Sunday, June 29, 2014

Run Club with Nike Portland

Nike Portland Run Club.

  May and June in the Northwest can be frustrating. Summer is near, but the weather may not always reflect what the calendar says.

  Of course, there are teasers on occasion. But usually the warm, sunny days are scattered between week long bouts of gray, drizzly days.

  In the two weeks that I've been home, I've caught myself feeling like it's mid-July or August on several occasions, but obviously that isn't the case.

  What the summer-like weather has allowed me to do is get a jump on a few summer activities. 

  One of those activities is the Run Club at Nike Portland. It's something I've been wanting to do for a while now, but haven't gotten a chance to participate in.

  I've written before about my fondness/obsession with running.

  More often than not though, running is a solo act for me. Running gives me a chance to clear my head, plan out my day, think through whatever might be running through my mind, and just get outside into the fresh air. No matter how the day is going for me, after 35-45 minutes of pounding the pavement (or the sand, when I'm lucky), the day always gets that much better. 

Tom McCall Waterfront Park.
  But there are definite benefits to a run club.

Run Club Plusses
  For one, it makes running social.

  Portland is an active city, and Oregon in general, is a state that runs. So there are a lot of runners, each with their own interesting story throughout the Rose City. Who knows who you might meet at run club!

  It's been said that the toughest step is a runner's first step out the door. Sometimes that is absolutely true. There are days when you just don't want to get out there. Where you're tired, or don't feel like running. If you do make it out the door, the run usually gets better after those first tough steps or those unmotivated thoughts. But the key is getting out the door.

  Having a run club to go to, makes those first steps easier. It's scheduled. You're going to meet people. Even though they'd run even without you there, you're being held accountable to a certain extent.

  Run club also gives you a change from your usual routes/routines. Every route gets tiresome and boring at some point. Why not find a few new ones?

I got to take the Flyknit Lunar 1 out for a spin!
  One benefit is unique to the Nike Run Club, and came as a surprise to me: you're able to test out new shoes and products during the run club. 

   For three weeks at a time, Nike Portland has new shoe models and products available to try out. If you're thinking about a new pair of shoes, or a new gadget, your local Nike store might let you test it out. If it's a new product for you, you can test it to see if it's to your liking before you plunk down the money.

  I tested the Flyknit Lunar 1. And just one test run was all it took for me to decide they'd be my next runner. 

  Finally, Run Club is free, and I'm betting you'll gain more than you lose from participating. Though I did have to pay for parking. 

  Specifics of the Nike Portland Run Club:
  Portland run club meets twice a week, on Mondays and Wednesdays at 6:30, at Nike Portland (on SW 5th & Morrison). They have four different routes they cycle through (Waterfront leftWaterfront rightTerwilliger and the Waterfront Esplanade). Since Portland's downtown sits on the Willamette River waterfront, most of the runs have some pretty scenery.

  Depending on how you're feeling that day, you can choose between a 3, 5 or 7-mile run. All the runs are led by numerous pacers, so no runner will be left behind!

  The warm, sunny Wednesday I went to Run Club there were about 10 other runners. I was told that as the summer weather becomes more and more consistent (usually July thru September), there can be as many as 30-35 runners.

  The out-and-back went quickly for me that day. It was nice chatting up new people, hearing about what they do, what they were training for, what event they had just run, and anything else that might have come up over the course of a 5-mile run. 

  After we made our way back to SW 5th and Morrison, there was water, coconut water, recovery gels and protein bars if we wanted. I've never tried coconut water, so again this gave me the perfect opportunity to test out something new. Can't say I'm a fan, however, so I'll just stick to water.

It's looking a lot like summer in Portland.
A Few Run Club Minuses
  A few things I didn't like: getting out of the city center. It was constant stop and go at crosswalks and lights the first five-plus minutes. Though, once we got to the waterfront, it was fabulous.

  And for me, since I don't work downtown, it's a little difficult to get into the city during the busiest time of the day. But it makes perfect sense for people who already are working downtown, or live close by. 

  There are different run clubs all over the country. They don't always have to be associated with a worldwide corporation like Nike. Sometimes they can just be a group of friends who plan to meet a couple times a week.

  Finding various run clubs in your area can be as easy as googling it, or maybe even check Facebook for a group.

  If running is your thing, or you want it to be your thing, check one out! You won't regret it. I know I'll be going back to the Nike Portland Run Club as often as I can!