by Sally Bergesen

Nobody starts out doing it right. And every avid runner you see – looking like they’ve been at it for a lifetime, with a twinkle in their eye and long legs stretched into compression socks and clothes – started as a newbie.

I know I did. I was 20 years old, tired of drinking and smoking, and yearning for something more (it was pre-microbrew revolution!) Like Forrest Gump, I found some shoes and started going…solo…at night. No rhyme or reason. I had no friends that ran. I wouldn’t know where to find any. So I just continued to haunt the streets and bluffs of Eugene...the trees offering hushed applause.


But once I moved to Seattle, I started running “for real.” And I was so THIRSTY for knowledge. It was like I had woken up from a 100 year sleep and needed everything all at once, immediately!

I wanted to know about gear, mileage, running groups, races, training plans, injuries, fuel, sleep, tapering, pushing myself, and how to keep getting new PR’s! It was an exciting time. I was a sponge. I was a runner I was a newbie…I was a rubie!


It was with the memory of my rubie self that motivated me to recently track down my friend and hero Beth Baker. She is a fabulous woman, a leader, a coach (of her running/coaching business Running Evolution), a Oiselle product tester, and a fixture in our neighborhood by the Nest and around Green Lake. We fly by each other on the paths – trading high fives and her signature butt slap. As we’ve each grown our businesses, we’ve shared encouraging words, stories, laughs.

One of the things I love most about Beth is her voice. The sound of her voice is great, yes. And for those of you who know her, hello, her LAUGH. So amazing.

But mostly I mean her writing voice. In every piece I’ve read from her (website, email newsletters), her fun, funny, encouraging, silly, smart, woman-forward voice is turned up to full volume. She’s the coach with the megaphone telling us to keep going, keep laughing, keep enjoying each other. And yes, to keep our big girl pants on.

Because the only secret to becoming a runner is to run. One, two, left, right… no matter the pace, the day, or anything else. It's the motion not the measure.

And it’s people like Beth that I would most like new runners to know and hear. She’s definitely someone I would’ve loved to know back in those early awkward days…when all I had were the trees, unable to tell their secrets.

Please look for a new Run 101 post twice per month. And PLEASE share these with any rubies in your life.

WITHOUT FURTHER ADO, I present you with our first installation of our Run 101 Series, from the woman herself: BETH BAKER!


Hello people! I am a RUBIE coach, or a coach for new runners, in Seattle.

What I am very good at is helping people who have never run before, or those that want to get back into the game, leap into runninghood. Most of my job is cheerleading, handing out butt slaps, and getting people out of their heads. Running is so freaking mental, and sometimes your brain’s pants are on fire, because it's totally a liar. 

My friend and #sisterhero, Sally, asked me to blog about what new runners need to know so they can make that leap and earn their rubie wings. I said yes, ‘cause she can beat me up. Or at least lap me around Greenlake.

So I thought I’d start at the beginning:

How to Run Your First Mile

Note: Sweat makes my pants stay up. O.K. Now that we got that out of the way...

My pants were falling down, (totally my fault for grabbing the non-drawstring Oiselle pants...lesson learned) so, I was tired, cold and just cranky.  

AND my pants kept falling down. I had to hold them up with my right hand, while holding my lifeline/phone with my left hand so I could listen to what my new love Liz Gilbert had to say on her new podcast. “C'mon sister Liz, please, let’s get through this first mile...ok?"

I HATE the first mile. I like to think that is why I have my business. Most people, who don’t run and try to, think that’s the way it is for the entire run! Your brain/engine is VERY loud with a number of reasons why you should be doing ANYTHING but what you are doing. Your body feels like lead and you’re not very sweaty so your pants aren’t staying up. Just at that point, I saw a huge plane come off the horizon and the analogy hit me; the effort, force, and power that plane needs to get off the runway is the same as that first mile. It’s fighting inertia and gravity to get in the air. While, yes, I know I am not flying, I sure love it when my body is in flight. I can start enjoying cocktails of endorphins and listen to my in-flight entertainment of my latest podcast where they tell me how to be a better writer.

So...Try this! On your next run, play stewardess with yourself, treat yourself ala first class during that pre-flight protocol. Turn off your electronics (your brain), put your seat up (head up, wings out) and know that your destination will be in your grasp as soon as you leave the runway.

Kimberly Stevens