Last Wednesday when I showed up at the local running store for the organized evening workout, the owner was directing people down to the basement. I looked at him quizzically, but he assured me that I was suposed to descend into the store's bowels as well. Waiting beneath were complete outfits (donated by Nike) for running: a bra-top (singlets for the guys), shorts and a rain jacket. The price tags totalled to $200 (though not sure anyone would ever pay that much, especially with the Nike outlet so close!). I have won a few free things before, but mostly I get my running gear the old fashioned way: with my credit card! For a bit it almost felt like being a sponsored elite athlete - it was really quite fun. The bra-top and shorts are quite 'racy' - they certainly make me look like a serious runner. Plus, I think the only matching top and shorts I have ever had were school track uniforms. So I guess now I have to run like a serious runner, if I am going to wear serious runner gear!
If nothing else, I think I have been training fairly seriously: I've put in 162 miles in the last 16 days. My training still suffers from lack of a plan. Mostly, I try to fit my miles in around the social running activities (since that is about all I do socialize - ha!). Tuesday and Thursday mornings we have a die-hard group of four meeting at 5 am for about ten easy miles before work. Saturdays I am doing my long runs with a local running group (including my die-hard buddies). And Wednesday there is the organized group run at the running store. So I am trying to add a bit more "quality" on Mondays and Fridays, with a Monday tempo and a Friday hillworkout, but I am definitely still trying to get it all figured out.
I do find that as I ramp up the miles and workouts, that I am now even a bit evasive with other runners as to what I am doing. People training for marathons often comment how non-runners don't get what they are doing or why they would want to run so far and so they tend not to reveal all of their training plans to the non-runners. But I find I am now doing that even with other runners! Pretty much everyone I run with is a marathon (or less) kind of runner and they are a bit skeptical of going beyond 26.2. And so I sheepishly admit things like running a one mile loop 42 times, doing 70 mile weeks, and killing myself with hills the day before my long run - in fact, mostly I try not to admit to these things at all unless asked! I can't get ostracized from my group or I might miss out on more free stuff!