When Two Groups Collide

This weekend was one of the funnest I’d had in a long while. I mean, every weekend has elements of awesomeness but this Saturday and Sunday it just was overflowing–so much so, I’ma have to split it up 😀

Saturday I woke up bright and early at my usual 5 a.m. This is nothing new as it’s my start time during the work week. Today though, I was going to be meeting up with two of my fave groups, Run Eat Tweet AZ and Moms Run This Town.

I’ve talked about both before. I used to be a RETAZ ambassador but had to step down because of life commitments. That hasn’t stopped me from still being involved in other ways though. And then I started a local chapter in my city for MRTT last year that I still lead along with my buddy, We’re Running a Marathon?.

Run Eat Tweet AZ wanted to host a group run for all Phoenix valley MRTT chapters and we all of course jumped at the idea. My city MRTT meets weekly but we don’t often meet with other neighboring cities in the valley.

I was prompt at arriving at 6 a.m. for the start of the long run, 10 miles. I wasn’t going to run the 10 though but just do a quick out and back and meet up with the second group, the 5 milers, that would start at 6:30. I wanted to be there to greet all of my MRTT ladies.

My group is the newest MRTT chapter at barely over a year old but guess what? We had the most of all the chapters! I was so proud of my girls! Six arrived at the 6 a.m. start and then 3 more at the 6:30. 🙂

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But first, a selfie. (I'm horrible at these--can you tell?)

But first, a selfie. (I’m horrible at these–can you tell?)

I managed to get in 2 quick miles before the second group started and then I went back out for another 3 to make 5 miles total. It was an easy going run where I wasn’t at all concerned with my pace–just hanging out with everyone and chatting up a storm.

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Having a blast…as usual 😀

Afterward, all the chapters took a group photo along the bridge where we had met up.

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Such a great turnout!

It was such a beautiful Phoenix day–cool and cloudy and just the right amount of cold 🙂 Run Eat Tweet AZ even had coffee and breakfast for us!

Best. Weather.

Best. Weather.

They also had hooked up with some vendors who gave away neat prizes–free race entries, jewelry, t-shirts, running fuel. It was just an awesome good time.

I’ve mentioned before how life-changing it was for me not only as a runner but just as a person to get involved in local running groups. There are three that I’m actively involved in and it really gives me the motivation and support I need to keep me going. It’s impossible for me to ever get lazy (not that I ever would anyway 😉 ) because my friends are constantly inviting me to run or workout!

At first, it was tough for me to branch out and get out of my comfort zone. But, getting involved and being a part of a group has helped my running so much–I’m faster, stronger, and smarter. The latter being the most important in my opinion.

I really can’t praise it enough. There’s absolutely nothing I regret about joining a couple of running groups. My wallet begs to differ–because my races have increased, but I’ve acquired some pretty amazing friendships and experiences that make it ALL worth it. So if you’re on the fence about it, just do it!!! (And if you’re not sure where to start, here are some tips!)

Hope you all have a great Monday!!

❤ , helly

–Do you have a running group?

–How many running friends do you have?

5 Tips on Finding a Running Group

I’ve been meaning to share how I found my running group for quite a while and like I mentioned yesterday, it’s been a popular topic amongst my blogging friends lately.

I had just had my son (July 2013) and was so antsy to get back to running. I did my first race, a 5k, six weeks post partum and I was the happiest ever, ever.

A month after the race, October, my husband and I went to San Francisco and of course we ran while we there. We talked a lot about running and I told him I wanted to run a marathon. Like the following year. Like that March. He laughed and said I was crazy but that’s why he loved me and that I could totally do it. So at the airport, on my phone waiting to get on the plane back, I signed up for the Phoenix Marathon.

When we were home, I began looking up training plans and as I was searching I thought about how I wished I had more running friends. I’m a part of several great online running communities but I really wanted to meet up with other runners. I started thinking about how I could find a running group. So of course I started with Google.

Tip 1: Google

  • Search using key words like your state + running groups or your city + running groups
  • Also use the word “club” instead of group to see if anything different pops up
  • Try neighboring cities as well
  • Do a national search and just type in “Running Group”. Sometimes national groups have sub groups organized by state or region.

Tip 2: Facebook

  • Do a search using the same key words as Google
  • Some groups are closed but don’t let that stop you from joining and lurking for a while to get a feel of it

Tip 3: Visit your local running/shoe store

  • If you don’t know of any near you, Google first and then go (or call). Ask someone there if they know of any running groups in the area. It’s very likely that people who shop there are a part of one.

Tip 4: Go the mall

  • If you’re like me, I’ll take any excuse to go the mall lol! But seriously, go to the mall and visit athletic shops like Lululemon, Lucy, and Athleta. Often times, those places have their own meet-ups for running and workout sessions. My local Lululemon store meets on Thursday nights for a 3-5 mile run and Sunday morning for free yoga.

Tip 5: Swing by the gym

  • You don’t have to be a gym member, just visit one, or a few, close to you and ask the help desk if they know of any groups in the area that meet up to run. A lot of groups use gyms as meet up spots (mine does!).

Okay, I know this might sound like a lot of work, but trust me, get out of your comfort zone for a while and do it!! You will be so happy you did.

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Once you find a group (or groups), here are some other suggestions:

1. Give it a test run (ja! See what I did there?) If you find a group, or several, see what meet-ups work for you and go! Give it a shot–you really have nothing to lose. If you’re not digging the vibe, no sweat–you don’t have to go back. If you like the people you meet, then awesome!

1a. Take it easy on your first meet up. You don’t want to over exert yourself.

2. If you’re more comfortable joining a group’s Facebook page first, go for it and lurk around. I actually found two groups in my search that interested me so I joined both of their Facebook pages and lurked. I found out one had a membership fee and that kind of turned me off–it wasn’t much, but still. I also didn’t really like the vibe I got.

But the one I did eventually join I felt good about what I saw. The page was very active, which I liked. And I could tell that people were actually friends with each other. <—this was what actually kept me from meeting up. Which leads me to…

3. Don’t be afraid to jump in. I loved how the group all joked and talked with each other but I was afraid to go to a meet up because I felt like everyone had known each other for years and I would just be a newbie all by myself running alone. During one conversation, I decided to take the plunge. I commented. Once people saw a new face (me) everyone was SO nice! They asked me when I could come out for a run, how long I’d been running, and if I was training for anything. I was still pretty busy with my then really, really young son and couldn’t make it to a run until about 2 weeks after my comment introduction but when I did, everyone was super friendly and welcoming. Best decision ever, seriously.

4. You don’t have to be “fast” This is the number 1 thing I hear from people who are afraid about joining a group–that they’re not fast enough. What I love about running groups though is that more often than not, you’ll find one with people of ALL abilities. Everyone there has something in common despite one being faster than another–they love running!! Plus, when you run a race with a running group, no matter how fast a person is, you all cover the same distance. You’ve all experienced something together. It’s seriously an awesome feeling having people who know what you went through after you’ve finished a race.

I’ve had a blast with my running group. I ran my first marathon with them, crossed the Grand Canyon twice with them, and most recently, ran 16 miles at night in the middle of nowhere with them. I’ve done so many things that I’m pretty sure I would never have done by myself. I’m pretty excited for what’s in the future–I know it’s going to be great!

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–Are you in the market for a running group? Think you’ll join one?

–Are you part of a running group? How did you find them?

–What other tips would you give people looking for a group to run with?

Helly and Salt Are Still Streaking and 12 Days of Fitmas-Day 7

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Still streaking and still smiling!

It’s crazy that there’s only 13 days left of this!

Here’s what the last week looked like:

December 12: This was a treadmill tempo run and 6 pretty decent miles were produced. (I have another secret goal that involves a secret pace—more on this later)

December 13: I left this at a chill streak mile at my secret pace.

December 14: Day before my last race of the year. I typically do a long run on Saturdays but I left it to my husband, who ran 8 miles, and ran a streak mile.

December 15: RACE DAY! Hopefully, you read my re-cap because I was ecstatic with the way I ended my short racing year. 5K PR=WIN!!

December 16: It was this girl’s birthday so I treated myself to a streak mile in my new jogging stroller!

December 17: Hill day! I do my hill intervals on the treadmill and pulled out 4 miles. I noticed that hilly miles tend to go faster than regular treadmill miles lol!

December 18: Christmas at the track! 3 miles of speed work J

December 19: I have 6 treadmill miles on my schedule for tonight…

Total mileage—24 miles

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12 Days of Fitmas-Day 7

On the 7th day of Fitmas….

GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE

I’ve mentioned before that one of the best decisions I’ve ever made was joining my gym’s run club. I’ve met so many awesome people and feel like I’m a part of something really amazing. It took me a long time to get the courage to do it, but I’m so glad I did. Sometimes I think of how my training would be different had I not made that decision. I’m not sure if I’d be as successful as I have been. That’s the truth.

I’ve gotten out of my comfort zone quite a bit these past few months. First, I started a blog. I was definitely a little apprehensive about it in the beginning but I knew I wanted an outlet for my training and the teacher in me wanted to help inspire others. So far, I have zero regrets.

If you look to the right, there’s quite a few things there. I started an Instagram and Facebook page for my blog. You bet I was nervous about that. Becoming so public with my life was not something I thought I’d ever do but, again, I want to share my journey and I’m becoming okay with it being to a bigger audience.

A funny way I’ve gotten out of my comfort zone is that during my two-week hiatus to rest my shins, I tried the stairclimber. I had absolutely no idea how that machine worked and it was exactly how I imagined my first time attempting it would be. Yep, that thing started going so fast I flew off of it. I flew off the machine!! Yes, people stared. Yes, people chuckled. But I got back on it and figured it out. For the longest time I had seen people use it and always wondered what it was like. Now, I think it’s an awesome, intense workout. I would’ve never known had I not at least given it a shot.

After my first pregnancy in 2012, I was looking to get back into shape and my friend invited me to hot yoga. I had never done hot yoga before and imagined a hot, smelly, stuffy room with sweaty people. I said yes and off I went. It was nothing like I thought. It was hot but it was not unbearable. It was most definitely not smelly. There were sweaty people but they looked awesome in the poses they were doing. I left that first session hooked. I felt so relaxed and like I had gotten more than just a workout. I had. I very highly recommend you try yoga if you haven’t.

It’s easy to stick with what’s comfortable. You’re used to doing things a certain way; you like routine. That’s okay, but, getting out of your comfort zone every once in a while let’s you have fun with your fitness. And if things do go awry, at least you have a funny story to share later on : )

Click here to link up with Helly & Salt!


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