How has your running been going this month? Now that many of the big races are over, there is so much more freedom to run when you want and where you want!
I recently talked about how to stay fit in the off-season, and I’m looking to take advantage of it by really putting myself out there for the Running Club Roundup – hopefully I’ll be able to run with a new group every 1-2 weeks over the next month!
This week I ran with Shack Track and Field – they meet on the second Tuesday of the month in Philly. Keep reading to see how it went!Love running, burgers, and shakes? Check out the @shakeshack Shack Track & Field #runchat #sweatpink Click To Tweet
So I must make a confession…this week’s running club roundup is a week late. Normally, the Running Club Roundup takes place on the 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month. Last week, I was still suffering from a cold so I didn’t make it out to run with a group – but now I’m healthy and ready to keep it moving!
It has been quite an adventure with the Running Club Roundup so far – lately, I’ve been stalking running groups on Facebook and plotting my way to join their weekly or monthly runs. There’s so much to look forward to! It seems like I learn about new running groups in the Philadelphia area every week, and I gotta catch ’em all!
Through this process, I hope I’m encouraging you to consider the benefits of running with a group and maybe even find the right type of running group for you, even if you only join them once in a while.
This week’s group run is with Shack Track and Field, hosted by Shake Shack and Philadelphia Runner. This is my fourth running club roundup – check out the other groups I’ve run with so far, in case you missed it:
As I’ve been stalking a variety of running clubs on Facebook, I received an event reminder that the Shack Track and Field Running Club would be meeting this past Tuesday. I’ve known about the group for a little while now but never had the opportunity to join in the fun – now I had my chance.
Over the summer while on a run, I was passed by a huge flock of Shack Track and Field runners along the Schuylkill Boardwalk. It looked like a really solid group, surprising since they only meet monthly. I was really looking forward to seeing what it was all about!
Shack Track and Field is a FREE fitness community club sponsored by Shake Shack. If you never heard of Shake Shack, it’s one of the coolest fast food restaurants around – they serve burgers, dogs, fries, shakes, custards, and beer!
Shack Track and Field is much bigger than Philadelphia, and it even encompasses more than running – there’s cycling, yoga, and more – and there are meetups all along the east coast! All group runs take place on the 2nd Tuesday of the month at 7 pm and end at a local Shake Shack! See if there’s a Shack Track & Field group in your area and check out their Facebook page:
As usual, I was a bit rushed heading out to meet the Shack Track and Field group at Philadelphia Runner by 7 pm. I encouraged Bret to come on the run with me, so I waited for him to get home from work so we could take an Uber to Philadelphia Runner on Walnut Street. Thankfully, we made it to University City quickly and headed inside to meet the group.
I was a little bit confused when I walked in. There were about 10 people waiting in the running store. I wasn’t really sure who was in charge or when we would take off, so Bret and I awkwardly stood around for a little bit. A few people were paired off with each other and seemed to know each other well. Usually I try to be outgoing when I come to a new group, but I didn’t really have much to say this time. I dropped off my bag in a box that would be transported to Shack Shake, which was so convenient.
Fortunately, the awkwardness quickly passed and we were asked to gather ’round. Liz, an employee of Philly Runner and leader of the group, introduced herself and gave us the rules: go at your own pace, watch the traffic lights. We would only be going for a 3 mile run since it was so dark. Liz mentioned she would be taking it easy since she just ran the Rocky 50K Fat Ass Run the previous Sunday. By the way, if you haven’t heard of that, it’s an ultramarathon where runners run the entire route of Rocky Balboa’s training in Rocky II…crazy!
Before I knew it, we were headed out the door and down Walnut Street heading east to the Schuylkill trail. I didn’t do any warmups pre-run – d’oh. These runners were FAST. As usual, I brought up the rear, this time with Bret by my side, but there was another pair of runners that we were close to us for most of the run.
As we ran over the Walnut Street Bridge we lost the fast group – we weren’t really sure where to go, but the other pair of runners helped us out to get on the right path. It was kind of amusing to me that starting out from University City could be so confusing!
I didn’t use my Nike watch, but I’m pretty sure we ran at a 10-minute pace or less. If you know me, that’s considered my speed work! It was really peaceful on the trail though, but there’s a section that is completely dark. I’ve heard runners complain about it for months now, but it was my first time experiencing it first-hand. We need to get those lights fixed!
Liz was waiting for us at the halfway mark at Paine Park, the skateboarding park. We told her we had one more pair behind us and turned back around. I was really looking forward to getting to Shake Shack. On the way back, we went up the Chestnut Street bridge and ran down Chestnut until we FINALLY made it to the promised land!
After the run is the best part…food and drinks at Shake Shack! Again, we were a little bit confused about what happens next, but we saw some of the runners already drinking their free beer when we walked in. Did I forget to mention we got a FREE beer for running with Shack Track and Field?
One of the employees – and I wish I got her name since she was SO nice – welcomed us to Shake Shack and congratulated us for finishing our runs. We decided to get dinner. Bret got a burger and fries and I went for the Shack-cago dog as an attempt to get something with the least amount of calories. We were excited for our free beers, which were fantastic!
As we waited for our food, I continued chatting with this awesome employee and mentioned that I’ve never had a Shake Shack custard. I could barely get the words out when she asked me if I wanted chocolate, vanilla, or holiday cookie. I sheepishly replied, “Holiday cookie?” What a kind and sweet gesture! And it was delicious!
We took a few pictures of the group (why didn’t I get one with my phone?!), and I talked a little bit more about the Shack Track and Field with Liz. Apparently, they used to host Shack Track at the Center City location, but the space was too small for the number of runners that would participate. Unfortunately, it looks like their participation rate has dropped since they moved to University City, which is really a shame because it’s only a mile or two west of Center City. People are often too lazy to cross the Schuylkill River!
I have to admit that I don’t go into University City very often since moving away 2 years ago for the same reason, even though it really is a 10-minute drive and there is so much to do over there! So that gave me some food for thought…
Before you know it, Bret and I were done with our meals and it was time to head back home. The runners that stayed for dinner seemed pretty nice, but I wasn’t able to jump into the conversation, unfortunately. Maybe next time? We actually decided to walk, since again, it’s really not that far away. I’m glad I got to try a new group and gain some greater appreciation for Shake Shack!
Shack Track and Field is an awesome concept for a running group. If you want to go for a fun run and end it with a feast, this is a great group for you.
It’s really a shame that not as many people are making it out to University City. The bigger the group you have, the more fun it is running in a pack! Hopefully, this roundup will help spread the word to get more people to come out.
Speaking for my experience in Philly, I would recommend bringing a friend with you on your first run to help break the ice. I will probably come back for Shack Track and Field when the weather is warmer!
Sharing this post with Jill Conyers for Fitness Friday!
Would you try a Shack Track and Field group run if you had one in your area?