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Running in Place: Perspectives on Ithaca's Running Scene

Written by Christopher Lisee

Steve Goewey '10 runs on the South Hil Recreation Way.  Photo by Allison Usavage '12

“Did I really say that?”

“Yes,” I reply, as Steve Goewey ’10 and I trot through a tangle of tree roots. Freshman year the two of us sat with Norah Shipman in Jack Powers’ Introduction to Mass Media class, talking about running. I’ve just reminded Steve that at the time he said he’d like to find the perfect running route in Ithaca.

“I haven’t found it yet,” he says, tiptoeing across a small stream. “This one’s pretty nice, though.”

It’s been years since I last saw Steve, and we’re catching up on a trail run in Buttermilk Fall State Park. Steve ran cross country in high school but in college decided to just run recreationally, pitting himself against his toughest competitor -- himself.

“I love being outdoors. Trail running is very, very fun because you’re exploring but at the same time you’re getting a workout in,” Steve says.

Steve is one of many recreational runners at Ithaca College. Whether you’re a track star or a novice, in shape or out, Ithaca’s trails provide a perfect outlet for fitness, stress relief and exploration.

With its rolling hills, winding trails, and beautiful scenery, Ithaca seems the perfect place for it.

On a Streak

Every single day lately, Norah Shipman ’10 has gone running.

Norah Shipman '10 runs after a light snowstorm. Photo by Kyle Kelley '10

Norah Shipman '10 runs after a light snowstorm. Photo by Kyle Kelley '10

Her “running streak” stands at over 200 days. She ran every day since February 28, 2009, totaling over 1,000 miles this year as of October.

Originally her goal was 1,000 for the year. Then she decided to train for the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C.

The idea came as Norah was studying in D.C. in the spring 2009 semester.

At that time, she was doing about 20 miles a week. “In D.C. I really got into road races, so I did a lot of them while I was there,” Norah says. “After I started training I said, ‘I think I can do a marathon.’”

A marathon is 26.2 miles, more than what she was used to doing in a week, so she gradually increased her mileage to between 40 and 50 miles per week.

“It’s my way of keeping myself sane,” Norah says, which may seem odd, but it’s the way Steve sees it as well.

There is something captivating about running in the Ithaca scenery, over rolling hills and fields, through the woods, and along the Cayuga Waterfront Trail.

“It’s like my me time,” she says. “I get to relax. I just can’t imagine not running.”

The Business of Running

Neither can Ian Golden ’99.

Ithaca’s only two-time NCAA All-American in cross country, Ian earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in occupational therapy at Ithaca College while competing in cross country and track.

He currently owns the Finger Lakes Running and Triathlon Company, which is much more than just a shoe store on the Commons.

Ian Golden '99 poses at his Finger Lakes Running and Triathlon Company on the Commons. Photo by Allison Usavage '12

Ian Golden '99 poses at his Finger Lakes Running and Triathlon Company on the Commons. Photo by Allison Usavage '12

An active participant in the community, FLRC takes part in shoe donation drives and provides running routes on its website.

A large chalkboard stands to the right of the entrance, displaying upcoming races in the area.

Nearby is a treadmill and video camera, used to analyze runners’ strides in order to find the perfect shoe.

Throughout the store is everything you need to compete: shoes, clothing, food, books, and bicycles for triathletes.

Ian is as willing to help newcomers as he is veterans. For runners just beginning, Ian recommends running with a friend, because if you’re tired or it’s a little cold, a partner will help motivate you.

Also, signing up for an event is a good idea so that you have something to train for. Patience is also key in avoiding burnout.

“It’s tiring, you’re going to have aches and pains, your body has to adjust to it,” he says.

“Chances are you won’t necessarily go that far or cover much ground, so it’s something you have to be patient with. It takes your body some time to adapt to it.”

In the meantime, Ian recommends focusing on the positives: “Whatever aspect of running you find enjoyable, just latch onto that and be patient with the rest. It will get easier over time.”

Once you build up endurance, Ian says, try exploring Ithaca.

“There are a lot of amazing places around the area that largely go undiscovered unless you get out there on the trails or even on the roads outside of town,” he says.

When he ran for Ithaca, Ian says, cross country coach Jim Nichols would take his runners out and have them run somewhere through Ithaca -- or back to campus.

“It got us to go to places that we wouldn’t have otherwise,” Ian says. “It also allowed me to get more familiar with Ithaca as an area.”

Ithaca Trails

Ian says he is fond of the South Hill Recreation Way, located off Hudson Street, because of the many trails that meander off into Six Mile Creek.

He also recommends the Ithaca College Recreation Trail and trails in Buttermilk Falls State Park.

That’s where I found myself a few weeks ago with Steve, a park Norah also enjoys for its “woodsiness.”

As we weave in and out of trees, Steve muses on hill repeats, long training runs, and dealing with the cold and snow.

“I may not do the local 10k every week, but it’s still a competitive thing to me because I’m a competitive person.

It’s really against myself,” he says. “In a sick way, it’s kind of fun to push yourself.”



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