Now to the actual topic...
Urban Girl Squad does a lot of cool events, some of them cost money and some of them are free. They do an outdoor running series in Central Park which started up today. Every other Sunday from now through the fall, Urban Girl Squad will be sponsoring group runs from Athleta stores in NYC. After the runs, there is a quick stretching class, some refreshments and a workshop of some kind.
So my friend and I signed up and went to the UES Athleta store. There were a ton of women there! I was very impressed by the turnout.
The start of the event was very well organized. They had 3 people checking us in and gave out rubber bracelets to indicate you were part of the running group. There were dressing rooms in the back which were designated as bag checks, and the store has a restroom (which is definitely a perk if you need to go before you run!) About 15 minutes after we got there, Rachel, the event leader, explained the run and we all headed over to Central Park.
The whole group was divided into three smaller groups; advanced runners, intermediate runners and beginner runners.
Advanced = approximately 7 min mile
Intermediate = approximately 9 min mile
Beginner = approximately 10 min mile OR there was another walk/jog group as well.
We elected to go for the beginner/10 min mile group. The beginner group was still pretty large, but literally as soon as we started running, the whole group dispersed really quickly and it was just me and my friend running together. She is also a newer runner, and neither of us have run with another person before. We enjoyed it (OK, I did, I guess I shouldn't speak for her!) We were able to have a conversation mostly (although there were definitely some awkward breathing pauses) and it was good to have someone else who can monitor the pace and keep me from speeding up too much. We ran around the reservoir 2 times, which is a 5K. Unfortunately, my cardio trainer on my phone did not work and we have no idea how long it took us. I would say I ran slower than I normally do, but we also did not walk as much as I have in the past either.
We did a quick stretch, and then headed back to the Athleta store. There were complimentary drinks from Honeydrop as well as teeeeeny tiny Luna bars in my favorite flavors. We also got gift bags for being part of the very first one of the season. My gift bag contained 2 hair ties, a blueberry bliss Luna Bar (which I've never had before), an Athleta catalog and a water bottle (as seen below). My friend's bag the same things, except instead of a water bottle, she had a hat from Athleta.
|Amphipod waterbottle - it is designed so you do not have to actively grip the waterbottle. The strap also has a great pocket that would fit keys, gel, a small MP3 player or other small items. It's nice when you wear clothes without pockets!|
The workshop after was about nutrition, but by the time we got back to the store, there were too many people surrounding the nutritionist for us to even hear what she was saying. I think this was the only disappointing part of the event - we wanted to learn more, but we couldnt hear everything that was going on. My guess is that the number of people running will thin out over time and we'll be able to get more out of the workshops as time goes on.
All in all, I enjoyed the event. We are planning to go back every other Sunday as long as we're available. I would love to see some more familiar faces at these runs too! I always thought I didn't want to run with another person, but it turned out to be pretty enjoyable and made the run feel like it was much quicker. Also, my friend is a lot better at maintaining the pace, so when I'd speed up, I'd realize I have to slow down to stay with her.
I haven't planned out the rest of my week's workouts yet. I have 2 more Core classes, a week at Clay Fitness to try and a month at NY yoga still! I need to get started on some of these things before they expire. I'm hoping to get in at least 3 workouts this week including at least 1 run from work to home, since I have not done that in almost a month.
Do you prefer to run alone or with other people? Have you tried any running groups in your area? What do you think of the snazzy new water bottle?