Saturday, November 8, 2008

PPTC and BRRC Group Runs

My run today, an almost 12-mile loop that included a run over the Brooklyn Bridge and some meandering in Battery Park, included a) a Brooklyn Bridge "virgin" - i.e., he'd never run over the bridge and b) a fellow runner who said he'd never have run that long today if he didn't have company (though he was easily capable).

Running is both individual (i.e. you have to do it yourself, and you have no one to blame but yourself when things don't go your way ... most of the time :-)) and also group-oriented. Since I started running at 15, I've met some amazing people, some of whom I'm lucky enough to consider friends, but many more who have darted into and out of my life and blessed me with their experiences, commentary and simple running-ness.

Every run I do with other people, I learn from them, whether it's 50 minutes of complete silence (the art of concentration), or an hour of debate about who's to blame for the global financial crisis (which helped distract me from the various aches and pains in the joints today).

Sometime ago, I promised some information about group runs, so here's a smattering. Don't worry about protocol -- if you want to join the individual clubs, then sound out members during the run. But don't feel pressured.

Despite various club ... uhh ... idiosyncracies (you think Obama/McCain is political?), when it comes down to it: We're all runners. And one of the great things about runners: We want to help other people run better, and we all have opinions.

Prospect Park Track Club

Tuesday at 7 p.m., speed session at 15th St. and Prospect Park W (fee applies, check Web site)
Wednesday at 7:15 p.m. at Grand Army Plaza
Saturday at 8 a.m. at Grand Army Plaza (sponsored with Slope Sports)

Brooklyn Road Runners

Saturday & Sunday: 9:00 AM at 15th Street and Prospect Park West
Tuesday & Thursday: 6:45 PM at 9th Street and Prospect Park West

This, might I say, is not all encompassing: Various groups and stores, including JackRabbit and Nike, also organize runs, but just to get you started.

I'll be the first to admit, trying to jump into a situation where you don't know anyone can be daunting. But if you run, you're already past the first hurdle. Reach out ... or simply show up.

Don't get discouraged if you send an e-mail and no one responds (hint, hint to one of the clubs listed beginning with the letter B - if you get e-mails from runners who have questions: Respond!). Just show up. There are enough running groups at Grand Army Plaza on weekend mornings that it's not impolite to invite yourself along and suss them out.

Or, dare I say it in this completely hypersensitive world of ours: If you've seen a face several times during the daily run, simply introduce yourself and see if they want to run with you. The answer may be "no" (and honestly, there are days when I need to burn off steam, and the last thing I want is company).

Then again, the answer may be "yes." Take it from there.

Happy running.

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