I’m a Psycho….and I’m 100% okay with that.

The greatest time of year has officially kicked off in my world, and I am ELATED!

This time, of course, would be the time of year where I can say goodbye to the treadmill and indoor track and take my running outdoors.

Hi, spring! So glad to see you!

Hi, spring! So glad to see you!

Earlier this week I had my first run outside with my running pals, Steve and Gary. Not only was it my first run outside in lovely weather, but it was my first run in over a month and a half since I was sick and out of commission for so long.  While it was a little more challenging than I had hoped, it lifted my spirits and gave me the motivation I had to keep pushing forward. As most of you know, being sick for such an extensive period of time forced me to make a really difficult decision: I had to drop down from the full marathon in Pittsburgh to the half marathon. It did deflate me for awhile, but after my run on Monday, I actually felt okay with it. True, it is something I really wanted to do, but if I have learned anything from the past year it is to adapt…..so that is what I am doing. My new full marathon plan involves running in Columbus in October.

The fact that the greatest time of year is here also means something else…..race season has officially started! The weekend is my beloved running club’s Shamrock 5k/15k, which unfortunately I am not participating in this year. Since I was unsure health wise where I would be on race day, I figured it was better to be safe than sorry. Still, I hate missing any opportunity to wear my leprechaun tuxedo.

Maybe I will just wear it to work Monday…..

Maybe I will just wear it to work Monday…..

The Shamrock run is one that will always hold a special place in my heart. Why you ask? It was my very first race as a member of Summit Athletic Running Club (SARC for short) and the beginning of some very wonderful friendships. I made many decisions and changes over the last few years, but one of the absolute best was joining this running club. SARC is an awesome organization, and for those of you in the area that are considering joining a club, let me share a few details about it.

-Clearly, we run. There are various running groups within the club where members meet to run daily, weekly, or monthly based on varying paces and availability. If you are a beginner, there are runners who can help you prepare for your first 5K. If you are a seasoned professional, you can meet up with the Phylers and throw down an easy 20 miler on a Saturday.

-When it comes to club sponsored runs like the Shamrock, many of us participate. If we can’t run, we volunteer. Volunteering is such an important part of the club, so if you aren’t a runner but would like to meet new people or be involved in the running community without actually running, volunteering is the way to go. Our club honestly could not function without the volunteers….plus it is a lot of fun! This morning I volunteered at the Shamrock packet pickup, which is always a good time. It also pays to volunteer and participate in the club. For every activity you participate in, you receive Reach for the Summit points. Those who earn enough are invited to a special dinner after the year ends, plus you can cash those points in for cool stuff at the end of the year. Look what my points helped me get this year….you know these are totally Kate-tastic shoes:

New running kicks in two of my favorite colors….and the bottom is reflective, too!

New running kicks in two of my favorite colors….and the bottom is reflective, too!

-Once a month, we have a club meeting where we eat, socialize, and listen to a guest speaker. I always am amazed what I learn from the speakers the club brings in. This past week we learned about some common running injuries and ways to prevent them….and I found a stretch that makes my entire body feel great after a workout.

I borrowed this picture from SARC's Facebook page…our speaker, Dr. Leo Kormanik, sharing a stretch known as "The Bretzel". I love it.

I borrowed this picture from SARC’s Facebook page…our speaker, Dr. Leo Kormanik, sharing a stretch known as “The Bretzel”. I love it.

-We make awesome friendships. While I have made so many wonderful friends of all ages over the past year, there is a special group of people who I have grown to love dearly. We choose to call ourselves “The SARC Psychos”…..because we tend to get a little psycho about running races together. I always love running with these people…we all run at different paces, but it is always fun to compete with each other and motivate each other along the way. There were a time during the Home Run for a Homeless race on Thanksgiving that I was absolutely struggling, and Steve (who had already finished because he is quick like the wind), turned around to run the last half mile with me. Running friends push each other. That’s why I love having them in my life…they make me run better every single day. Plus this group is an absolute blast, and I always find myself smiling and full of laughter when I am with them.

Andrea, Me, Sarah, Sharon, and Gary. Only one missing is Steve!

Andrea, Me, Sarah, Sharon, and Gary. Only one missing is Steve!

I love being a part of this club year round, not just this time of year where the exciting races and chip parties and fun stuff kicks off, but even during the down time, too. It’s the best $20 I’ve ever spent.

Want to be a part of this cool club? We always love new members! Check out our website for upcoming events and information http://www.summitathletic.com!

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