Group run with the Westminster Road Runners Club is fun, hilly

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When my alarm went off shortly before 6:30 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 2, I considered not getting up and heading out to the group run at McDaniel College. I had woken up at about 4:30 a.m. the previous day to make it to the Casey Cares 5K from Salisbury, and I don’t think I was quite caught up on my sleep.

I’m glad I decided to get out of bed.

From my family’s house in Hampstead, Maryland, I drove to McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland, for the 7 a.m. run, not knowing exactly where the group would be meeting. It was described on the club’s website, where I’d seen the information about the run, but I couldn’t picture it. But when I got there, it was easy to spot the runners, and I parked to run with the group.

The group members were very friendly and welcoming. It turned out that one of the runners worked with one of my longtime close friends at one of the county high schools, which was cool. After one of my shoes came untied during the run, another runner showed me a better way to tie my running shoes when we stopped for water.

I brought a water bottle with me, but the club offered me some of their water, as well, and I took some of that at the first stop, conserving some of the rest of my water.

It was nice to get to explore a different area on foot during the run, which was a little more than eight-and-a-half miles. I was originally planning to run 10 miles, but I decided because of the extent of the hills, I would be OK with about 8.5.

It seemed like we were almost always going uphill or downhill, even if it wasn’t too steep at times. But there were some steep spots.

My Garmin watch tracked 448 feet of elevation gain for the Sunday run. Here’s how that compares to some recent Salisbury runs: an elevation gain of 7 feet for a 3.83 mile run on Thursday, 10 feet for a 4.17 mile run on Wednesday and 0 feet for my 10 miler last Sunday, July 26. (I’m not sure how the previous Sunday’s run on July 19, on close to the same route, had an 106-foot elevation gain, but either way, that’s far less than 448 feet.)

So, the hills in Westminster were definitely not what I’m used to. However, I am glad I got this hill work in to help me better prepare for the Baltimore Marathon this October.

My watch tracked a pace of 9:39 per mile, not including the water stops, which was also faster than I’ve been going recently for long runs.

I would love to run with the group again next time I’m in town, and it seemed like they’d happily welcome me back.

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