Last month I joined the Oiselle Flock, inspired by my childhood friend Portia, who runs for their ambassador “Volée” Team. Oiselle’s mission, besides making a fantastic line of running gear and clothing for women, is to build a sisterhood of support and community in the running world. One of the hardest parts of my recent move was leaving my running community. I’m a person who runs better when I run with others. I’m still struggling a bit to find my place here, figure out where to run, and find others to train with. While it’s virtual at this point, connecting with Oiselle couldn’t have happened at a better time. (Plus, when you work in bird conservation and run bird camps for young birders every summer, it is awfully hard to not want to be part of a company whose name means “bird” in French and who runs a “birdcamp” for their runners. It also doesn’t hurt that I love their clothing line.)
When they opened a limited number of new slots in the Flock last month, I was pretty excited to nab one of them. Since then I have gotten connected with a network of other Oiselle runners from across the country, on Twitter, on Facebook, on Instagram–women that I’ve never met in person, but who are encouraging me, cheering me on, and making me feel part of a team. This weekend I’ve been trolling the hashtag #oiselleflock on Twitter to cheer on women I’ve never met before, feeling just about as excited for them as if we HAD met in person. Being part of a team–it’s a good thing.
Pretty much the only races I’ve done in the past nine years have been endurance events with Team In Training. While of course I have gotten stronger and faster over the past nine years, my overarching goals have not focused on myself, but rather on the fundraising that I was doing for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (I can’t stop: you can still donate here, at least at the time of this writing) and on being a mentor and captain to support my teammates in reaching their goals.
But now that I’m taking a break from TNT I have more time to think about the idea of running for…myself? Running just because I like it, and not solely as a means to raise money? Finding a training plan that is geared towards my personal goals, and not just the goal of getting me across the finish line in one piece? This is somewhat foreign territory.
I’m a bit adrift.
In my last post I wrote about trying to figure out what my goals were. I’m still working on that. What’s that conversation between Alice and the Cheshire Cat?
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
I feel like I don’t know where I want to get to with my running. It is hard to feel motivated some days because I’m not sure what I’m aiming for. Do you ever get completely dressed to run and then somehow end up not actually going out for a run? Yeah, embarrassingly, that’s me some days. I don’t do well running on my own.
But I ran a 5k trail race at Kartchner Caverns State Park a few weeks back and I’m signed up for another local 5k next weekend. That is different and it feels good. I’ve been doing some track and speed workouts with a local group of women, and every time I come home feeling exhilarated and excited about running. But with the exception of those weekly group runs, I find myself feeling a little bit lost, like I’m not sure how I should be training or what my goals are, so I go out for the same 5-8 mile runs. Boring. I’ve been doing some reading and checking out different training plans. I want to find some goal races for early 2015. Becoming more consistent and faster are both high on my list, but beyond that, I’m not sure what comes next.
Basically, I’m a work in progress.
I did get new shoes this week, which always makes me want to run. And my new Oiselle flock mates? They kick ass.
What motivates you? I’m looking for some words of wisdom here, including a good, old-fashioned KITA, so don’t hold back.