Monday, July 5, 2010

You all know and love the FASTies...

Now, allow me to introduce... The Stashies. That's what I'm going to call them, at least. They call themselves Stash's Summer Marathon Training Group. This is much too long of a name for my taste - I could run a mile and a half in the time it takes to say all that. Okay, okay, so that's a slight exaggeration. Nevertheless, it's a pretty lengthy name. So I am renaming them The Stashies. I hope they don't mind.

Let me tell you a bit about the Stashies, and why I joined them.

First of all, I need to make it perfectly clear that this group does not replace FAST. Nothing could ever replace FAST. (And I'm hoping that by saying that, the coaches will go easy on me in our first group run of the new season on Tuesday. *bats eyelashes at the coaches*)

But when one is training for a marathon, one really would like a bit of company on those long runs. One would also like water and Gatorade placed at regular intervals along the route so one does not have to wear one's annoying water bottle holder belt. One would also like the security and peace of mind that comes with knowing someone is out there making sure one gets through one's run okay. And in case it wasn't immediately obvious, one would be me.

Enter the Stashies.

Led by Frank and Kris Stash for many, many years, this group has long run logistics down to a science. All of the running routes are planned out before training starts, and every route is different, so there's quite a bit of variety. There are water stops along each route, and there's even a sag wagon that drives around and picks up runners who are injured, exhausted, etc. The faster runners stick around to high five the slower runners (like me) as they finish. Just like FAST, they are truly a team.

Several of my fellow FASTies are also Stashies (and I actually learned about the Stashies from fellow FASTies, Louisa and Cathy), which has made being a Stashie newbie a lot easier. It's nice to see familiar faces there. Although I'm enjoying getting to know the other Stashies as well. There are some really incredible athletes in this group. Lots of marathoners, yes, but also triathletes. I asked one woman if she was also training for Chicago, and she replied that she's actually training for an Ironman event. *clears throat and acts casual* Oh yeah, me too. *sucks in gut and flexes biceps* I'm going to start training for my 26th Ironman after I finish the Tour de France. True story.

Okay, okay, I've never done an Ironman. And it's possible I've embellished slightly about the Tour de France. Slightly. *quickly changes subject*

So, after I finished my long run with the Stashies on Sunday, we were all standing around and chatting for a bit while getting rehydrated and doing some stretching. The discussion turned to my blog. Some of the Stashies have already discovered it, apparently. Well, I guess I'll have to stop writing mean things about them now.

Just kidding!

I'm not going to stop writing mean things about the Stashies just because they're reading it now.

Kidding again! Really!

I never speak ill of my fellow runners. I may tell funny or mildly embarrassing stories about them, but never anything mean. So relax, Stashies. And please don't kick me out of your group. *begs*

Now, let's talk about the actual run. I really enjoyed this route, and not just because I didn't trip and fall this time. It was a nice loop, with lots of varied scenery and some rolling hills. I felt strong during this run. It was warm, and a little humid, but not as bad as last weekend. Consequently, I ran faster this run, even though the route was hillier. I probably was running a bit too fast in the last 4 miles, but a lot of really good songs were coming up on my iPod and I was in the groove. One thing I have learned over the years is that you should never mess with the groove.

Run graph - click to see it larger.

I'm very much looking forward to next weekend's run with the Stashies. We've got 12 miles planned, which gives me over 2 hours to ponder my next Stashie-related blog post. *rubs hands together evilly*

Peace. Love. Train.

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