STOP TAKING RUNNING AND WORKING OUT SO SERIOUSLY. this group is to remind you that it can be fun. it can be fun and you can still get a really good workout in.
Run Wild CLE workouts are just about every week (I occasionally take a week off for some personal R&R) and are completely free. We are weird, we work hard and we have fun. We run hills, we run stairs, we do burpees, we grab a partner for circuits. There's A LOT of high fives being thrown around. Just this week we did a team relay where folks sprinted out into the frigid Lake Erie water to end our workout. Essentially, anything goes. I assure you the workouts will always be free. That's a promise. It's time invested on my end and even I questioned why I show up for free and asked myself if I should start charging or trying to find a way to make a monetary gain (shameless plug that the only way I make money is when shirts and hats are released, so if you want to support the cause, grab some swag). NO. This is a community effort and as long as people show up, work hard and have a good time, it'll always be free.
THE START OF IT ALL and the TEMPORARY FALL.
This all started on October 7, 2015. We woke up at 5am and headed down to Edgewater totally ready to face the reality that no one would show. I think we had a total of 9 people that morning. We totally winged it and put them through a half ass run/body weight workout but people seemed to go home happy. We kept it going. Workouts were either at 5:30 or 6am and as fall was becoming winter it was starting to get pretty cold. People showed up. There were a couple times it was 15 degrees with a windchill in the negatives, we were totally exposed to the bitter wind and the workout was scheduled at Edgewater Beach...people showed up. I think that winter we topped out at 24 people.
Somewhere in those early months I questioned the validity of the group, if it was too far out there, if I had the extra time to commit to this. If I was the guy to lead them through these things. I really had low confidence in my ability to lead a group through a workout. Should I hand it over to someone with higher energy or more background in leading a group like this? I did eventually let my negativity get the best of me and backed down from it for a couple months. Serious lack of confidence. When I finally came around and was getting ready to get the group rolling again I was slapped in the face with a somewhat surprise hip surgery that kept me sidelined for several more months.
Since feeling confident on two legs again, we've had the ball rolling every Wednesday night for a good bit of time now. The group is electric. Our first legitimate workout back was March 30 and there's a different mindset. "STOP PUTTING SO MUCH PRESSURE ON YOURSELF", I would tell myself. If people have a good time, they'll show up again. If they don't, they won't. I'm personally having a blast now and I think that makes a HUGE difference in the energy of the workout and the group. If you'll notice on our social media, language is never serious. We usually start at an arbitrary time like 6:34pm and do totally random things because...why not?
Why should you show up? What makes this group different?
Why should you come out? Well, why shouldn't you come out? I'd say come out once and see what it's about. Even if that means you hang out at a distance and just watch the group, come get a feel for it. It is free, after all.
In short, we never really announce the workout but you can be sure it's going to be running and bodyweight workouts. One week could be 90% running and 10% bodyweight, next week could be flipped. Other weeks it could be 50/50. You show up and you take on what we throw at ya the best you can. As long as you're doing YOUR best, you're a rockstar in our books. We workout for time, not distance or reps. This allows the group to work together more cohesively and the intimidation factor for a slower person to hopefully be out the window. The more people that show up, the higher the energy and the more the group works together and pushes harder. It's incredible to witness.
You should show up because we put a fun twist on every workout. We start every one of them with "Meet someone across the way that you don't know, preferably someone you've never even seen before". BAM, you have one new friend to feel comfortable around and the workout hasn't even started.
We play goofy games like Duck, Duck, Goose. Instead of sitting the "ducks" are squatting, planking, doing mountain climbers...
This week an older man showed up with a bluetooth speaker wrapped around his waist, blaring Disney songs for the entirety of the workout. He was having a BLAST and screaming out the lyrics to the songs. He came up to me halfway through the workout and said, "Am I being too loud? Do you want me to turn it down?". My response, "CAN YOU PLEASE COME TO EVERY WORKOUT AND BRING YOUR SPEAKER?!".
WE WELCOME WEIRD, WE WELCOME SLOW, WE WELCOME FAST, OLD, YOUNG, FAT, SKINNY, NEWBIE, PROFESSIONAL ATHLETES (that'll be cool if someday we get a professional athlete), GAY, STRAIGHT, TRANS, DOGS, CATS, GRAMMA AND GRANDPA. If you're willing to show up, high five the person working out next to you, smile and participate, you're on the team. You're a part of our crew.
WHY DO I SHOW UP?
I show up to make new friends every week. I show up because I love what happens at these workouts.
What happens? Every time we meet there's this awkward ten minute period right before we start where the group is standing around waiting for announcements and to get going. Undoubtedly people are wondering what they're about to get into, if they're the slowest one here, who looks faster and if they made a mistake by showing up. "If I sneak out of here before the workout starts, will anyone notice?". Essentially, what I'm saying is there's some tension and intimidation.
I make announcements and do my best to be light hearted and break some very thick ice. No matter what, I can't fully break it. Then we start sweating and running and people loosen up. People start throwing high fives. People start randomly throwing in a skip in the middle of their run, or talking to someone new. The tension kind of melts away.
By the end of the workout, people are hugging, singing, jumping, laughing and are totally worked over ready to take on next week while feeling great with the workout they just did with 40 of their new friends.
I LIVE FOR THIS. This is so rewarding.
So whether you're a fat, old, out of shape dad who hasn't run in 20 years or a college football player or track athlete home for the summer, I guarantee you there's a place for you in our crew. I really think if you show up with an open mind and an eagerness to interact with other humans, you're going to go home a happy camper.
COME SEND IT NEXT WEEK.