Photo from Stephanie Cosina. Being healthy is great, but sometimes runners just run to stay warm.
Ready, SET, Run: by Kalie Wertz
I consider myself a runner. Someone who gets up most mornings of the week and runs most any distance to get their blood pumping seems like a runner to me. Even if they are not doing it to be competitive. In high school days during cross-country meets, other runners would ask for my split time, my finish time, my 5k pace, my mile pace...and I never had any numbers to give them. I really just ran because I liked to run and wanted to finish (worthy goals for most of us).
Sure, during race days I wasn't completely free from competitive impulses - I'd strive to beat out nearby runners in whatever it was I was running. But taking notes of my times, and trying to beat those times (which is what competitive running boils down to) was not what running was about for me. It was the social aspect, the outdoor settings, and the workout with people whose company I enjoyed that attracted me. I don't remember half of the races I ran but I do remember the running conversations that occurred along the way.
Consequently, when I noticed the Ready, SET, Run group on the
WenatcheeOutdoors Calendar, I experienced a wave of excitement and nostalgia. Ready, SET, Run is a women's-only running group that advertises itself as being open to all ages and running abilities and having the side benefit of giving away various undisclosed prizes. "Let me get this straight," I thought, "a free running group, for women of various abilities, done in the morning, with the possibility of winning something? There has to be a catch."
I wondered if this was actually a bunch of marathon runners trying to beat each other at each mile. Or maybe this was a group of ultra-tough women warming up with a morning run before they climbed a mountain in the afternoon. But with visiting the Apple Capital Loop Trail as one of the feats on my Bucket List, the opportunity of running with other motivated morning people (who are few and far between) propelled me to give this group a shot.
When I arrived on my initiation run, the group was casually chatting around a table at Rivet Coffee, the airstream-turned-coffee-tunnel next to Pybus Market. I was greeted with warm smiles set upon cold faces (the weather was probably in the high 30s at 8:30am). I wrote my name on a slip of paper that was dropped into a giveaway drawing basket and given a punch card that, after 10 runs with the group, would earn me a complementary long-sleeve tee that would pair nicely with a feeling of great accomplishment. Within minutes of arriving, I became the lucky winner of one of the giveaways: a pair of gloves (much needed by this California girl) and any flicker of uncertainty and intimidation about joining this group had been snuffed. I was psyched for the run ahead.
Photo by Tom Kirkendall. Ladies enjoying a day on the loop.
Although I wasn't sure about the dynamic of this group - who came regularly, who were first-timers, who were marathoners, and who ran short distances - we all took off into a brisk warm-up pace. I actually found myself keeping up with several others and able to chat a little during the run. As I looked around during the run things really were as billed, running ahead and behind me were women of many different ages and abilities. There were also a number of dogs running with us, dashing in and out of legs.
Stephanie Cosina, the founder of the group, set a positive vibe for our morning run and made it obvious she was happy I'd come. Her philosophy dovetailed perfectly with mine, "It's never about how fast you run, it's just girl's morning out with a side of fitness."
Ready, SET, Run Community Profile
Basis: Running group of all abilities and ages - being a woman is the only requirement. Participants run, walk, push strollers with kids, and bring their dogs.
Founded: December 2012 by Stephanie Cosina and a few friends she dragged along. The group is having their one-year anniversary this coming December and will be hosting an open event for all runners that have been involved and want to be involved. Check the SET Coaching Facebook page for more details.
Group Size: 10 people ran the first morning I joined, but the group has had up to 25 women running.
Run Location: Apple Capital Loop Trail, meet at Rivet Coffee by Pybus Public Market.
Run Time: Meet at 8:30 a.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays (check the SET Coaching Facebook page for updated information).
Perks: Opportunities to win a free gift every single run! Also, come 10 mornings and get a free "Ready, SET, Run" shirt.
Photo from Stephanie Cosina. Ready, SET, Run is out every Wednesday and Saturday - rain or shine!