It’s a beautiful August evening in Bethel with moderate temperatures, crystal clear skies, and little traffic as I sit outdoors in front of Whitlock’s Restaurant with just our party of three. The service is attentive and the food is better than ever. This is the most relaxed and safe I’ve felt patronizing a public establishment since the pandemic upended our lives and I just want the evening to go slow.
Out of the corner of my eye I spy a young, male runner. Shirtless, hair blowing in the wind, he glides by with relaxed strides and just seems to fit in perfectly with the evening’s vibe. What strikes me at that moment is how often I see runners when I’m out and about in Bethel regardless of time of day, season, or weather. Many I see at night as I’m walking off dinner at one of Bethel’s fine restaurants, or early on a Sunday morning when many runners take advantage of the lighter than usual traffic to get in their workouts. It reminds me of how I used to train when race times mattered and would head out after a long day at work and commuting to get my run in, or head down to Central Park early on a Sunday morning to get in my long run. In those days I lived in Co-Op City in The Bronx and much of my running was done in the dark, either early in the morning or late at night, often dodging traffic and tolerating polluted air.
So why am I doing this and what’s in it for you? I’m looking to reach out to runners and provide useful information based on the trials and tribulations of being a dedicated runner for over 40 years. I’ll give my take on relevant topics pertaining to the running community and share my experiences as a runner balancing other commitments like working demanding jobs (in IT), commuting long distances, going to grad school, and raising a family, all on very little sleep. I’ll share tips and lessons learned to help you maximize your training, avoid injury, and hopefully find balance with other commitments and goals. Whether you’re hard-core or run occasionally around the block, you’re a runner and I want this column to be enjoyable, fun, and worth your time reading.
I’ll pick topics based on your input and I encourage you to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your interests, thoughts, and experiences. I’ll try to reply to as many of you as time allows and share some of your thoughts in future articles.
For now, the behemoth that’s impacting the running community is the pandemic. How has it impacted you? For me I’ve dialed back my training given the absence of races. Not that my motivation isn’t there, I just feel it’s a good time to renew while maintaining base fitness until racing restarts. Full disclosure: I haven’t tried virtual racing but I don’t think they would work for me.
Other observations are that the pandemic may have increased running participation as more people have left the gyms and taken to the roads and treadmills at home. There are numerous articles on the web stating that sales of running shoes and home gym equipment, including treadmills, have dramatically increased since April. So where do you land in the midst of this? Have you started running, increased your mileage, or, like me, dialed it back for a specific reason? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this and report back in a future update. Let’s connect!