Last night was my first time running at the Alaska Dome. At the start of this year, I joined the Anchorage Running Club, who rents time there every Wednesday night January through March, which is then free for running club members. It was only $20 to join the club for the whole year, and a one-time pass to the Alaska Dome is $10, so it was pretty much a no-brainer to join, if only for that benefit alone (although there’s some other really great benefits, like getting into some of the club-sponsored races for free).
The Alaska Dome is actually a pretty impressive facility. It’s a big dome with a multi-sport setup inside. There’s a full size running track all the way around the outer edge, and the inner part is all covered with astroturf, and can be configured for soccer, football, baseball, etc. When I was there, it even looked like they were doing some sort of fitness/yoga class on one end.
This was a perfect environment for running this time of year. It’s indoors, so you’re not having to deal with the cold and snow. But it’s running on a track, which is 1000 times better than running on a treadmill. Being Alaska, getting inside and out of the elements is one of the major selling points on their website 🙂
As I said, this was my first time here, since I’ve mostly been laying low on running lately due to my ITBS injury. But this run was exactly what I needed, both physically and mentaly. Even though my knee was feeling awesome, I told myself before I started that I was going to alternate walking one lap, then running two. I also stopped every 2-3 laps to do some stretching. I stuck with that plan the whole time, but I was feeling so good, it took a lot of willpower to stop at 4 miles.
To be honest, I was a little nervous about going, knowing that I’d be doing a run/walk combo, and even when I was running, I knew it would be at a much slower pace that what I do normally. I guess it’s just me being self-concious, but I didn’t want to be the “slow one”. And since this was my first event with the running club, I really had no idea what to expect. I didn’t know if this was a group of serious hard-core runners, or more of a social bunch. Well, I was very pleasantly surprised. There were runners – and walkers – of all ages, sizes and speeds there. There were high schoolers, probably keeping in shape for cross country season. There were families walking with their kids. I saw one woman walking by herself while reading a book. There was even an old couple, probably in their 80’s, slowly running around the track together. It was a very diverse group, and nobody gave me the stink eye for walking or running slowly.
I think this run is exactly what my knee needed too. The day after, it feels better than it has in weeks. I guess getting out there, moving around, and getting my muscles working was just what the doctor ordered. This definitely has me looking up and feeling very optimistic about my recovery. And now you know where you can find me next Wednesday! 🙂