Sunday, September 2, 2007

Run with Baton Rouge Club South Runners

8.34 miles, 1:06:13, 7:56 Pace (approximates**)

Typically I've been using Sundays as a very easy day to recover from my long runs on Saturday. But today, being in Baton Rouge, I decided to join the Club South Runners for their regularly scheduled Sunday Run. I had no idea what the distance or pace would be, but I was ready for a long-ish run since I felt great. I showed up at the tiger cage at 6:45 AM hoping the website was accurate and that I wouldn't be the only runner there.

I need to take a slight detour at this point to discuss the phrase "tiger cage" for those of you who never lived in Baton Rouge. The tiger cage is the official residence of Mike the Tiger, the mascot of LSU. It's nestled between Death Valley (the football stadium) and the Pete Maravich Assembly Center (the basketball arena). Unfortunately Mike V passed away in May, and we are currently without a live mascot. But excitement currently pervades the city as its newest resident, Roscoe, moved into the tiger cage yesterday. If all goes well, he will be initiated as Mike VI in a matter of days.

That being said, the tiger cage has been the meeting spot for this group of runners for quite a few years. It was lagniappe for me that I got an early morning, semi-private audience with Roscoe. Thousands will visit him over the Labor Day weekend.

The run was great. The weather relented (appx 75), the group was very receptive to a new face (me), and the course was beautiful (LSU Lakes). We stared out on a warm-up pace, but quickly ramped up to sub 8 minute speed. I wasn't surprised by the speed, based on the appearance of my fellow runners. I was the youngest in the group, which ranged up to 62 years old. But a curious paradox exists among runners, in that the older guys often run the fastest. This doesn't necessarily apply at an elite level, but among recreational runners the older guys tend to do quite well because running is usually a lifelong endeavor for them.

Julie and her sister have always told me that the Baton Rouge running community is a closely-knit yet welcoming group, and today's experience certainly confirmed that. I'm hoping to do my Saturday long run with them next week since I'll be in BR yet again for LSU's home opener against Virginia Tech.

**Motionbased, the Garmin website I used to upload my runs, is currently down, so I'll post the quantitative data later.

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