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  • Writer's pictureAbby

How to Join a Running Club

Last night at aerobics, I was invited to join a running group. Then she said, "we meet at 5am." My brain and whole being immediately thought, "there is no way!" So I told her that sounds very, very early but that I would try to make it.

I was excited that I'd been asked to do something with people independent of my husband/his friends & family, but at the same time I kept thinking that there's no way I'd actually join. I haven't yet made any of my own friends here. I'm serious. Most of my friends are all firstly David's friends or his friends' significant others. The only people I have interacted with not directly through David, are other expatriates mainly from the UK.

With that said, after going back and forth in my head, I decided to set the alarm and hope that I could wake up.

5am, Ndola, Zambia. (Or as most white people would say, small town in Africa.) Power is out. It's pitch dark. David is sound asleep. I'm trying to find jogging clothes in the dark. Do I bring a water bottle? Do I bring my phone? Headphones? Should I just walk or should I drive? It's early enough and short enough distance I'm sure I could just drive even though I don't have my Zambia license yet hmm.... so I walk out the door. No car keys. No water bottle. Just my house keys and phone intact. I can't see a thing (Did I mention the power is out and it's blackout dark?) so I turn my "torch" on. Haha I love the British term for flashlight! As I'm leaving our gate, the guard stands up and asks, "Are you going running, Madam?" I'm asking myself the same question!!! "Yes, I'm meeting up with a running group! See you later!"

I walked quickly and jogged a little to get there in about 5 minutes. I arrive in front of the grocery store where we are all meeting. There is a circle of girls and a circle of boys haha not sure why it is like that. Everyone is really friendly and of course the person who invited me isn't there, ah! It's still dark as night so we greet each other with just names and hardly faces.

After about five minutes and as many more people show up, a woman asks me if I know the route. Of course I didn't. She starts rattling off all these street names. I tell her reluctantly that I don't know any of the names but that I can follow along and will be able to find my way back if needed. Immediately, she grabs another running group member and says, "you will run with him." I tried to say I was fine to just go along but she insisted that I will run with him. "Okay, okay...."

The first thing he says to me is that he's babysitting today. I know it was a joke and I think I laughed along, but I just thought, "oh great, what did I get myself into." As we start off, he tells me he is planning on walking today. I'm not sure what to think at first. Then he speeds off walking faster than I can run! I start jogging to keep up with his speed walking, but then he joins in the jog and says, "oh actually I can do a light jog like this." *ummm this is my run, but OK* so then I find out why this is his "rest" day. On Sunday he ran a half marathon. Oh and the Sunday before, he ran a full marathon. WHAT!? Who runs two marathons in a week. No seriously.... is this a real thing? Most people don't even do that in their whole lifetime. Oh lordy.

I'll save you the details, but I struggled through, oh just a 5K. Yes that's right.... a 5K!!! At 5am!!! On my first day. I've only run a few 5Ks ever, but at least I've usually, scratch that, always known and even trained  for them. I'm more of the 10 minute warm up jog type of girl. This was a full on running event. I still can't believe this happened. Turns out when I told David this story, he knows the guy and told me all about where he goes running!

My body was aching all morning and I know I'll be sore. But the people were awesome and I'm going to try to fully join this group. Ha, time will tell. I'm just grateful to be making some of my own friends!!!!

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