This is the deathless phrase uttered by a friend at the end of tonight’s adventure.
I tried very hard to nod and make ‘serious noises’ (fortunately I was ensconced in darkness in the back of the car on the way home, and my shocked grins were hidden) but…wow!
I also had to try pretty hard not to blurt out something along the lines of “Well sure, but I’d probably appreciate some knickers, and perhaps some outer-wear, too – I daresay the general public would thank me, and I’d be a lot warmer…”
But it wasn’t that kind of a moment, you see, I was amongst rogers.
For anyone not familiar with the Wakefield Doctrine, pop on over and take a short crash-course in the personality theory of clarks (outsiders, thinkers), scotts (predators, act-ers) and rogers (group members, feel-ers).
Anyone who’s been around the ol’ blog lately will know that I’ve been on a get-fit kick. A pretty serious one, which is having some amazing results. I’m beginning to feel less like The Fat Kid, and more like a reasonably-sized, good-at-sports kinda gal. Which is a first.
So as a ‘next step’ and to begin the serious business of really, properly paying attention to training for that London Marathon I’m so keen to do, I’ve finally gotten my act together and responded to an old invitation to join a local running club.
Apart from the obvious benefits (safety in numbers, other people to plan the route, potential new friends, more experienced runners to learn from), there was one thing which had been vaguely putting me off.
It’s all about the rogers. Because what could be MORE herd-like than a group of women, all in their fancy-schmancy running shoes and high-vis vests, pounding the tarmac together through the city streets.
Nothing, I tell ya!
And because I’m a clark (outsider, over-thinker and kook) it felt for a long time like ‘not my cup of tea’. But I relish a challenge (both physically and, er, character-istically(?)) I went tonight for the first time. Alone (natch).
I jogged there, not to be masochistic, but because I couldn’t work out what I’d do with my bike lights (not wanting them stolen from the bike) if I cycled, and not wanting to presume that there’d be a person there who’d be willing to pop them into their car for the duration of the run (such a clark!). So I arrived all hot and sweaty and out of breath, wearing my usual running attire of natty old vest top and far-too-big-now jogging bottoms (way to make a great first impression…)
I stood in the appointed place, in a building I didn’t know, and I waited.
And in dribs and drabs (and mostly in twos or threes), the
rogers runners arrived.
In their posh running shorts and fancy ‘breathable’ running tops, and high-visibility jackets, and ohhhh dear!
They looked SO cool, calm, perfectly-outfitted, collected and they just absolutely fit the part.
I looked like I’d rolled in from the back end of some nasty sweat-shop.
They were really, really lovely though.
The lady in charge introduced me to everyone, and they all smiled and said “Hello” (and yes, I smiled and said it back – and meant it – the introduction to the group is a key moment!) and whilst being introduced, a scott bounced up to me like a mad, dizzy puppy, and welcomed me to the group and told me that she’d forget my name in moments, all in one breath, and I began to relax. This might be the domain of the herd, but they were an inclusive bunch, and there would surely be room for me.
Then they made my night by explaining that The Kit Lady would be here soon, and could furnish me with my very own high-vis vest.
She arrived soon (along with the friend who’d originally invited me, I was pleased (and relieved) to see), shook my hand and went straight back to her car to fetch the vest. Even said I can pay her next week for it.
So I put it on, and began to relax – I looked like one of them now. I belonged.
There were about 30 of us, and we split into a ‘faster’ and a ‘slower’ group. I opted for the slower, because no WAY did I feel confident about trying to fit in with the throwaway remarks about the faster group “Yeah, they’re mostly doing 8-minute miles. Or less”
Not gonna happen!
And off we went! I chatted to my friend at first, then she fell behind. I then struck up conversation with another runner. And we ran and chatted for a while. Then she fell behind. I fixed my eyes on the front runners and used my awesomely well-developed sense of stubbornness to keep pace with them (well, near them) and as runners moved around the herd, I chatted with several new people, nicely, didn’t alienate myself at all, and I even felt accepted by them, as they applauded my ability to keep going. I explained that it had made all the difference to have more capable runners to try to keep up with, and they all nodded knowingly and looked pleased.
I finished second of the group, in our five mile run. In possibly a shade under an hour. With hills.
Then they invited me back next week. And ongoingly.
I’m in with the running rogers, and I love it.