The Good that comes from Run Camp

Heather Glazer, Gazelle Sports Northville Run Camp Participant

Joining the Winter Run Camp has been one of my best decisions.

Author Maxim Tourou / Category Architecture / Published: Apr-05-2018

I started running to get into shape several years ago. It was not a regular habit or anything that I was good at. In fact, I was clueless about the proper run technique, proper shoes, proper nutrition for fueling my runs, proper race training, etc. I ran a few 5ks with my daughter and/or friends and could barely complete 3.1 miles without feeling like I was dying.

I do not like to fail at anything, so I did a lot of online research and devised my own training program. Unfortunately, just when I was seeing signs of improvement, I was involved in a serious car accident that sidelined me for nearly a year. As I got back into building my body up and slowly took on running again, my journey transformed into triathlon training. I competed in several triathlons in 2018, but the run portion was my biggest weakness and clearly needed work.

"I trained alone and was not very good about holding myself accountable."

I signed up for the 2018 Free Press Half Marathon because I was convinced that training for it would be good for my run conditioning. I trained alone and was not very good about holding myself accountable. As a consequence, I never ran a training run further than 8.75 miles. Everything about that half marathon was a failure - I took it out way too fast, I cramped up, I completely bonked, I had to stop often to walk and I ultimately hobbled my way to the finish line with a time of 2:44.46. Needless to say, I was frustrated with my performance.

I met a few Run Campers at Gazelle Sports Northville one day in early December. They noticed my Free Press jacket and talked to me about running. They told me about the Run Camp and how they all trained together for the Free Press Half Marathon and Marathon. I told them that I wasn’t much of a runner but had been picked for the lottery for the NYC Half Marathon in March and had signed up for a half marathon in Alabama in February with my daughter. They told me about their successes with the Run Camp and convinced me to join so that I could proper train for my races.

"We all offer each other words of encouragement and show each other support during training runs as well as races."

Joining the Winter Run Camp has been one of my best decisions. First, running with others makes running so much more enjoyable and makes the miles pass by quickly. Second, I have made lifelong friends. We do not just meet up on designated run days, we meet throughout the week for impromptu runs, drinks, dinner, lunches, karaoke nights, and birthday runs. We are constantly signing up for various 5ks, 10ks and half marathons. We all offer each other words of encouragement and show each other support during training runs as well as races.

"We may be nuts, but we're all having crazy fun together and becoming better runners along the way."

— Heather Glazer

In February, I ran a half marathon full of steep hills in Alabama. I finished in 2:34.15 - a 10:16 PR! In March I ran the NYC Half determined to cut more time...I finished in 2:29.29, another PR by over 4 minutes. Then, just 7 days later, I had the experience of a lifetime — My Run Camp group leader unselfishly ignored her own chance to PR and carried 5 members of our pace group for 13.1 miles so that one could become a proud member of the sub-2:30 club and I could beat my PR from the NYC Half just one week prior. Kelsey never stopped smiling and kept encouraging all of us every step of the way. She pushed us when we needed it and kept us reigned in when we got excited and wanted to take off too fast. She never let me doubt myself and did not let me give up. Kelsey and I crossed the finish line hand-in-hand in celebration of the new PR she helped me to achieve. It was a moment that I’ll never forget and I am so glad we were able to share it together.

In just 3 months, Gazelle Sports Winter Run Camp has taught me to conquer: long runs in single digit wind chills that freeze your eyelashes, pelting sleet that freezes the on/off button on headphones, snow up to my shins (requiring bounding like a deer into others’ tracks), icy streets/sidewalks that are nearly impossible to stand upright on, chilling rain, high winds, darkness that requires an entire pack of runners to work together to light the way, 5 Mile Hill (on miserable repeats), Northville hills on repeat, intervals at speeds that nearly induce vomiting, and distances that I never thought possible for myself. If I was doing it alone, I’d probably never lace up my shoes for an outdoor run in the conditions we’ve encountered. But, I wasn’t alone and THAT is exactly why I did it. Each one of those runs was a building block and when the negative thoughts entered my head during my last 3 half marathons, I reminded myself of all of the crazy things that we conquered this winter that had others thinking we’re nuts. We may be nuts, but we’re all having crazy fun together and becoming better runners along the way.