“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”  Benjamin Franklin

One of my 2015 goals has been to join a running group, and a few months ago I signed up for the LA Leggers.  They train runners of all speeds, and will prepare you from couch to either a half or full marathon; or you can just run with them with no plan to ever run a race.

Orientation was on August 1st, and we’ve had a few runs together since.  Joining a running group was on my goals list for a few reasons.  First, I think any run that is longer than 2 hours or over 12 miles, I might actually run out of thoughts completely.  Second, I want the accountability and schedule of a training plan to keep me committed to doing those 18 and 20 and 22 mile runs.  Most of all, I want the company.  I’m a people person.  I enjoy talking to real live people more than just talking to myself in my head or typing away on a computer screen.

When I first started running in 2012, I had a couple of running friends, and Katie and I did many of the long runs for the Malibu Half together.  But then Katie moved about 20 miles away, which in LA does not make it practical to meet for a morning run, and I haven’t really been able to mesh my schedule with anyone else.  I actually wrote a little piece on Women’s Running Magazine about pretending that Shalane Flanagan is my imaginary BRF (best running friend) on some of my runs as both motivation and to help pass the time.  I guess Katie moving (or running away from me) has required me to resort to some desperate measures.

Joining the group is not practical for me, which is why I have not done it before.  It will involve me being gone every Saturday morning for the next 6 months for several hours; up to 5 hours once we get into the 20 milers.  I’ve had to move my kids’ tennis from Saturdays to Sundays.  My husband works most Saturday mornings, so as Saturday morning activities come up during the school year, I will need to enlist the help of others….(mom and dad, I know you are reading, this means you….welcome to retirement.)  But you know what, this year….I am just going to be selfish.  This year…’s about mom and her marathon.  This year…..everyone’s schedules will have to just work around my training sometimes, instead of the other way around.  We are going to pretend that this marathon is my newborn baby, and only I can nurse it.  And in order for me to nurse my newborn baby for the next 6 months, I’m going to need to do a few things…. rest when I need to, eat properly, enlist the help of others, and take care of myself.

At the LA Leggers orientation, they asked us to run a very comfortable 1 mile run at a conversational pace, and then assigned us to our pace groups.  Once we got assigned our pace group, we met with our mentors.  Each group has about 5 or 6 mentors and maybe about 40 or so runners in the group.  There are so many pace groups, we pretty much take over Santa Monica on Saturday mornings.  I love that.

We’ve had a few runs so far, and I am loving it.  Each week, I’ve run side by side and talked to different people, and I genuinely enjoy hearing other people’s running stories (and sharing mine of course.)  I’ve run with people who are 15 years older, and people who are 15 years younger, and why and how we have turned to running unites and bonds us, making us fast friends.  I’ve even run with men, and while I generally find men much less interesting than women, when they are runners, I find their running stories interesting as well.

The mentors are just so enthusiastic, supportive, and all-in.  They are all volunteers with lives and responsibilities, but they commit their Saturday mornings to helping to train you through your run, and they give you their all.  They are invested in you. I’ve been thinking about this blog, my running, and where I want to go with it.  Tentatively, my plan is to blog through running my first marathon, and then we’ll see if I want to keep writing or invest the time in other ways.  I’m not making any decisions on that for the next 6 months.  What I know for sure from my experience so far with the Leggers, is that at some point, I want to give my time to being a volunteer mentor.  When readers message me and tell me of their running progress, it is so gratifying….  and eventually I want to mentor in person….to watch people increase their miles and see what they are capable of….see them transform and support them through it.

As cheesy as it sounds, I want to see people turn their I’m not a runner to I am an athlete… their I’ve never thought I could to what else can I do…..their I can’t into I can…..  Mentoring people through nursing their running baby, whether their babies are 5Ks or marathons….that’s down the line…I know it.  In a way it’s a continuation of my selfishness, because it will fulfill me equally, if not more, than the new mommies nursing their running newborns.  “I’ve learned that finishing a marathon isn’t just an athletic achievement.  It’s a state of mind; a state of mind that says anything is possible.”  John Hanc.

***My post on Shalane, if you haven’t read it, was pretty fun to write:  If I Were Best (Running) Friends With Shalane Flanagan.  If you are new and you haven’t read about my friend Katie, you can read about her in my post Katie and Kristin.


About Paria

Runner, mother, pediatrician, blogger

16 comments on “Mentor

  1. I have never trained with a group! I think that it’s a great way to stay motivated, though! I love the idea of being a mentor. I do mentor NP students in my clinic, and I find it very rewarding. I’m sure that mentoring runners would feel good too!

    • You would be a fantastic running mentor….you pretty much do it online, so to do it in person and see the results may be down the line for you at some point too:)

  2. Hahahaha, I can totally relate to: “and while I generally find men much less interesting than women…”

    I have been a lot better about running with other people lately and it is a wonderful thing. But for some reason I am way more inclined to go run alone.

    Sometimes I wish I was up in LA so we could run together. I think we’d have A LOT to talk about.

    • We would have a lot to talk about….and yes, I love my alone sanity runs, but I think doing one run a week with a group and the rest on my own will be the perfect balance:))) Cheers to women being much more interesting than men:)

  3. I love you being “selfish” and taking this time for YOU! Fantastic. And mentoring is amazing. I was a personal trainer for a number of years and there is no better feeling then seeing someone do more then they ever thought they could. It changes their whole life and you get to be a part of it.
    I also love the sweaty selfie at the end. Perfecto.

    • Don’t know why your comment went to the spam first, so I had to move it to approved comments. If I lived close to you, you’d be my personal trainer. I’m glad you appreciate the sweaty selfie:)

  4. Great post, my friend! And I’m only 18 miles away! I do miss our runs. I love your newborn baby analogy – can we have a marathon shower??!! Your biggest fan – xx

    • YES!!!! We can throw me a marathon shower!!! And shower me with gifts such as run tops and compression socks and energy gel and massage certificates for after the run…and I have the perfect friend for hosting a theme party for me….as soon as she is done unpacking a few boxes…..her white wine is already chilling in the fridge;)

  5. Love this! The more and I run, and the more people I see start to run also, it encourages me even more to do some kind of leadership role both in running and at my bootcamp. I also made a goal this coming race season to spend some time volunteering at races to man water stations and cheer people on. I think it’d be a fun way to participate in other aspect of races!

    • So interesting….because a few weeks ago I signed up to volunteer at the Malibu Half Marathon in November….3 years ago, that was my first half, and another of my 2015 goals was to go volunteer at my first race and experience it from the other side…. I signed up for handing out medals at the end, but we’ll see if that’s the position I get! You’d be a great leader!!

  6. As a fellow sweat-er, I love the sweat-fie at the end. Complete appreciation for it, especially drawn to the one drip at the bottom of your chin. 🙂

    On a more serious note, I love reading your plans to take running to the next level. In a parallel universe, I’m taking my teaching to the next level.

    One of my personal goals for this year was to improve my teaching. Not that I had any idea how to get there when I wrote it last year. So, I wanted to take the first half of the year to review and analyze – what I taught, how I taught, what worked, what didn’t…. words, visuals, demos, pacing, sequence, assisting ….

    So, in July, this all came together for me and became clear, almost laser-focused. In August, I slowly incorporated changes to my teaching style, little by little, class by class. Now, in each class, I’ll pick 1-2 exercises, or even 1-2 exercise segments and pick a focal point I want to highlight. I put the class on pause and spend just a few minutes to talk about the anatomy in that exercise, what we’re looking for, what we’re not looking for, and ask if they are questions. I will also point out repeating shapes – either from earlier in the class, or similar exercises with different equipment (wall system, reformer, low chair, mat, etc). And I try to bring in one new exercise (for fun!) occasionally to show where you can go with an exercise.

    Yes, it’s about the exercises, the movement, the workout. But MORE importantly, it’s about anatomy, breathwork, alignment principles, knowing your body and adjusting accordingly. Of course, yes, get a workout, relieve stress, be with like-minded folk, but do you have a self-awareness for your body, and working its potential everyday? And by potential, I mean strength AND stretch. Can you take what you’ve learned in the studio and apply it outside so that your body can provide for you long-term and in a sustainable way?

    I guess my mentorship wrt teaching is that I want to educate my students, not simply instruct them. I’m still refining what I’m doing. I’ll probably spend the rest of this year to review and analyze and see what else needs to change next year.

    • Love how you are putting all this time into really thinking about your role as a teacher and enhancing people’s lives not just in class…but teaching them concepts that they will carry with them out of class, too! Lucky students you have there!!!

  7. That’s great to read about your making time for yourself and enjoying the running group so much!!

    It’s not being selfish…one Buddhist master expressed the key to freedom from suffering and to happiness is for one to learn to love oneself perfectly. This is different from selfishness.

    I love the quote at the beginning and the photo at the end! Always love your quotes and photos!

    • Thanks….and yes, although I use the word “selfish”….I have learned that being “selfish” is actually not a negative but a positive…. hopefully my kids will learn to be “selfish” adults who take care of themselves as well:)

  8. That’s so great that you joined a running group! It’s something that I’ve thought about a lot – to have the community and social interaction. Hopefully once I’m healthy and running again! And it is great that you are making time for yourself. I do think that it’s also good for our kids to see their parents nurture their own interests and take care of ourselves too.

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