Paragon Sports Run Club, or How I Ended Up Running in the Saucony Kinvara

A few weeks ago, I was in Manhattan for a conference. I had no plans for a Tuesday night, so I decided to check out the Paragon Sports Run Club, a weekly Tuesday evening event. And I pretty much decided that I need a Run Club like that around here, mostly because I went on a sponsored night, meaning I got to test out shoes, ate free food, and left with some swag.

Saucony Kinvara 5.

I got to test the Saucony Kinvara 5s, which are a very lightweight shoe with very breathable mesh. (And the logo swoosh matched my capris!) My first impression is that they fit very well and were reasonably comfortable for a shoe that doesn’t have a lot of cushioning. But as I got further into the run, my feet weren’t super-happy with me. The lack of cushioning is a bit of a problem – I wear insoles in my regular running shoes. But I did find that because they were so lightweight, I was able to run pretty fast. My crabby knee was also crabbing at me later. So I don’t think I’d pick out the Saucony Kinvara 5 as a regular or racing shoe, but it was fun to try them out and see how they worked. And I did run an 8:03 mile in them.

And I had a blast with the Paragon Sports Run Club.

You can see New Jersey!

We started off at the store in Union Square, making our way to the Hudson River Parkway. And that’s where the fun began. After stretching a bit (and snapping a pic across the Hudson), we broke up into pace groups. I joined the 9-10 minute milers, and we did speed intervals. The leader of my group said that I was in the wrong pace group because I didn’t seem to be straining. That was a nice ego boost. After a couple miles of that, it was time to REALLY have fun. That meant running a fast mile. Gulp. Some guy bet that I could run a 7:30 mile. I let him know he’d have to notify my husband of my hospitalization if I attempted that.

And cool buildings!

So off I went with the 7-8 minute mile group for that. I was huffing, puffing, and running with the rest of them, and I did not come in last. But I did run an 8:03 mile, which felt pretty good.

What really felt awesome, though, was that I was with a group of runners. Like-minded folk who run half marathons and enjoy just being out there. I got to run on the Hudson River Parkway, which was gorgeous, and as we ran down it, I could see the Freedom Tower. I got mistaken for a New Yorker. (That’s the ULTIMATE compliment.) And in a way, I was just another anonymous New Yorker that night, out for the run and the company and the free food and water at the end (and to snag a Saucony-branded towel and Ultimate Frisbee). I felt like I fit in. For someone like me, who has spent a lifetime trying to figure out where she fits in with everyone else, a run club is like coming home. I mean, I was talking to some other women who do half marathons and are in my pace range, and we were just talking about nutrition and speed and what our goals were, and I was totally at ease.

Running has definitely given me a lot – the chance to explore, meet awesome people, try out new shoes, and most of all, feel like I fit in somewhere. So two thumbs up to the Paragon Sports Run Club for giving me a fun Tuesday evening. You guys were awesome.