This time Kacey couldn’t help but make a few comments, she got the italics this time!
Long run….road trip!
A destination run, when you’ve done 30 miles on a treadmill, is like a mini-vacation! Especially when you know the company is going to be great too!
When you meet a new friend at mile 8 of a 16 mile run and early in the conversation hear the words Herpes, Gonorrhea and Namibia….you know that the remainder of the run will fly by!
Interestingly we went from “boy” topic to “disease” topic……improvement!?!?!?!
We had been wanting to make it to the Saturday morning group run organized by PR fitness in Ann Arbor since we happened to stop in at the Lululemon store on a football Saturday when we were squeezing in a run before officially joining our tailgate. Kacey spied a pile of bags and kit that she immediately sniffed out as the belongings of a group of runners.
I also noticed that the pictures on the wall were of local athletes and immediately began explaining that we were in the presence of greatness, AKA Katherine. I can already see Katherine up on their wall….we’ll make THAT happen!
After further questioning of the lululemon staff we found out that this group normally meets and heads out from the Lululemon store at 8am on a Saturday morning, and immediately signed up for their email distribution list. Since then I have been receiving weekly emails detailing there planned routes and often motivational sentiments – especially about the toughness of training through the winter – from the group organizer who is training for the Boston marathon.
Ann Arbor fits well into our Flying Pig marathon training, since it is hillier and pretty runner friendly – a non-running friend of mine said you know you are in Ann Arbor cos there are joggers everywhere! Plus, how can you not like a running group that meets at a Lululemon store? (note my previous declared lifetime objective to become a Lululemon ambassador!) 😉
It’s only a matter of time!
So the stars, and our schedules finally aligned and we were able to make it out to run with this group. Their route was 8 miles out and back to make 16 – slightly longer than the 2 hrs stated on the training plan but close and it’d be antisocial to turn before the end even though that was a stated option! 😉 So I dragged my butt out of bed in order to eat my oatmeal with Nutzo butter and PB2, bundle up and make the 45 min drive to arrive by the 7:45am meeting time.
This week they were meeting at the PR fitness location due to a conflict at Lululemon…..probably better for my bank balance this way! The forecast said “feels like 3 degrees”….but it wasn’t until I neared Ann Arbor that it really started snowing. As I was rolling into town, Kacey called to discuss parking – Ann Arbor is notorious for parking tickets! – and said it may be a good day for our Yaks. Hmmmm…..I had packed for every possibility of layering and dry post run clothing….but somehow the possibility of Yaks had not occurred to me….let’s just blame the early morning! I guess I was going Yak-less.
We made up for this by our “yakking”!
We met up with the group – which is relatively large – and headed out at 8am as planned. I shoved the turn sheet into my pocket, but we were able to follow the guys in front out of town and then follow the signs that PR fitness had kindly put out once things got a little more spread out. There were several spots on the route that they had kindly set up warm pink liquid (some kinda gatorade), water, dixie cups and a cute little mesh garbage can to collect the cups. The warmness was definitely appreciated, even if just so that it didn’t freeze before we got there! These people were clearly geniuses, and this wasn’t there first winter rodeo!
Since we believe in the magic of pink tape, we were easily sold on the magic of this pink elicsar which gave us super-power as we trudged through the cold, unplowed streets and hills of the Ann Arbor area.
Oh yeah – I still need to tell the story of the Chicago Marathon expo and the magic pink tape! Anyway…..
As we reached the turn around at mile 8, at the bottom of a hill, another small group of runners asked us if we were going back. After a little confusion, where we thought maybe we hadn’t actually made it to the turn around, they explained that two of them were taking a short cut and the remaining runner wanted to run back with us – ahhhh, no problemo. So we met Ashley and of course chatted with her. As we made it up the hill, I fell behind wishing I had my Yaks as my slipping feet were leading to burning quads, but I was able to catch up on the flat – or maybe they were just kindly waiting for me!
Definitely caught up. No sissy la-las here 😉
So we talked, as you do, about where everyone lived, and what they do etc. This is when Ashley told us about her post doctoral research into the infection patterns of STD’s in Namibia. As I said, it was clear that the next 8 miles, would be interesting conversation about research and cultures and her training for the Boston Marathon. It also helped that she knew where she was going and saved me from missing at least one turn sign!
Who’d want to miss out on conversation like this?
This is one of the reasons that we love group runs, you get to meet people, chat your way through the long run and see different routes and scenes. Some of them you want to run again, some that you don’t, but it breaks up the monotony of your normal routes.
PR fitness had post run cookies and a place to change into dry post run clothes too. Which was awesome and much appreciated! We will definitely join them again whenever it works into our schedules.
Do you run with groups or prefer to get your long run done on your own schedule?