Today was my last day running with the Nike Run Club before I head back to Florida next weekend. It was a bit different than the other Saturdays. When I arrived I was let in by a security guard and everyone was just standing around by the door. Usually everyone is more spread out and chatting in different groups, but today: total silence. So I just stood around as well until we were ready to go outside to warm up. We went a couple blocks to a central park and stood in two lines to do our dynamic stretches and warm ups. After the group picture we got in our distance groups to do a cheer before we headed out.
I always found it weird that they group people based on distance rather than pace because everyone running eight miles isn’t going to be running it at the same pace, but that’s how they do things. They supposedly have one person sweeping between all the groups but I never saw them. I tried to stay with the lead group, but I wasn’t feeling as great as last week. I had a pretty good pace, but a little after we started I was on my own; there were either groups in front of me or behind me. It’s weird that no one goes my pace, but I still had a great time!
I wasn’t real far behind during the first lap as I maintained a steady pace. My mile splits were around 8:30 to 9:00, which is great for a long training run. We made our loop around the river and came to the water stop at about 3.4 miles. Why not four? no idea. The loops are supposed to be 4 miles long so some people can just run one loop, the eight milers can run 2 loops, and the twelve milers can run 3 loops. I’ve run with them 3 weeks in a row and the loop is never four miles long. I was a bit disappointed because I knew that I would have to make up the rest of the eight miles after the second loop.
After I drank my water we headed off with a different pacer leading the group. Another thing that was different from the other weeks were the pacers; I only recognized two of them. As I followied this new pacer the gap between us started to increase. I just couldn’t keep up! I was already running faster than my training pace and they kept increasing to complete a progression run. One reason I really wanted to keep up may seem silly but it was because of the photographs. I may have mentioned this before but there is a photographer that rides a bike past us as we run and then stops at different points along the route to take our pictures. There are amazing photos and one week there were some that had runners running right in front of the Boston skyline across the river. I was not in one because I believe he had left before I arrived at the spot. With so many runners at different paces he can’t get everyone in every area. This week being my last, I really wanted that picture to sum up my love for running and running in Boston. The ultimate Boston souvenir! I think I am in luck because when I passed the skyline he was there taking photos! I will have to wait a couple days when the photos are sent to me to find out.
After the photo spot we made our way over the Harvard Bridge and back to Boston. Instead of turning left after I exited the bridge I turned right to try and make up some miles before I returned to the water stop. I ran all the way parallel to Kenmore and then turned around and headed back. When I arrived only the pacers were there and I was still only at 7 miles. Apparently everyone else had finished and ran back to the store, so I grabbed another water and headed back myself. When I made it to the park where we warmed up I took a right and ran all the way to the end and then back. I was at a slower pace now and just wanted to finish my eight miles. I ran back to the store and the Nike app said I had gone about 7.75 miles. I decided to go in and make up the rest on my way home. The guard let me in and then I went to the back to get another water. They also had a bunch of protein bars gels and other items for fueling on a long run; I took one of each. After that I stretched a bit and then decided to head home. When I got there I still needed more distance so I ran up and down Newbury Street until my Nike + app said 8 miles.
My 8 miles ended up taking 1:11:32 which gives me a pace of 8:56 per mile. I have really enjoyed these Nike runs while I have been away from home. It gives me something amazing to do every Saturday. If any of you are near one of these clubs, take advantage of it. There is something to do almost every day of the week. It is a great program and an amazing opportunity to learn and run with people who also love running. And Nike: if you are reading this please bring one of these stores to Florida, Orlando in particular. Thanks!