Marathon Recovery Week 2 Training Recap

So, the recovery might take a little longer than I thought but I am insane and signed up to run a half marathon 13 days after a marathon.

Monday, March 21, 2016
The glute did not bother me on this run. The hamstring was a bit tight though. I’ll be stretching and wearing the compression sleeve for sure. Other than that I felt pretty good. Fitness-wise, I think that my legs still need a little more recovery time so it’s good that I have it. 😊

Tuesday, March 22, 2016
I felt pretty good on the ride albeit a bit bored. I found it a little difficult to concentrate on the magazine I brought to read but other than that, the ride went really well.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016
The ache/soreness was almost unnoticeable this time. I felt pretty good through the entire run. (This is why I try to log the runs right away. I wrote this less than half an hour later and still had trouble remembering details. 😊) After sitting in the chair at work for a little while I felt an odd pain off and on throughout the day but when standing, walking around or sitting in a chair, it felt completely normal. This is a little odd.

Thursday, March 24, 2016
Strength training is finally becoming fun. I like that. For the most part, I forgot about the weird glute thing. Occasionally I remembered it but didn’t really notice it and none of the exercises caused any flare ups. I just wish I knew what was going on with it. Other than that, we avoided leg exercises for the day since we have a half marathon on Saturday. (Yes, I am crazy.) We tried some new machines and pushed hard. I really enjoyed it.

Friday, March 25, 2016
The run went alright. The glute really wasn’t an issue though I was aware of it at first. Gradually that seemed to transition into some tightness in my left hamstring. I’m not sure what it is but it doesn’t seem to interfere physically. I’m still concentrating on maintaining good form. Overall, despite the ridiculous humidity and the weird left leg stuff, this run was pretty good.

Saturday, March 26, 2016
I really wish that I could figure out what’s up with my left leg. It just feels “off.” Maybe I’m out of alignment or something? Anyway, I’ll let the recap tell the rest of the story.

Sunday, March 27, 2016
With various Easter activities, I stayed on the move the entire day. Not once did my left leg bother me, at least how it bothered me yesterday. The front inside felt a bit tight in the morning when I would get up after sitting for a while but nothing significant. I felt pretty good and hoped that the leg was just being cranky not starting the journey to injury.

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TR Earth Day Half Marathon

Race #105
Half Marathon #32
SC Half Marathon #24
TR Earth Day Half Marathon #1

I have a habit of setting my expectations low so that it’s easier to have those expectations met than to be disappointed. I made sure to do that again with this race since, to be frank, everything leading up to the race screamed “hot mess.” Thankfully, I paid only $27 for registration. This race sunk lower than I thought it could. My expectations were managed though so it wasn’t too bad.

A grand total of about 40 people ran the half. (41 people were registered but my rough count put the total participants at 37-39.) I didn’t look at the registration totals for the other distance but Ellis said that he saw about 25 people finish the 5k. Honestly, that’s sad.

We arrived, ready for a 7:15 start as advertised on the registration page. (You would have been out of luck if you had googled the race and tried to click on the race website. Apparently no one renewed the domain.) After a bathroom stop we had about 9 minutes before race start. Those minutes ticked away and nothing seemed ready to start. The finish line banner was still at “let’s-play-limbo” level. Then we overheard someone say something about the half starting at 7:30 along with the 10k. They were having technical difficulty.

Alright.

After double-checking on the adjusted start time we headed back to the truck to wait. A few minutes later we came back out, made a restroom stop and then waited for the new start. The minutes ticked away, again. With only 3 minutes to go I saw someone walkover to his friends and say something about 7:45. All we could do was laugh and head back to the truck.

Finally, we looked back at the start and saw Ed Hughes raising the finish line. Maybe we would be able to start this time. We still didn’t start on time although it was close to the twice rescheduled time. We had to listen to some course directions before the countdown and then we were off.

TR Earth Day Half Marathon 2016
Happy at the start despite the delays

The course wasn’t bad. If I had been in better shape, it was definitely a course that could have made for a slightly challenging PR attempt. That being said, the course was different what was listed on the registration page. I didn’t mind since the new course was a little easier I think. I had prepared mentally for the slightly harder course so that helped.

When it comes to race performance, it was nowhere near my best. As I have mentioned in my dailymile entries and recap posts, my left leg decided to start acting up as soon as I ran for the first time after the marathon. It has morphed each time I have run but there’s definitely something off. Today it felt a little creaky for the first few miles but not too bad. Throughout the rest of the race various parts of the upper left leg felt off: hip and hamstring primarily. It didn’t hurt, per-say, but it also didn’t feel normal. As I have mentioned many times before, I am so ready to be able to just run. I’ve been in the rehab and recovery phase for months now, an entire marathon training cycle and more.

I definitely bit more off than I could chew when I registered for the half. The 10k seemed far more appealing. I think I need a new rule for myself regarding race registrations. I have to wait until after my first run post-marathon before I can register for any more races.

We managed to finish though in just over 2 hours: 2:01:07

TR Earth Day Half Marathon 2016
TR Earth Day Half Marathon 2016

Before I finish the recap, I want to briefly review a couple other aspects of the race.

One, the GTC did not advise to bring your own water. On the entire half marathon course there were two unmanned water stops. One had cups of water. The other had small water bottles. Thankfully the weather was not quite as hot and humid as it could have been.

Two, the portion of the course that ran through Furman had quite a few turns and encountered a few forks in the path. Most of them were marked but there were a few where the markings were not quite clear enough. Perhaps a few more arrows on the sidewalk would have been sufficient? We reached a point where there wasn’t a course monitor or arrow on the sidewalk and almost went the wrong way. Thankfully there was a course monitor up a little ways who got our attention and instructed us to keep coming his way. Also, there was no course monitor at Duncan Chapel Road so Mom and I had to stop and wait for several cars to cross.

As a (now) long time Greenville runner, the decline of official GTC races makes me sad. I love these races and see how they could be great events if things were run properly. I wish there was something that I could do. For now, I will continue to participate in as many races as I am able and contribute in any way that I can.

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Marathon Recovery Week 1 Recap

This week is all about the recovery. I don’t think I feel quite as sore as I did after Rome mainly because I did run a significantly slower overall pace. (Rome was a year ago so it’s hard to compare.) I want to do this recovery right so I’m forcing myself to focus on recovery instead of thinking ahead to when I can get back to running regularly.

Monday, March 14, 2016
Everything felt sore, as to be expected. I slept in and then focused on stretching and taking things easy. My stride felt more normal after I put on the calf compression sleeves, also as to be expected. Occasionally the soreness let up but that was usually when I was walking for a little bit or while sitting for a while.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016
The soreness definitely diminished. I think that my muscles were taking turns being sore because I woke up to my glutes informing me that it was their turn to be sore. The workout consisted of hitting the snooze button frequently.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016
I thought of doing an easy stationary bike ride or walking on the treadmill this morning but decided to take another rest day and make it almost like a real vacation day. The soreness decreased significantly from Monday and Tuesday which confirms my suspicion that the fitness was there for at a time at least ten minutes faster than weather permitted on Sunday. That’s encouraging. I’m ready to start diving back into training. Now to make the training plan…

Thursday, March 17, 2016
I continue to be surprised at how quickly the soreness from the marathon has abated. I am definitely ready to start running again. I even enjoyed this strength training workout. I did avoid leg exercises as a precaution like last week. I’ll start incorporating them back in next week. It also took me a few minutes to get motivated/wake up. After that I pushed hard through the other exercises and loved it.

Friday, March 18, 2016
After over a day of not feeling any soreness whatsoever, I woke up this feeling creaky, almost as if my body knew that I was going to go for a short, easy run and didn’t want to cooperate. For the most part I felt okay through the run. I did have some tightness/aches in my left glute and a tiny bit in the hamstring, especially on the uphills. Hopefully it’s just soreness from the marathon that still needs to be worked out. I am so ready to dive back into training. I was definitely aware of the glute all day but that’s likely my personal neurosis.

Saturday, March 19, 2016
I considered running again but that was before Friday’s run. Instead, I slept in and slept in hard. I loved it. Everything felt good. During my daily stretching, I did feel a little bit more tightness in the left glute/hamstring but nothing extraordinary.

Sunday, March 20, 2016
Not only was I aware of every slight or imagined sensation in my left glute, I was also aware of my propensity to overthink things. I have no idea whether what I think I am feeling (nothing really) is actually real or all in my head. I’m hoping for the best and planning to keep running per the instructions I got from the PT back in October. As long as the “pain” is at a level 1 or 2, my stride is unaffected and everything feels fine afterwards, I’ll keep running.

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Tobacco Road Marathon Race Week Training Recap

Monday, March 7, 2016
This run went well. I’m still dealing with the mental stuff but physically I felt okay. My left hamstring and glute felt a little tight but nothing a little stretching and foam rolling can’t help. Afterwards, I felt great throughout the day. God is good.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Since it’s race week I “took it easy” and kept to the stationary bike. I felt good the entire time and that time passed very quickly. Afterwards I felt great until the very end of the day when out of the blue I felt a knot-like sensation in my left calf. When I looked at it I found a bruise, another odd bruise. I have no idea what it is but I’m not going to worry about it.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016
I still had the knot-like sensation and bruise in my calf but it did not interfere with the run at all. I felt great throughout. The splits were fairly even and effortless.

Thursday, March 10, 2016
Since the marathon was only three days away I took it easy on the strength training. I still wanted to get up and do something so I avoided all leg exercises and didn’t push as hard on the other exercises. I had fun though and enjoyed the workout.

Friday, March 11, 2016
I felt really good throughout. Whatever that odd bruise thing was, it was temporary; I didn’t feel it at all. I did keep it easy since the marathon was only two days away now and ran just a slightly slower pace than Wednesday.

Saturday, March 12, 2016
It always feels weird to start a Saturday without a workout. Instead of working out I concentrated on making sure that I stayed hydrated enough in advance of the warm weather for race day and resting up.

Sunday, March 13, 2016
The race went spectacularly well with everything considered. Now it’s time to rest, recover and then start working on base-building for a few months before thinking about marathon training again.

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Tobacco Road Marathon 2016 Race Recap

Race #104
Marathon #8
North Carolina Marathon #2 (no new state)
Tobacco Road Marathon #1

When life and the weather throw you curve balls, it helps to not have an ambitious goal going into a marathon.

When I first picked this marathon, many months ago, I envisioned being able to build back up to marathon training quickly after the injury and trying again for that BQ. Although this is a great course for a BQ, that would not have been a good idea. Instead I focused on rebuilding and focusing on form. I would love to avoid all injury from here on out if at all possible.

As race day approached, I knew that I needed to go into the race with a semblance of a plan. I think it’s barely possible to go into a half marathon and make up a plan as you go. A marathon? Not a chance.

After the GHS Half, I plugged the numbers into the McMillan calculator to see what that performance would get me for a marathon. Even with some wiggle room, that translated to approximately 3:45:xx. I could do that. I looked up the different pace groups on the marathon’s website and saw that there would be a 3:45 pace group which just happened to be led by the same pacer who helped Michael so much two years ago at Hilton Head. I decided to follow the same plan that I used at GHS-latch on to the pacer and ignore my Garmin. (I would still wear it of course. I’m addicted to data.)

Then life happened last Thursday. (That’s a story for another time.) I wondered if my running would be affected. Stress has negatively affected my running before. Not this time. I had some of the best feeling runs of the entire training cycle last week. God was so good to give me that.

I still didn’t know how all that would translate to the race. Then I got one of the pre-race emails that mentioned the potential bad weather: hot, humid, and rainy. Oh goody. My favorite. (Sarcasm alert)

That’s when I had to get flexible with the plan. I know my body. My body does not perform at optimal levels (putting it mildly) when it’s hot and humid. I knew that I needed to be proactive with my hydration so I made sure that I stayed fully hydrated the few days before the race and made a plan for during the race.

It’s been a while since I have carried hydration with me during a marathon. For one reason or another, I will bring the bottle (in various forms) with me but only as far as my hotel room. I’ve always left it behind. Not today. Before the race I considered using my Orange Mud vest but since I didn’t run with it through the entire training cycle, I figured it would be better to stick with what I had been using and supplement. The plan was to take one cup from every aid station through the first half and then start double cupping after the halfway point. I would drink from my handheld on the miles in between.

Getting to the expo before it closed was a bit of a challenge as well. Mom had Redemption Group launch and thought that she wouldn’t be able to go with me. Then we realized that if we left by noon we could make it to the expo on time. Just in case, I messaged the marathon’s Facebook page and asked if there was any alternative for picking up the bib in case we hit traffic. It would have been a total bummer to get all the way there and then not be able to run the race. My admiration for everyone who makes the Tobacco Marathon such a success started then and has continued to grow. One of the race officials said that she would pull my bib and other items and have it set aside for me to pick up during the time that she was breaking down the expo. She even gave me her number so I would be able to contact her when I got there if I couldn’t find her.

We managed to arrive with three minutes to spare.
Tobacco Road Marathon 2016

She had everything I needed already bagged up and ready to go. As she handed the bag to me she stage-whispered, “There’s a parking pass in there too.” Wow. So awesome. These parking passes were to be purchased during registration since parking at the actual race site was extremely limited. I didn’t think that we had to have one and so to save some money, did not purchase the pass. I am so grateful for the pass. It was amazing to be able to park right at the race start and be able to wait in the car, off my feet for the hour and a half before the race start. (They advised arriving early so that traffic wouldn’t keep you from missing the start.)

After the wait, it was time to start!
Tobacco Road Marathon 2016

With only a few minutes to spare I made my way to the road and started looking for the 3:45 pacer. I could not see the sign anywhere. I saw 4:00 and 3:55 and then way down towards the front some other green signs. They were too far away for me to make out which time was written on them. I overheard during the race that the rest of the marathon pacers were bunched up towards the start. Oh well. Time to make a new plan. This new plan consisted of the same hydration plan and the plan to avoid looking at my watch. If I happened to catch up to the 3:45 pacer i would stick with him as long as I could. If I didn’t? No big deal.

I should have started closer to the front. With the half starting at the same time as the full, there was plenty of congestion that lasted for the next mile and a half or so. I felt pretty good through this section.

Mile 1: 8:53
Mile 2: 8:34

Before the half and the full split, I ended up stuck in the 2 hour pace group. It was definitely a relief when the half and the full split somewhere in the 3rd mile.

The next few miles were the most difficult mentally. I had yet to settle in so there were plenty of thoughts rattling around. I happened to glance at my Garmin a couple times in this next section but that was about it for the rest of the race. I wanted to reach a point where I would almost zone out but not quite. I also couldn’t shake the feeling that I needed to use the next port-o-potty even though I made sure to use it at the hotel and cycled through the line at the race start twice. I finally used one between miles 6 and 7. So worth it.

Mile 3: 8:50
Mile 4: 8:33
Mile 4: 8:33
Mile 6: 9:05
Mile 7: 9:35

The next five miles or so were where I felt physically the lowest and started to wonder if I would be able to make it through the entire race. Ironically, this was also the point where I figured out that I’m insane. Reason? I think I want to try for my next BQ in San Francisco in 2017. Yeah, not exactly the flattest race around. I am definitely a glutton for punishment.

Since I made the conscious effort to almost zone out, I don’t remember a lot about the individual miles. I do remember thinking that I was going to have a hard time recapping the those miles since I wasn’t trying to remember something about each mile.

Then when we were almost back to the point where the half and the full split (also the point where we had entered the trail (the American Tobacco Trail), I was completely surprised by Mom and Ellis. It was so nice to have support, especially when I expected to see them at the finish line. That was definitely a boost to my morale. How could I not think a little more positively after that?

Mile 8: 8:43
Mile 9: 8:44
Mile 10: 8:49
Mile 11: 8:49
Mile 12: 8:53

Tobacco Road Marathon 2016

Somewhere in the next few miles the 3:55 pacer caught up to me. I had hoped to stay ahead of him a little longer but I knew that I was doing the best that I could. I had some good miles in the next section, miles where I felt really strong. Those usual came after eating a couple chews which I was doing every four miles. I knew that the heat was getting to me. (I almost typed started to get to me but it started to get to me at the start of the race.) Besides that, I don’t remember much about the individual miles through here. At the two (or three) water stops in this section he pulled away just a tad each time. The reason? He ran through each water stop but I walked. I wanted to get as much of that Gatorade as I possibly could. It was just before mile 20 that I knew that I had hit the proverbial wall. I walked when I ate the chews at mile 20 instead of running like I had before.

Mile 13: 9:00
Mile 14: 9:05
Mile 15: 9:10
Mile 16: 8:30
Mile 17: 9:00
Mile 18: 8:57
Mile 19: 8:47
Mile 20: 9:12

The 3:55 pacer had definitively pulled away at this point. My next goal, and one I’m pleased to say that I managed, was to stay in front of the 4:00 pacer. It’s been over three years since I finished a marathon with a 4 in the front. I was okay with it on a day like today but if I could keep that from happening, I wanted to try.

I could definitely feel the fatigue through these miles. I also could tell that it was simply the exhaustion that came from the heat and humidity. I felt like my fitness was there and had the weather cooperated, I would have been much closer to 3:45.

This was when I started reminding myself frequently that every step brought me one step closer to finishing the race.

At mile 22, I thought that sub 4 hours might be just outside my grasp. I needed another sugar boost so I got some fuel again instead of in 2 more miles. I also walked through this portion. I think there was also a water stop in this mile so the two walk portions combined to give me my slowest mile of the race, slower even than the pit stop in the earlier portion. When walking at this point, it felt really easy to just keep walking but I forced myself to start up again, promising my protesting legs that they could walk again at the next water stops and when I got fuel at mile 24.

I ended up not getting more chews at mile 24. At that point it felt like too much work. Instead, I continued to grab two cups of Gatorade at the next water stops and walked just long enough to drink all of both cups..

Near mile 24, after we exited the trail and got back on the road, I passed the 3:45 pacer. It must not have been his day. He was walking but still encouraging people as they passed.

I knew that if I held on for two more miles, I could probably get that sub 4 hour. The road portion of the race was not a runner’s friend though. After the complete flatness of the trail, the slight changes in elevation on the road felt like mountains. I kept plugging away though and even passed up the last water stop. I had just enough left in my hand held for one more sip. Besides, I was only a mile away form the finish and could rehydrate when I got there.

Finally we entered the park and I could feel a sense of relief. I was about to finish this thing. I kept pressing and even put on a little bit of a “sprint” at the end.

Tobacco Road Marathon 2016
Tobacco Road Marathon 2016
Tobacco Road Marathon 2016

Mile 21: 9:16
Mile 22: 9:14
Mile 23: 9:47
Mile 24: 9:15
Mile 25: 9:17
Mile 26: 9:01
Last .23: 8:23

Final time: 3:56:34!

I’ll take it! There is nothing quite like the feeling of finishing a marathon. This may be my 8th but it still feels amazing each time and so worth the effort.

I am so pleased with my effort today. I ran a smart race taking into consideration my training, life events and the weather. I nailed hydration on a very difficult day to do so and can’t imagine what my performance would have looked like had I been less than successful with hydration.

And with that, marathon #8 is in the books!

Tobacco Road Marathon 2016

Tobacco Road, you outdid yourself. I am beyond impressed with the entire event from expo to social media to volunteers and beyond. I hope you guys continue to grow and put on an amazing race. Although Twin Cities is still my favorite so far, you guys come pretty close to knocking it off the top.

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Tobacco Road Marathon Week 12 Training Recap

With only a week remaining before race day, I started planning my race strategy-better late than never, right?-and getting ready for the marathon.

Monday, February 29, 2016
This run went as well as could be expected. My calves are still pretty tight which I’ve noticed tends to happen to me after race efforts like Saturday. I spent pretty much the whole run focusing on my form, making sure it was still strong and even. The “usual suspects” (right or left leg) didn’t show up at all. If not for the tight calves, I would have felt amazing. Also, I realized when I got home that, like a doofus, I grabbed the my crosstraining shoes (aka my old running shoes…two editions before the older ones I use now). Oops. My calves felt a little tight through the day but better as the day went on.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016
This ride was not my favorite. At first I was crazy hungry and then when that went away it was replaced with extreme tiredness. (I almost could have fallen asleep on the bike. My pace was slower than I would normally have liked but considering, it wasn’t bad. I have no idea why I was so sleepy. Other than that, my calves were only slightly sore and everything else cooperated.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016
This run wasn’t perfect by far but it wasn’t horrible. My left hamstring felt a little tight but not enough to interfere with my stride. My chest felt a little tight and my stomach was a bit cranky but that should pass. I also had to cut one of the intervals so I could get home, cleaned up and to work on time. Other than that it was a good run. 😊

Thursday, March 3, 2016
I actually wrote down the exercises and weight this time. It will be nice to track this and hopefully see improvement. I felt good throughout.

Friday, March 4, 2016
I remember back when I first moved out and was wrestling with that decision and the decision to move back home. My running suffered and I was an emotional mess. I was pretty sure that that would happen again since I’m dealing with something that is much bigger than that and something of my own making. Unexpectedly, I felt physically great. This was one of the best runs in a long time. I am trusting God right now, big time.

Saturday, March 5, 2016
Despite everything that is still happening mentally (and emotionally and etc), running continues to be going amazingly well. I felt great physically, strong, through this entire run. I am very thankful for that. I am learning to trust and pray and am extremely grateful that running seems to be going as well as it is.

Sunday, March 6, 2016
I feel really good. After weeks and months of dealing with injury and recovery, I am reveling in God’s graciousness of good health at the tiem when I need it the most.

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Leaving the Greenville Track Club

As the title foreshadows, I recently made the decision to not renew my membership in the Greenville Track Club for reasons I will discuss below. The reminder email came just days following what turned out to be a pivotal email conversation that I had with one of the board members.

As many members of the Greenville running community (many of whom are also members of the Greenville Track Club) may know, the board of the GTC made the decision to create an official page and close down all discussion on the group page. Before I go any further, I want to clarify that the decision to create an official page was not what made me leave the GTC. Frankly, I think it’s a brilliant idea. The problem for me lay with the decision to shutter the group page entirely. Compounding that problem was the way that my concerns were treated by GTC decision makers.

Before I go too much further down that road, I need to set the stage.

I have been a member of the GTC since about six months after I started running. I wanted to be part of the running community in my area. Not only that, I also wanted to do all that I could to make GTC races the best they could possibly be. While I haven’t been able to volunteer as much as I would like, I participated in every race that I could and talked up the races to everyone I knew. Things started happening over the past couple years that started to make me wonder about the GTC. The biggest contributor to that was the GTC’s social media approach or conspicuous lack of approach. The pages for the individual races either did not exist, held information from previous years or were infrequently updated. Case in point, the Paris Mountain Road Race last year had an official page with information from 2014, a Facebook page with information from 2013 and a registration page (not the first link when doing a Google search of the race name) that gave 2015 information. On top of that, the information given about the 2015 edition had conflicting start times. The registration page stated 7am but the course map stated 7:30am.

After several snafus like the above, I started to consider offering my services to help manage the various social media outlets if I could figure out who to contact. My reasons were two-fold. One, in this era, social media is king. It is nearly impossible to build a race (or event) without active, competent social media engagement. GTC seemed to be dropping the ball. Two, I am extremely active on social media. It is my medium of choice. I am far more comfortable with online interactions than in-person interactions. I know that I am not alone in this. I actively participated in the group and enjoyed seeing and interacting with the posts of others.

Back to the issue at hand.

Early this month, I navigated to the group page and was surprised to see a pinned post stating that discussion would migrate from the group page to the official page. My lack of an email notification of the post may just have been a Facebook quirk but I still was surprised to see that post from January 21. I also was not given the impression from that post that discussion would cease entirely from the group page. That may also have been my own misinterpretation. However, that point was not made explicitly clear in that post.

I was a bit perturbed contented to deal with the changes. I knew it would take some time to figure out. However, if I had realized then that all discussion would cease on Wednesday February 17, I would have started to make my voice heard as soon as I saw that first post. (The pessimist in me wonders if it would have done any good.)

Then came the notification that all discussion would cease on the group page on Wednesday February 17. I immediately commented. “Is there a reason that we’re moving from the group format to the official page? One of the main reasons I enjoy interaction on the group is that I receive notifications of all the posts in the page including posts from group members. That doesn’t appear to be a feature of the official page. (I may be wrong though.) how will this foster communication amongst group members?”

I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I thought that was a fairly legitimate question with absolutely no blame or motivations assigned to the decision makers. I really wanted to know if the GTC had anything designed to continue the interaction between group members in addition to making sure that people know what was coming officially from the track club. Spoiler: I still have yet to receive a clear answer to that question and I doubt that I ever will.

Instead of answers, I received the following: one confirmation that the only notification possible to receive from the page are posts made by admins, one discussion with a GTC member who thought the change was a great idea that would foster more interactive conversations but had no answer as to why it had to be either/or, one explanation of how Facebook pages work, and one other member who has enjoyed group pages for the sense of community it brings to the members.

After this frustration played out, I contacted, via Facebook message, the GTC board member who had posted the notification of group closure. I love working with her and know that she has only the best intentions. This is what I said to her: “Question for you…is there a reason that the official page has been created and the group page is being taken down? I asked that question on the group page and have gotten no answer. Also, is there someone I can contact to protest this decision and/or at least delay the decision to close down the group until discussion with the group members can be held?”

I ended up being directed to one of the board members after being asked if I had thought about starting my own group. My response, in which I asked why I could not simply take over as admin of the already existing group and make clear that the group is not the official outlet of the GTC, was never addressed or answered.

At this point, foregoing membership renewal came onto the table for me. Despite my frustrations with the club through the five years of my membership, I put up with the things I didn’t like and tried to improve from within.

Then came my email interaction with one of the board members whose name I will not publish. (I use the pronoun “he” as generic, not to indicate gender.)

First, he asked if he could give me a call. I told him that my preferred method of communication is email. Not only am I better able to express myself in writing, all of the conversation is also in writing. The board member repeated his own preference for face-to-face conversation in every email that he sent.

The second email was where the bulk of the “explanation” came. He first gave me a run-down of the structure of the club and how its meetings are conducted. He then stated “I’m sorry if you don’t feel that we are representing the Greenville Track Club well.” This sort of non-apology sets my teeth on edge and made it difficult for me to maintain a non-confrontational tone in the email interaction. Third, he stated their goal was to “make the Greenville Track Club inviting and open to members and prospective members.” Fourth, he pointed out when the post about the changes was made. Fifth, he stated that one person had a few questions and many others thought the decision was a good one.

This “answer,” like many others I have received from the GTC, felt dismissive. It also reminded me of how my alma mater dealt with anyone who disagreed with them. Basically, they stated their reasoning, hoped that you would be okay with it and that was the end of it. At the end of the conversation you did not feel like you had been heard at all. I tried to shake my ingrained associations with this type of authoritarian behavior. To me, it seemed like all the answers that I received were in the vein of “this is our decision and that’s the way it’s going to be.”

I chose to respond to each line of his email. This post could be exceptionally long if I brought up every point that I made. Since it is already three pages long, I will try to be concise.

In my response, I tried to keep everything focused back on social media. I had no desire to learn about the structure of the club. I asked how changing from a group page to an official page would lessen the number of channels that the GTC had to manage. I made the point that an official page makes it much more difficult to communication between members. (Member to member interaction was never addressed in my entire effort to dig into this problem even though I stated from the outset that this is my primary concern.) I addressed the fact that the notification was just three weeks ago. For a third time in the same email, I stated that I really liked the group page and that my issue lay with the between member communication. I let him know that my opinion did not feel valued at all even though he stated that they value the opinions of all members. I finished my discussing why social media was so important to me.

His second response felt even more dismissive than the first. He copied my technique of leaving the original email in the discussion but added his second response in blue. He did not bother to address about half of what I discussed. He made sure to reiterate twice why he thought that talking was the better option before stating that the closed group format in which a prospective member had to ask to join, was intimidating to “someone who may be new to Greenville, or new to running.” I read that portion to my mom and she said, “someone new to Facebook, you mean.” My point exactly. He finished the email by stating that all his answers were heartfelt and that the “canned” appearance of them was due to … you guessed it … the email format.

By the time I got to the end of the email, I could not believe that my fundamental question, “why can the group page and the official page not be run concurrently?” still had not been answered.

Instead of prolonging the discussion, I asked my question one last time. This time I underlined and bolded it so that it could not be missed, or so I thought. I also let him know that I was considering not renewing my membership when it came up for renewal in the next few weeks.

In his third response, he stated that he had answered my question. He stated that having both the group and would be confusing to people because they might not get the right answer if they asked a question in the group. He then gave me the names of two other Greenville area running groups that I could post in if I wanted a group in which to contribute.

That sealed it. The only possible reason that I would renew my membership would be for the discounts on race registration. As much of a frugal weirdo as I am, that is not a good enough reason for me to support an organization that treats its members in this fashion.

I hate to do this but I am leaving the Greenville Track Club. I hope to rejoin in the future if these problems are fixed but for now, I am no longer a member of the GTC.

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