the course and was hanging in there with the distance.I can’t count the number of people who have pushed me to run better, stronger, faster. Friends who pace me during a race, jump back in to a race they’ve completed to help me finish strong, even fly in from halfway across the country to help me PR a goal race. Friends who could kick back and drop their own mileage, but they stick to my training schedule to help me prepare for a big race. Then there are the coaches who devise
One time, four of us formed a team to run a relay race. Yeah, we were the slowest team out there, but I’m proud of the fact that after three of us ran our individual segments, we joined our fourth partner (who was recovering from a serious illness) for her final leg so that she wouldn’t be out there alone. Another time they had to wait for me because I was sick post-race. Technically they were stuck because no one else could drive my stick-shift car, but I still love them for sitting with me in the medical tent area until I felt better. And I’ll never forget trying to run 3M undertrained, injured, and miserable, buoyed by a series of friends running with me, then handing me off to a small group waiting at the finish line.
Many runners find success training on their own, and I occasionally enjoy a solo run too. But I couldn’t have done the work to finish my first half-marathon, let alone run 14 more, if it weren’t for these folks.
Although one specific person inspired me to start running and I put in the work to stick with it long-term, I found it easier to show up week after week thanks to my training partners. Those days when the weather was bad, I thought, “well, Rogues run in the rain” and I showed up. When I got home from work, exhausted from cumulative lack of sleep and wanted to skip a workout, I knew someone was waiting to run with me, and I showed up. When a long-distance BRF texted me every day to ask how my run went, I showed up so I could give her an answer, not an excuse. When one of my coaches called me “tough” or praised my efforts after a difficult workout, I knew I had to live up to their opinions of me, and I kept showing up.
Change is inevitable–I’ve worked with six or eight different Rogue coaches, and runners move in and out of training groups depending on their goals. In the last year we’ve also had to adapt to a new training location, which meant new routes. Some friends have taken a training break (I miss you!) and new friends have joined us. Recently my workouts moved from Tuesdays to Thursdays, and we spend every other week at the track. I won’t lie–juggling the changes has not always been easy, and I’ve worried about Rogue CP as an entity–I still do, sometimes. But I have no doubt that the reason I’m still running half-marathons five years after my first training run is the camaraderie–and accountability–of Rogue, my friends, and the running community.
So cheers to my five-year Rogue-iversary, and to all the friends I’ve made along the way.