Run 4 on the 4th with the St. Pete Running Company

When I set my alarm for seven this morning, I knew there was a chance I would simply turn it off and sleep on since I didn't get to bed until midnight last night. That's exactly what I did. My alarm beeped, I shut it off, and decided not to rise until hubby did. He'd be getting up soon (helping his uncle on a house project), but I didn't realize how soon. Twenty minutes after I shut mine down, his went off. I took that as a nudge from above to stop snoozing and do what I was thinking about doing all day yesterday: go on a run with some strangers.

On Facebook, I had seen a public invitation to come out and run with the St. Pete Running Company, a new store only five minutes from my house. Recently, I ran into Coach Dillon, the cross country coach when I was in high school. He mentioned the new store, so I liked their Facebook page. For today's run, they were calling it Run 4 on the 4th. That sounded great. I wanted to run today anyway, but would've been going solo because everyone else was busy as far as I knew. Afterward, they were having discounts in the store and mimosas! That alone was a fun draw.

I run alone often, and I've gotten used to it. But it's motivating and fun running with someone else. While considering the invitation, I had those silly worries about being the new girl. What if I couldn't find anyone to run with? What if I had to stand on the outskirts of the group and no one talked to me? What if I couldn't keep up with the group and got lost on the route?

Silly, I know. Especially considering the running community as a whole. I've never met a snobby runner, so I don't know why I even let those thoughts creep in. Maybe it's because I was once a new girl stepping into St. Pete High School mid-sophomore year without a friend for 3,000 miles. In high school, as everyone knows, there are snobs and those who could care less about welcoming new people. To this day, I remember meeting Joy, a shy and sweet girl in my history class who offered to let me sit with her at lunch on my first day. I had prayed that I would have someone to sit with at lunch, and God used Joy to answer my prayer. Such a simple thing, but I've never forgotten it.

Which is why I'm so thankful that I didn't let my silly worries keep me from stepping out and going on the run. Otherwise, I might never have met any of the amazing people in this picture.

Before the 4: I'm to the right of the middle kneeling, pink hat and black tank
Even after rejecting my alarm, I managed to get to the store on time for the run. As soon as I got there, people were mingling. I met Mandy, the sweet woman next to me in the pic who has lost 70 pounds in the midst of her running journey. How amazing is that? During the run, I found myself in step with a couple, Jonathan and Kathy. He's an architect and she's a realtor. They were so friendly and fun to get to know.

The route was two miles south on the Pinellas Trail (including an overpass bridge) and back. All running levels welcome, including walkers, run-walkers, Galloway runners, etc. The 4 miles was simply the group run distance, but participants were not limited to that. They could run more or less if they wanted. All very relaxed and welcoming.

At the turn around, we met Ray and Sheree. If I understood correctly, Ray is a coach for Tampa Bay Fit, and Sheree is a member, as is Kathy. As we climbed the bridge together, Ray gave us a great tip for inclines (baby steps!). I ended up beside Sheree, who was gradually pulling ahead as we were chatting. She's a geologist. How cool is that? She set a great pace that took a lot of effort on my part. I'm so thankful I stuck with her the last half all the way to the end for a strong finish.

Water, Gatorade, and mimosas (so refreshing) were waiting. I was sweating profusely, but so was everyone else. Soon, Jonathan, Kathy, and Ray made it back to the store and we all spent more time visiting. They were all such delightful people. Not to mention the owners, Cody and Janna. When I first arrived, Cody made a point to come introduce himself to me. He explained how they do runs every Monday and Thursday at six, and sometimes have classes on technique, stretching, bra sizing for women (hello!), etc.

The store was having 33% off apparel for all those who participated in the run. I had a $10 off coupon from an offer they had put on Facebook, so I walked away with a pair of $0.74 Swiftwick socks. I've already tested them out while walking Lance, and they are awesome.

That's right. These were $0.74 after all the great discounts.
Needless to say, I will be back again to join more of the SPRC runs. It was a beautiful way to start a day of celebrating our many freedoms in this country. I never want to take for granted my freedom to run.


  1. Love this group and store. Welcome to the group.

    1. Thanks so much, John! I hope to see you next time I'm there and meet properly!

  2. Sounds fun!! I usually run alone too but would like to run with a group, it's just hard to do figure out the logistics of care for my daughter, ect. Wish I lived in the area and I could join you :)

    1. Kris, I totally get that. Scheduling is always challenging when it comes to committing to a group of any kind. If you're ever in the area, you're always welcome to join in!


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