by Barbara Bradley
On most Sunday mornings around 8:30 in the Waterford Harbor Visitor Center you can find a group of women in our 50s and 60s getting ready to run south towards Green Island for an out-and-back loop of four to five miles. I’m part of that group and, like my companions, I look forward to our weekly runs and catching up with each other’s lives.
We all met as participants of the Freihofer’s Run for Women Training Challenge more than 10 years ago. After Freihofer’s I started leading a casual group called PC Runners on Saturdays from Waterford. Sue Tase Cleary, Holly Kozlowski, Susan Milstein, Nancy Stevens and Ingrid Wilke were part of that group, and all ran when their schedules allowed as we continued our running friendships.
But a couple years ago Holly couldn’t make the Saturday runs so she and Nancy, along with two others who have since left, started running together on Sundays from Waterford. Sue, Susan, Ingrid and I got wind of it and joined the group. I tagged it Sunday Runday after I started sharing post-run photos on Facebook.
We agree the Waterford location is a good central point for our runs. Ingrid is the closest – she walks to our starting spot, while Holly is the farthest, driving from Washington County. The rest of us come from Albany County. Waterford’s not our only starting point. We’ve also run on the Watervliet bike path and met at The Crossings of Colonie.
But we consider Waterford our prime spot. We revel year-round in our route – crossing three bridges along the Hudson River and Mohawk Rivers with little traffic and ever-changing scenery: the summer kayakers, the colorful falling leaves, the winter ice chunks on the river, and the promising spring blossoms. We appreciate the flat course.
We also enjoy the amenities. As part of our post-run cooldowns we’ve browsed the Waterford Harbor Farmers Market, enjoyed seasonal festivals along the harbor and watched boats go through the Erie Canal Lock 2. And we take advantage of those nearby restrooms.
With three of us retired and three with sometimes flexible schedules, we’ve branched out to other days, depending on the Sunday weather forecasts. This was the case when five consecutive unusually cold and icy Sundays in January conspired against us. So we sought slightly warmer days during the week. We do have our limits.
As Holly Kozlowski says, we run for inspiration and encouragement. Our conversations run the gamut – families, professional lives, entertainment, restaurants, books, concerts, contractors, upcoming races, running clothes, and more. We share the highs and lows of our lives. In my mind, it’s therapy with girlfriends minus the wine. Nothing’s off limits.
Meeting regularly as a group holds us accountable and keeps us running. So on any given Saturday night, the text messages start.
“Anyone up for a run tomorrow? Sunny but cold.”
“I’m in. 8:30?”
“Yep. Count me in.”
“See you there.”
And the next morning we’re off and running.