As promised early in the week, a recap of the holidays and of our monster group run!
Friday was Festivus for the rest of us! Ellie and I packed up the car and headed west to Albany for the festivities, and it was thoroughly enjoyable. I was privy to many good homebrews courtesy of Tom Owens, and my own American Bock was pretty well received. Many grievances were shared, there was a "dip off", and Dollard beat my brother in ping pong. Wins all around.
During Festivus we hatched a plan to go for a morning run. Many people were pretty gung-ho and wanted to come, some thought we were crazy. When the morning arrived we had a total of four runners. Mark, from StaufenRunning, my brother Dave, my wife Ellie and I headed out into the brisk morning air. I'd say this was as diverse of a group of runners you will ever find. From Mark, who averages 6+ mile runes 4-5 times a week, to my brother who is just starting to dabble with exercise and has typically been mostly an elliptical runner.
We started out slow and patient, letting our bodies warm up and for Dave to get the hang of things. We headed from my house to Brian's, where we promptly harrassed him for not running with us and got a tall glass of H20 for Dave. After this we again set out further.
Halfway through the run I ran into (almost literally) and old friend of mine, Emma Moran, who was out for a morning run herself. Ellie and I ran with her for about a mile, which let us catch up on many years, degrees and life changes. After a while we realized we were way too far ahead of Mark and Dave, so we bid Emma adieu and doubled back to finish strong with Dave.
I want to take a moment here and make a comment about how great running is, and how it is so easy to bond and communicate with people about it. During Festivus runners popped there head up here and there and said "Hey, i do that too!" It is something to be proud of, something that you can talk about.
We wrapped up Daves first 5k strong, and Ellie and Dave headed inside. Mark wanted to push me a bit more, see what I could do. . . so naturally I agreed to be abused. We headed out at a little bit of an increased clip. Fast enough that we were moving, but slow enough we could still hold a decent conversation. It is refreshing to run with another person, as most of my runs are solo now. It's nice to be able to talk about training ideas, or our Ultramarathon heroes. Really just hearing from someone just as crazy, or actually a lot more crazy then I am.
Albany has a landmark known as "The Pond" which is tucked away not too far from my house. There are a couple of decent hills on the way. We headed down a long hill to get to the far end of the pond, and proceeded to run the gravel-ish trail all the way around. It was a nice break from the pavement, because at this point my feet were getting a bit tired. Once we wrapped our way around the pond we cut up a decently steep but relatively short hill. Naturally Mark pushed me to take it way faster then I ever normally would, and I proceeded to be winded for the next half kilometer.
It seemed like just as I caught my breath he would say, "Ok, time to up the pace" and he would take off faster then I'd ever want to go. This happened three times, until finally we got to the top of my home street. At this point we were moving pretty fast, but apparently not fast enough as he declared it time to sprint and took off. Needless to say I stood no chance, but I tore off after him anyway. Lets just say, our first 5k compared to our second 5k was about a 13 minute difference.
The group run was fantastic. It was refreshing to see runners new and old be able to come together. All it took was a little patience, but honestly it wasn't even hard because knowing that more and more people are getting interested in running is enough to slow the pace of a run down as far as necessary to encourage them.
Saturday night was full of church, and then a little family get together with the Sneeringer family, all of whom have either done half-marathons or full marathons. It was interesting though to learn that a couple of them were laid up with injuries, just demonstrating that the statistic that 90% of runners training for a marathon are injured annually must have some truth to it. Even still, I am excited to one day be able to run the Boilermaker with them.
Christmas was a day full of fun and presents, and a whole lot of travel. Ellie and I made it from Albany to Utica, and then on to Pembroke for dinner. I am learning more and better ways to pack our car every year we do it!
I am going to take a quick second to share my running related spoils with you. I got a bit of an upgrade for my lower half. I upgrade from shorts to Nike Dri-Fit Thermal pants. I also picked up a sweet New Balance running jacket with the Harpoon Brewery logo's. Pure win! Finally, I was given a bunch of new toe-socks which are a huge help as I found last night when it is getting bitter cold. Thanks everyone!
Overall I am very pleased with how things went this weekend. As seen yesterday I didn't completely undo months of hard work, though I have plenty to do to continue losing weight. I feel like I am starting to hit a little bit of a plateau, so I need to up the ante a little bit. Hopefully I can stay smart and avoid injury. I ran the past couple days and am pretty sore, so today is definitely going to be a rest day.
During the weekend Mark and I discussed the possibility of teaming up for a little bit of friendly competition. More details to come!