Showing posts with label Running clubs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Running clubs. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

LIRRC Hangover with the Runsketeers

Hangover gang (from left: L, ER, TPP, SIOR)
Photo courtesy of LIRRC.ORG 
Today's run (LIRRC Hangover Run): 5 miles

It's always great to start off the year with a good run and that was certainly the case today. For the third consecutive year, I participated in the LIRCC 5 Mile Hangover Run. Unlike the past two years, I was accompanied this morning by running buddies SIOR and the Petite Pacer (TPP). We even had a guest Musketeer, L, who SIOR knew from a prior race. Even though we ran at different paces, it was fun to do this together.

The Hangover event consists of five laps around a one mile course. Although the four of us started at the same time, SIOR and L quickly put some distance on me and TPP. Left to run her own pace, TPP could have easily kept up with the other two (no one was focusing on performance this morning), but she stayed with me through the first couple of miles.

It was very cold, but we all dressed for that. The wind from the south chilled my hands and face, but after a couple of miles of running, I was sufficiently warm. TPP picked up her pace and then waited for me to catch up a couple of times, but then switched to overdrive for the remainder of the run. It was fun to see SIOR and L gaining ground the other side of the loop. By time I completed my fourth mile they were coming up on 4.5 miles.

My fastest laps were my first and fifth, both done around 9:20. My overall time was 48:34, just a few seconds off last year's finish time. The others had finished a few minutes before me and when I crossed the line, TPP asked if I wanted to go around again. I was pretty much done with running at that point. We headed toward the New Year's cake which, combined with a cup of instant coffee, tasted like heaven.

Post run refueling
After that, the four of us visited Starbucks, the official clubhouse of the Runsketeers (I just renamed us). As much as I loved the run, the apr├Ęs-run conversation was the highlight of the morning. All too soon it was time to leave. When I got home, my wife and kids had prepared all the fixings for tacos. It was a perfect way to refuel from a great New Year's Day morning. Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Seven miles of fun on the GLIRC Clubhouse Run

Group shot just before the start
Photo courtesy of SIOR and GLIRC
Today's run (GLIRC Clubhouse run): 7.4 miles

Well the snow came a little earlier than expected, but it didn't interfere with today's club run in the least. I arrived at the Greater Long Island Running Club (GLIRC) office just before 8:00 AM this morning and saw that I was almost late to the party. My friends TPP and SIOR were there among the assemblage of colorfully dressed participants. After some quick hellos and a group picture, we were all off and running.

The three of us followed the group and headed out of the business park onto the bike trail. It's a hilly section from that point to the turn onto Washington Ave. Although I had good energy at the start, I worried about how I'd be feeling after many more miles. SIOR and TPP are both speedy runners, but they maintained a pace that I could sustain with some effort.

We chatted with other runners as we made our way south and came under the LIE overpass at Washington Ave. We crossed the road and found ourselves on a wooded trail that roughly parallels the bike trail. The snow had covered the sidewalk that led to the paved path, so it was confusing where to go. A little diversion into the woods was unexpected and appreciated at different levels by the three of us. The ice and roots on the path made the going treacherous.

We came out at Old Country Rd and continued on the paved path that rose for a while and proved a little challenging for me. Unlike the last time we ran together, today was more of a workout (though not much of a challenge to my friends). I found it hard to maintain a conversation at times, but we did have our moments. We took the run past Old Bethpage Rd and as far south as Haypath. As we drew close, many of the returning runners warned us of black ice further down.

I struggled to keep up with my friends who were gracious about waiting for me to catch up from time to time. They were probably running one or two minutes slower than their normal training pace, except for periods where they opened the throttle for a few minutes. I was challenged but I didn't reach the point where I felt I was over matched or wished the run was done.

When we turned north from Washington Ave I knew we were close, but I also knew the toughest hills were coming. I took on the first hill with a pace slightly better than a fast walk. SIOR had no trouble burning up that hill as well as the ones that followed. TPP stopped to walk and I stopped with her. She will occasionally do that for 30 second periods and it's a good strategy. I probably delayed her a little, but once we saw SIOR at the top of a hill we returned to running form.

TPP and SIOR took on the remainder of the hills at a brisk pace and I followed. We reached Sunnyside Boulevard and made our way back to GLIRC HQ where they hosted an amazing spread of post race goodies. After indulging in some high carb treats, TPP, SIOR and I headed over to Starbucks for coffee and conversation. Given the greater effort on today's run that made it less conversation-friendly, we still had a lot to catch up on.

Post run - (from left), SIOR, ER, TPP
Photo courtesy of SIOR
It was a really fun time and it's the perfect way for me to do group running. The next adventure for "The Three Musketeers" will be the LIRRC Hangover Run at Eisenhower Park at 9:30 AM. It's a timed five mile run that goes around a one mile route. No bibs, tracking chips, or winners. In this event, everyone's a winner. I'm looking forward to this event as I do every year and it will be more special because my friends will be joining me.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Membership has its privileges (and issues)


Last week I received a mailing from my old company, inviting me to join their alumni association. This offer was packaged like a wedding invitation, with a tasteful note along with the requisite response card. The value proposition was tempting, but I chose to decline, just as I have each time I've received solicitations from my high school and college alumni groups.

I mention this because I've recently thought about joining GLIRC, the local running club in Long Island that boasts a membership in the thousands. I usually enjoy running with other people, but I also find solo runs very fulfilling. But just like alumni groups, I can never bring myself to sign up.

I first wrote about joining a running club four years ago. At that time (and ever since) I've dismissed the idea. I wrote that, while I liked to run with others, it was, "mostly because [they've been] discreet events: assemble, run, depart. No barbecues, fund raisers, meetings, bylaws or committees. I'm not saying these things aren't great, they're just not for me."

It may be worth re-thinking running clubs now that I have a little more discretionary time. Perhaps there's an option to just do meetup runs, with no further obligation to participate in club activities. In that case, I might be tempted. Especially if they send me a nicely worded invitation in the mail.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

A small step towards social running

Trying out the social thing
Today's run (treadmill): 4.1 miles

After spending two long days practically connected to my laptop, I'm happy that the weekend is finally here. I am extremely grateful for all the good wishes I've received over the past few days and the many ideas presented by colleagues. The temptation to re-explore the working world is great, but I've also liked the extra 90 minutes of sleep I've the last two mornings. 

I've decided to consider participating in running club activities, starting with an event that is happening this weekend. I'm curious to see if a release from daily work stress will reverse my tendency towards social introversion. I already have plans to run with some friends who I haven't been able to see because of my tight schedule. The prospect of doing this more is appealing. 

This morning, both of my kids did elliptical sessions while my wife did her daily treadmill run. I followed her on the treadmill today, rather than brave the 19° temperature outside. It's going to feel like 17° with wind chill tomorrow morning, so I'll just have to deal with it. I was proud of my kids for doing their workouts and I hope they stick with the program.

I still haven't used the new elliptical yet, because I've been waiting for the AC adapter to arrive. The unit will work without power, but I need the console to control resistance and display data. I am looking forward to using the machine and getting the upper body exercise that I can't get from running.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The introverted runner

Today's run (treadmill): 25 minutes

I was thinking the other day about running clubs and why, after four years of considering them, I have never joined one. I happened to be looking at the Huffington Post on the train home last night when I read an article that helped me understand my reluctance. The article is entitled, "Nine Signs That You Might Be an Introvert" and it described me to a T.

I already knew before reading that article that I fall on the introverted side of the spectrum. My company used to administer Myers-Briggs assessments that placed you into one of 16 personality types. I recall my profile came out as INTP (Introversion, Intuition, Thinking, Perceiving). I'd challenged the introversion assessment at the time, arguing that I was a person who interacted a lot in public, so I couldn't be an introvert. It was explained to me that introversion is not the same as shyness, although they are not opposites.

Realizing that I'm a classic introvert explains a lot about why I prefer to run alone rather than participate in running club activities. I like people, but not situations when I need to interact with big groups. Small groups are much more comfortable for me. Races are the exception, I love the energy of the pack and the shared experience of driving towards the finish line. Perhaps it's because racing lets you interact with others while maintaining a comfortable level of privacy.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

My motivation to race is at an all time low

Today's run (street): 5.2 miles

Lately, I've been struggling a little with motivation, but not to the point where it affects my commitment to running. After having two of my favorite races canceled in November, I think my competitive spirit has gone stale. The next race on my schedule is the Ho Ho Ho 5K Holiday Run that takes place in Bethpage. I ran it last year, but I'm considering skipping it this year.

5K's require speed work, but I'm not that interested in doing tempos, fartleks or intervals right now. I recognize the benefits of a hard workout, but I think the moderate training runs I've been doing provide the same value. The idea of of lining up on a cold morning for a race doesn't appeal to me at the moment. I'm thinking that the LIRRC 5 mile Hangover Run on January 1st will be my next organized event.

The Hangover Run appeals to me because it's non-competitive. There's a timer but no timing chips. In fact there's no registration at all. Just show up, run and record you own time. But if I run my fastest time during this event, I will certainly claim it as a PR.

My big issue today was a feeling that I'd be bored on today's run. Yesterday's run around the neighborhood was a bit tedious and I was planning to go out even longer today. I started thinking about running with other people and how much I used to enjoy my workday runs in Central Park with Adventure Girl, JQ and others, or my runs at Bethpage and Belmont Lake with Dave and Brian. It made me reconsider joining a running club.

It turned out I wasn't bored after all today. The lactic acid buildup in my legs was gone and though my performance was average, I felt great throughout the run. I do like running on my own where I can determine my preferred route and speed, but the experience of running with others also has great appeal. Perhaps I'll find a weekend morning meet-up in the area. Running with a group might be a good step towards regaining my racing spirit.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The call of the running club


I picked up a copy of New England Runner on my way home last night. I read this magazine for the first time after the Cape Cod Marathon where they gave out copies at the Expo. It's an interesting publication that serves a good purpose: covering the many local races in NE with some overlap into NY, including LI. The writing is secondary to the subject matter, more like a newsletter than a magazine, although they do have some feature articles. It really demonstrates how many people run and race and how much of running involves a community of runners. I have not joined a local running club because I'm concerned that it will take up time that I want to spend with my family. All the same, there may be reasons to do it. If my family thinks it's worthwhile I will consider doing that next year.

I got out this morning for a run. Conditions were just right, cold but not freezing, breezy but not windy. I'll credit the treadmill on Sunday for one thing - it forced me to pay attention to pace. I've defaulted to running at equilibrium, whatever pace felt right was the one that I maintained. The problem is that to improve performance it isn't about feeling right. It's about pushing to the point of suffering. I went out at a brisk pace and although I didn't switch the display on the Garmin to "pace" I knew I was pushing faster than usual. In the end I covered 2.3 miles at around 9:00/mile which is good for me at 4:00 AM.

With 11 days to my next race I need to keep pushing. 9:00 per mile works fine for early morning running  but I want to do a lot better than that for my 5K.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Members Only



I originally assumed I would sign up for my 8K race online since the application says that you can. When I went to the New Hyde Park Runner's Club website I saw that the registration links were still set up for last year's race. I'm sure they'll sort that out somehow and, worse case, I can mail in the application. What struck me about the website were the photos of the happy club members posed in groups or running in events. I've seen similar collections on local club websites like GLIRC and LIRRC. I've seen many club members at both my recent races and was impressed by their community and by the way they clearly supported each other. I then started thinking about whether I should join a running club.

Years ago I used to run with one or two people and I didn't love the experience. Part of that was due to a mismatch in conditioning between me and them (I was constantly challenged to keep up) and part of it was environmental as I found running the streets of NYC to be stressful and dangerous. More recently I've run with AG and it's better because I'm in much better shape than I was those years ago and she is willing to stay at my pace. It's also time well spent since we are able to cover the same business discussions while running that would normally occur in my office. Some weeks back I ran with a group in Central Park and that was fun. I didn't do much talking because that's still a challenge for me when running. That's still true when I run with AG but it works fine because the focus of our weekly meeting is an update and I listen more than I talk. During the week I run alone on the treadmill and on the weekends I usually do a solitary run around my neighborhood. I find these runs to be very fulfilling and they serve as an opportunity to focus on things without distraction. When I encounter others on the road, more often than not, my counterparts are also running alone.

On the weekends I sometimes drive to the track to do my runs and I usually see groups of runners heading along the road. I've thought about being one of them rather than being just one of the people sharing the track at the High School. I ask myself which scenario fits me better and every time I conclude that I'm better off by myself. I'll admit that running with others can help you keep a faster pace. In both my races I found that having faster runners in proximity helped me run faster. With that exception I think I'm better off being a lonely runner. Much as I enjoy a community I'm not very good at groups. I enjoyed the Lululemon run and I like the runs I've done in Central Park (and elsewhere - see below) but mostly because they are discreet events: assemble, run, depart. No barbeques, fund raisers, meetings, bylaws or committees. I'm not saying these things aren't great, they're just not for me.

Last night I did my first street run with my new Brooks Adrenaline 9's. AG and I did our weekly meeting while running both directions on the George Washington Bridge which was an intimidating concept to me (fear of heights, bridges, speeding cars) but it was very different than I'd expected. The bridge itself is fairly flat with a gradual rise to the center and than a decline to the endpoints. On each end are areas where you encounter stairs and a couple of places had jogs in the path where you had to be careful not to run into a cyclist coming from the other direction. The cars were far enough away that they didn't factor in the experience and the view of the Hudson on either side was more serene than scary. We only covered about 2.3 miles but I was happy with the run and very happy that the Brooks performed well and felt good. This morning it was back to the treadmill where I ran about two miles at 8:45/mile. I'm looking forward to my Saturday run where I'm hoping to cover at least 5 miles. The Brooks are already helping my leg problem and that soreness was a wake up call for replacement that I didn't answer. Next time I'll be ready.
 

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