New to Bend, finally unpacked, jobless, with 2 kids, and a stolen moment to sit and google "running groups in Bend Oregon". Priorities, yes! Quickly I stumbled across the Women's Running group at FootZone (now called Move It Monday).
I show up enthused and ready to meet my new neighbors and fellow runners. Even though I knew I wasn't up to par with the “real” runners, I wanted to be one, (or just get out of the house for an hour)! Tackling more than 2-3 miles for me was huge, really. I love running, but lacked any sort of real training. I knew I was more than motivated to get out into this beautiful place called Bend. I wanted to meet this community and needed a place to start.
Monday night I picked out my best outfit to camouflage my very basic running skills and showed up at 5:00pm, way too early and eager to run. Pacing through the store, I tried to look like "a runner", luckily, I was greeted like I belonged there with immediate smiles and conversation. As each women showed up, they all knew each other by name, and went about asking about each-others kids, families, dogs, trail runs.... a running family, I loved it!
I ran with slightly more effort than I was used to, I just wanted to be in front, though I was followed by a few leaders along the way. The mood....mellow, friendly, no pressure. Ladies just smiling, and chatting away and I could barely keep my breath let alone hold a conversation. But I made it through. I'd never seen trails right out your back door like that before…and miles of them!
As a mom of 2 boys, I was able to find quiet (or adult conversation) and exertion all in one. That’s not easy to find at home raising 2 boys! It became the perfect source to release my stress and prepare my thoughts for tomorrow. Oh how I grew to love Monday nights!
Little did I know, I would continue on my Monday night schedule, find amazing friends, and yes, I have learned to chat as I run! The women I have met have taught me friendship, accountability, discipline, and showed me how fun it can be to talk while running (through practice) ...you fly through those miles without notice! Having fun while burning calories, c'mon, who doesn't want that?!
To my surprise, a year later I begin to work at the place I found so much comfort in! Even better, I am now able to lead the Monday night run I stepped into for the first time around 3 years ago. The group has evolved into Move It Monday with men and women. The friends I met have encouraged me and seeing them show up week after week keeps me going!! Now I get the privilege to share and invite others like me to be "one of those runners" and come for a group run and join OUR family of runners!
Katie is a mom of 2 boys, wife, FootZone Half marathon Training Group mentor and dedicated member of the FootZone "family". She loves to run and has her eye on an Ultra in the near future. Katie can be found at Move It Mondays every Monday at 5:30pm.