Posted by: Karen | October 20, 2006

Penguin Tips for Club Running

a) Show up.

With things so busy at home lately I wasn’t sure if I’d be going to this month’s Calgary Roadrunner’s Club Night, but Hubby had the day off, the kids were actually getting their homework done, and the laundry folding could wait one more day. We had supper early at home and the planets aligned. I made it downtown to the run right on time.

b) Leave all extra items in the car.

Put your wallet in the trunk if you need to, and only bring along your car key. You need to travel light to keep up with these folks.

c) Dress appropriately.

That’s a tough call this time of year, with the temps dropping as the sun sets during the run. The forecast was calling for wind and rain, but it was a delightful 11C/52F when I left the house. I opted for club shorts, two white shirts (one of each sleeve length) and my white running hat. I left warm fuzzy sweatpants and my lined windbreaker in the car for later. The two shirts seemed a little warm during the first couple of miles, but the wind picked up and the drizzle that fell on the north side of the river cooled me off nicely.

d) Get a head start.

Faster runners might chuckle at this tip, but Penguins take heed. Once I understood which route everyone was going to take, I headed out immediately. I set out at a fair clip for myself (10 min/mi), and covered about a mile before the faster runners in the group passed me. Shortly after that I was joined by Michele, Carla and Karin, and we all joined the faster runners in waiting for a couple of slower ones at Crowchild bridge.

Yes, there were folks running slower than I was. Yes, at least one was recovering from something. 

The girls stayed with me the rest of the run. We ran all the way to Prince’s Island and then back to the Key West Bar n’ Grill. I had to slow my pace a bit in the second half as my recovering knee was disconcertingly clicking. It didn’t hurt, it just felt weird, and did better when I went slower and didn’t need to straighten it too much. I had the option of turning back at the 10th St. bridge – Michele might have stayed with me – but I didn’t.

We all finished up in a pack of about 7-8 people, all chatting away. Cool. Very social, just like what Club Night was designed for. I personally covered almost 5 miles in about 55 minutes. Sweet.

e) Stick around afterwards.

I slid into a booth with Jim, Barb and Mike, and ordered iced tea. Since I’d already had dinner at home, I just nibbled on Barb and Jim’s nachos. We talked about reality t.v., Martha Stewart, the problems with blood clots and long flights after really big races, how you don’t have to be a really fast runner to compete in adventure races, recent races, upcoming races, jobs we’d held way back when we were teenagers, and how home made perogies are so much better than the ones you buy.

I even made it home in time for a phone conversation with a new-to-Calgary runner before settling in to watch Survivor. Ah, this is the life…

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