When we learned we’d be moving to Saratoga Springs, I immediately started scoping out local running groups. So for months, I’ve known I would be joining the Saratoga Stryders as soon as we arrived in town. But we’ve been busy every Saturday morning, when the group meets for its laid-back fun run. So last night, despite an insane heat wave making it feel like we never left D.C., we headed down to Saratoga Spa State Park for the group’s weekly speed workout.
The park itself is gorgeous and historic, with a major concert arena (SPAC, or Saratoga Performing Arts Center) and spring-fed mineral baths. Turns out, there are also some beautiful trails. That’s where we did the speed workout, which last night was 5 X 1,000 with 1-minute breaks in between intervals. I only did four, having arrived late. I didn’t get the memo that the group was meeting in a new place—newbie mistake!
As soon as I arrived, a woman I met at last week’s open-water swim greeted me warmly, and told me she was glad I came. Naturally, I latched onto her pace group, which turned out to be running at 8-minute mile pace. The 1,000-meter loop was through a cool, lovely stretch of woods, on a flat trail covered with pine needles. It was about as good as it gets for a speed workout on a hot summer night. Still, the heat made it tough to pace—a tempo that felt just fine in the first minute or two would lead to unbearable overheating by the last minute or two.
After we finished the last rep, everyone stood around talking about how they had to adjust their pace because of the heat, or how they were surprised that they pulled out a fast rep on the last one, or how they were still kind of sore from running in the morning—you know, the stuff runners talk about. I proudly announced that since I couldn’t remember the last time I did a speed workout, I was just happy to have made it through to the end without vomiting on myself. One woman in my pace group high-fived me, but noted that “vomiting on yourself mid-run would actually earn you points in a group of runners.”
Aaand, I’ve found my people.