Friday, November 21, 2014

A Solitary Runner Goes Social: Hug A Runner 2014

Caught on a compression sock day
It was odd yesterday morning. Even though the trails are clearing from the weekend's snow, I just didn't want to head out. I thought about the wind. I thought about the treadmill. I thought about not running. I thought that maybe the evening run, a Hug A Runner event at the Boulder Running Company in Cherry Creek would suffice.

Then, I watched The Runner in Winter, a short movie featuring Anton Krupicka. If you have yet to view Joel Wolpert's classic (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjDLorXfkao, it is the tale of one man's quest (promise, maybe) to get out there and do it despite the conditions, despite the lack of company. You get out there mostly because that's what you do (and because you're Tony Krupicka you do it like no one else). So, I went anyway (thanks, Tony). And I went they way I have gone for a little over forty-eight years: alone.

I have run a lot of miles since 1966 (105,000+). Despite being on teams my first seven years and despite a corral full of wonderful training partners, I have easily run at least 95% of those miles with no one but myself. The Runner in Winter, and Spring, and Summer, and Fall, indeed.

I am certainly not complaining. I get a boatload of stuff done out there. I clear the slate, I clean the slate, I add to the slate. Mostly, I nurture the slate. I am so much a better me that I can be when I have logged the miles. Those thought provoking, escaping, creative, wonderful miles. So off I went. AND..... I lived to tell (write) about it. Needless to say, I was less than enthusiastic as the sun set and it became time for my wife, Linda and I to head to the Hug A Runner Event at BRC CC. 


Kara Goucher and Linda
A little background is needed here. In August Linda attended Kara Goucher's Podium Retreat in Napa, California. It was there she met Kara, husband Adam and Tim Catalano. Arriving home she bubbled for weeks about how fun it was and how wonderful the dynamic trio were. We thought it would be great for her to see them again at this event of Adam and Tim's making, say HI, and catch up a bit. And it was just that ..... great.

Talk about three wonderful people. In a world where many professional athletes have no personality, are rude and completely self absorbed, there are Adam and Kara Goucher. Accessible, sweet, caring. Yeah, that pretty much says it. And Tim...... OMG what a fantastic guy (and not too shabby of a runner either). 

The evening's objective was to run a 5K with the group, celebrate Girls On The Run (a fabulous cause http://www.girlsontherun.org/), Hug 5 runners and be able to hang out with Kara, Adam and Tim. Linda and I had a blast. We ran our 5K with Mandy Eberly, a visiting landscape architect from the DC area who had rolled into town two hours earlier. Sub-groups based on pace popped up as the run moved on, all with one consistent dynamic; chatting. So many runners of all shapes, sizes, ages and speeds sharing a common thread: community.


The Hug A Runner Community BRC CC Style!
Runners are a community. I run alone so often, I forget that. Some of my best times were participating in that community, whether it was on the Wyandotte Roosevelt High School team, the Wayne State University Cross Country team, or the Boulder Road Runners Monday night splinter group. Other runners are cool, AND I have to tell you, they deserve hugs the other 364 days of the year as well. And the group last night, completely huggable.

After a run, prize drawings, pictures and community, we headed out the door. As we hit the door a voice from the Boulder Running Company Cherry Creek staff said, "You're welcome to join us every week for one of our group runs."

You know what, I just might do that.

Some important links to cool stuff:

http://www.girlsontherun.org/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/hugarunner2014/
https://www.facebook.com/BoulderRunningCompanyCherryCreek
http://www.karagoucher.com/
http://www.runtheedge.com/


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

2000 Down and Still Going..... Slowly

La Luz Trail, Albuquerque, NM
In Springfield, Missouri, on a boring, run-of-the-mill 5 miler in the early morning darkness Wednesday, I passed 2000 miles for 2014. With roughly seven weeks left in the year, I would expect to peak out at close to 2300. Not too bad for being pretty unmotivated most of the year.

My running has taken an odd turn over this year. I have really become one of those "run for the sake of running" kind of guys. I'm certainly not complaining. I like being able to not be training for something yet still be committed to the activity. And that IS what I am committed to, the activity.

At this point, I am in the SSD training program. Haven't heard of it? Surely you've heard of LSD (long slow distance). Well, I have invented SSD (short slow distance). The beauty of SSD is that you are rarely worn out, seldom injured and most often cannot wait for the next run. On the hand, and they DO come in pairs, you don't get any faster, stronger or lighter. Oh well. Tradeoffs.

As I said, I'm not complaining. 2300 miles will be a good year and the sixth in a row over 2000. The years of 3000 have probably passed but so have the eight years of <2000 when I worked at Coldwell Banker (something about that whole full time job thing that makes mileage a challenge). 

Also on the upside, I still have goals; dreams of places and events in which to participate. In fact, that keeps getting stronger as the year winds down. A 50K is coming soon, some mountain races will populate 2015, and someday, yes someday, the Mont Blanc Marathon.

Until then, just yell "coming by" as you approach, and "good job" as you go by. I'm just happy to be out there.