Last night I made a spontaneous decision to head out to a group run I'd heard about via Philadelphia Runner (@PhillyRun) on Twitter. It's been a long time since I've run with a group, and the cooler weather inspired me to get out there and socialize instead of slogging along for yet another solo run.
The run was organized by Young Involved Philadelphia (YiP for short), a group who's mission is "to build relationships and increase civic engagement to empower and connect young Philadelphians." One of their outreach programs is a monthly group run partnered with Philadelphia Runner, my favorite local running store in Philly.
We met up at 6:30 at the Philadelphia Runner in Center City. The group was split into a shorter 2.8 mile run and a longer, 4.4 mile run. I ran about 2 miles from my house to the store, so I decided to take the longer run to round out 6.4 miles for the day. We ran down the Ben Franklin Parkway towards the Art Museum and then headed east through my old 'hood, Fairmount. Then we headed south back down Broad Street all the way to Spruce Street and ended at the Philadelphia Horticultural Society (PHS) Pop-Up Garden.
PHS builds a different "pop-up" garden every summer, which transforms a vacant lot into a summer hideaway, offering drinks and snacks in a natural setting. I had been wanting to visit this year's garden for the whole summer, and was glad that the run gave me an opportunity to visit and have a beer. At the garden, we listened to a few folks from PHS and YiP speak about their missions and how young people could get involved with both organizations.
Credit: @PhillyRun (instagram)
After the talk, I headed into the garden to have a brew with some of the runners I met at the group. In the spirit of the impending fall season and cooler temps, I ordered a Philadelphia Brewing Company Kenzolantern, a new seasonal addition to PBC's lineup. I consider myself a bit of an expert on pumpkin beers, mostly because I usually drink so many kinds in September that by Halloween I can't stomach anything pumpkin flavored. PBC's take on pumpkin beer was a bit overdone. The flavor was intense and spicy, and I would not consider having more than one of these beers in a night. Having said that, the spiciness was a nice complement to the cool, fall-like night.
After chatting about upcoming races with some of the West Philly Runners who attended the event, I decided to run home since I still felt motivated and relatively sober. It was about 1.7 miles home and I was happy to end the night with a cumulative total of 8.1 miles. I felt reinvigorated after a long, tiring day, and was pleasantly reminded about how much fun running with like-minded individuals can be. Needless to say, I think this group run is going to become a monthly staple.