PotatoHampton 5K Preview: Why I Run

There are few things better than running along the beach. Or down the shady path of the hundred-year-old trees that canopy Southampton’s Wyandanch Lane. Or around my meticulously mapped out four-mile loop that conveniently ends at Ted’s East End Market so I can grab an egg sandwich.

My sister and I call that one the “food run.” (And we walk home, as we enjoy our favorite breakfast.) If I didn’t like running barefoot on the beach, as I splash through the ocean’s white water, that would be my preferred fun run.
 I ran track at college in North Carolina, and I fell in love with the comaraderie that comes with logging miles and miles and miles of long group runs and intense track workouts.
 And nothing beats a
 runner’s high. Truly.

Our runs around a
nearby lake were both
 beloved and despised, depending upon how
our legs were feeling.
 But the lake was the 
backdrop for hilarious
 and insightful group conversations I’ve always been one of those people who has a hard time keeping headphones in my ear, so I generally like to talk on runs. It’s amazing how much you can learn about a person when the only two possible things you could be doing at that moment are chatting and running. And, these great getting-to-know-your teammates exercises all occurred without dropping the pace.

However, a more intense but equally rewarding route is the running friend’s silent push to go faster. (Note: this latter approach is very often the start of a great Hamptons beach bod’.)

Running is for everyone, as you can go at your own pace and tailor a run to work for you. Once you get a taste of runner’s high, it’s hard to stop. Running makes you fierce. We embody an edited version of the Post Office’s mantra: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays (these crazy people from) the swift completion of their (daily run).”

(You have no idea how muddy, wet, hot or cold I’ve been, all for the sake of that state of elation that comes from completing a rewarding run.)

And, it’s fun! There was that time in high school when we ran to the beach, and felt so alive that we had to jump in the ocean. Or our daily post-run stops for iced coffee…

Has the promise of everlasting friendships and a toned figure convinced you to head outside?

Because there are few places where running is as accessible as it is in the Hamptons. I’ve mapped out various loops from my house, all of which bring me on lightly trafficked roads through beautifully shaded areas. My best friend is www.mapmyrun.com, which allows you to calculate the mileage of a run using Google maps.

My biggest complaint, aside from the lack of soft trails in the area—to bring everyone up to speed, no pun intended, dirt trails are more forgiving than paved roads, and people who run on them are generally less prone to such annoying injuries as shin splints—is that I don’t have anyone to accompany me on my runs. But that changed this past weekend.

Gubbins Running Ahead, the popular sporting goods store, hosts group runs on Sundays throughout the summer (meet in front of Gubbins East Hampton Nike at 8 a.m.). Two distances are offered weekly, and maps will be given prior to beginning to help those of us with an internal compass that doesn’t exactly point due North.

The runs will lead us past some of East Hampton’s most tranquil roads. Both serious runners, like those training for the Hamptons marathon, and casual runners are welcome to attend.

Even if the promise of rewarding jaunts through some of the Hamptons’ most bucolic landscapes doesn’t draw you in, there are a few things that might. I’ve discovered that a few stereotypical things characterize our lot, based on my collegiate running experience. If any of them spark your interest, you will be able to have a conversation with a runner: frozen yogurt, iced coffee, the city of Boston, hummus, natural peanut butter, cereal, watching baseball, homemade nachos, baking, avocados and guacamole (yes, those deserve two separate listings).

Still not convinced that it will be fun? You’re wrong! Take advice from the popular cross-country mantra: “Act like a horse. Be dumb. Just run.”

Run with Kelly in the Dan’s Papers PotatoHampton 5K on Saturday, June 2. Click here to sign up now! 

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