(Keep reading through — I’m giving away a really cool New Balance jacket at the end of the post!)
It’s been a long, long time since I ran with anyone other than Audrey. When I was training for my first half marathon back in 2009, I used to meet up with some blogging buddies to run before work (holy moly, I just looked and it was four years ago this week that I was “showering” in a Starbucks) but my schedule in recent years just didn’t make that possible.
But I knew I needed…something. Inspiration for my long runs, and a community who could support me as I gear up for a busy race season. So this weekend, on my daughter’s first birthday (as I said on Instagram — I figured that a year before we were up early and in pain together so why not celebrate the same way, with a long run?), I packed up the running stroller and a smiling toddler and headed out to meet a group of fellow runners for a 7 a.m. fun run.
(It’s a regular and free event, and usually there are between five and 50 runners who come by. It’s informal, but there is a regular route and even some water/ice pop stations along the way.
You can come for as long as you want! For anyone in Orlando, you can learn more here: http://www.orlandorunnersclub.org/ Let me know if you want to come — it would be so fun to see some familiar faces!)
I didn’t know how far we’d run, whether we could keep up, whether we’d actually enjoy it…but we did. So much so that I’m hoping to make this a regular Sunday tradition.
We planned on running five miles, but after making it that far with the group, Audrey and I did an additional 2-mile cool down on the way back to our car. I had a blast talking with people along the course, running at my own pace and watching the beautiful sunrise come up in a really gorgeous neighborhood. Not only were the people nice, I found that I enjoyed the entire adventure more because I wasn’t alone.
I don’t know that group runs make sense (for me) for shorter training runs, but certainly for five and over, it’s a great way to stay motivated (plus, I learned about a few upcoming events that aren’t on the highly publicized race calendars as well as some new routes that are apparently really scenic).
Do you prefer running alone or with friends?
1) I’m hoping to PR at the St. Petersburg 5K this fall, and I’d LOVE to have you join me at that event or one of the other Women’s Running Series races in the next two months:
- Scottsdale-Tempe, AZ – November 3, 2013
- St. Petersburg, FL – November 24, 2013
If you sign up for the half marathon in St. Pete, use the discount code FITFLKATY for $10 off. (Note: I am being compensated for helping to promote this race but believe me, the sweat and tears I’m putting into training are all mine.)
2) See that cool orange jacket I’m wearing in the pictures above? New Balance sent this High Visibility Beacon Jacket to me [disclosure!] and I love it — it glows in the dark, is lightweight and definitely made me feel safer during my pre-sunrise miles. You can actually charge it for 10 minutes before you head out and the jacket gets super, super bright.
I love it so much, in fact, that I asked New Balance to give one of YOU the same jacket. To enter, you just need to leave a comment on this post that says “PLEASE ENTER ME!” Please note: New Balance only has this jacket in a women’s medium (sad face) to give away, so you either need to wear that size or have a friend to gift that size to.
There’s more about the jacket in this cool video:
I’ll be picking a winner after Sunday, October 20th at 5 p.m. Sorry, all — U.S. addresses only!