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April 08, 2015

Keeping Up With The Flock

Heather Stephens

This past fall, I packed up my life and moved across the country from Washington, DC to Seattle, WA. My mind raced: what do you think you’re doing Heather? Your life is on the East Coast. How could you move 3,000 miles away from everything and everyone you’ve ever known? My mind flashed back to the summer of 2012 when two of my college teammates, Lauren Penney and Rebekah Mackay, and I had the opportunity to go to the USA Olympic Trials in Eugene, OR.

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The Oiselle crew welcomed us for the week and we completely fell in love. It was incredible to meet a group of women who were so involved in the sport, and so genuinely invested in the betterment of women runners of all levels. We spent our days cheering on Oiselle’s elite athletes, meeting up for group runs, and our nights sipping great wine, talking big dreams and making goals for ourselves. The trip to the trials couldn’t have come at a better time. The three of us had just graduated from Syracuse University after four years of running Division 1 track, and I couldn’t help but feel like my running days had just come to an end. After a week of inspiring races and encouragement from the Oiselle women, I began to think that I could still be part of a team and maybe my best running days were still ahead of me.

To run for Oiselle, the same team that Lauren Fleshman and Kara Goucher run for, you don’t have to be a professional runner. You can be someone like me, someone who wants a shot at being extraordinary, someone who longs for a chance to start with something unknown and finish with something unforgettable. The Oiselle Manifesto and vision for team was so inspiring to me, beyond just wanting to run for them, I wanted to be a part of their future. When you discover your inner awesomeness and embrace your goals, the next step is to surround yourself with people who believe in you and will encourage you to be the best you can be. Joining Oiselle felt like taking that next step…I guess you could say I was flocking to the nest.

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When I arrived in the fall, we had just opened up The Flock. The Flock, Oiselle’s newest branch of the team, emerged as a way for more women to join our community and connect with one another. A community can be a single training partner, a club, or an online community. Joining on with Oiselle and being a part of their running community elicited such a warm feeling of security. I could move across the country, and within days, form connections with a new run family. For the first time in a long time, I had the joy of putting on a singlet and racing with a team again. It’s amazing how your running can soar by simply being part of something bigger than yourself.

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Oiselle Flock Pacific Coast – Emerald City Open Fall 2014

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Oiselle Flock Northeast – Pittsburgh Great Race Fall 2014

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Oiselle Flock South – Pure Barre Class DC Spring 2015

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Oiselle Flock Midwest – Hot Dash Race Winter 2015

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Oiselle Flock Moutain West – Mile High Turkey Trot Fall 2014

We started The Flock by offering a limited number of spots, and as the interest and enthusiasm has continued to fly, we’ve decided to expand. In order to continue to thrive, we must continue to grow. We can’t wait to open our team to new members, with new and diverse philosophies and ideas. But we want to do it the right way. We plan to open our team again at the end of the summer. Over the next few months we will continue to experiment with new platforms, collaborate with our current members and find even better ways to connect. The stronger we grow as a sisterhood, the more power we have as individuals to take on our most far-reaching goals.

I feel so fortunate to have been introduced to this group three years ago at the trials, and now to be part of the nest. I can’t wait to share my experience with you. When you surround yourself with inspiring and successful people, chances are that you will be inspired and successful as well. Head up, wings out!

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Interested in joining the team this Fall? Stay up to speed with us @oiselle on social media and make sure you're subscribed to hear the latest!

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Comments

Lauren L. | April 10, 2015 at 4:42am

Beautifully written! So

Beautifully written! So happy to be part of Oiselle Team!

Christy | April 10, 2015 at 10:26am

Heartfelt!

Heather, I so enjoyed reading your blog--it is so heartfelt! It's something we all feel and you expressed it perfectly.

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