Project Little Wing is settling into their new life in Bend Oregon. Betsy was the last Little Wing to arrive, just last week. Now she, Mel and Christine are living together in the Little Wing house, getting to know Bend, and ramping up their training with Lauren Fleshman. It's a whole new life for these three runners who picked up and moved everything to Bend to start chasing big dreams. We caught up with the group this week to see how things are going.

So you’re all there now! When did you arrive?
Mel and Christine arrived four weeks ago, and Betsy just last week. We are happy to have been placed in a home with such awesome roommates. The #littlewing team chemistry is already becoming evident.

What's Bend like?
Bend is ballin’! It’s like a hidden little training mecca scattered with coffee shops, mountains, and trail runs. It’s gone from 20-80k over the past twenty years so that contributes a lot to everything seeming fresh and clean with a massive amount of positive energy in the people around town.

Favorite parts?
Still feeling a little bit like kids in a candy shop but I think we can all agree the resources and support for running here seem unmatched by anything #littlewing members have experienced yet. A semi-mild climate, endless trail options, an outstanding PT (Jay), humble advice and expertise from the best of the best (LF), and a community that supports an active lifestyle. Feeling pretty blessed to be here. It doesn’t hurt that Bend boasts an up and coming lifestyle scene with river and mountain sports, trendy coffee shops and eateries, and an endless list of local events.

Things you’ll need to get used to?
The smaller size is definitely different, but not at all bad! A little less to do, but not enough to ever be bored. The slower lifestyle is definitely more suited for a training lifestyle.

What were the first weeks training like?
The first weeks of training continued on the idea of building a summer base.  We’ve been getting closer to max mileage with a slow and steady build up process, while also adding in new variables to help improve on any muscle weaknesses.
It’s all about strength!!

What was expected and what surprised you?
Christine Babcock: In anticipation of moving to Bend, I expected to enjoy exploring a new area and discovering a plethora of new trails.  I didn’t fully expect to fall in love with the area so quickly, but I am constantly amazed by all of the beauty within Bend.  I was also surprised to find out that my baking skills are thoroughly challenged at altitude...if anyone enjoys slightly imperfect baked goods, I’ll send some your way until I figure out all the new tricks of the trade.  

How is LW already different from your college team experience?
Running post collegiately is already a whole other monster. There is not constantly a coaching staff holding your hold hand for every step, and just like every other adult in the real world, you have to grow up a bit and define yourself and what you want. Each of us has to find what works best for us and capitalize on those assets. It’s funny to look back (and look at college athletes). In most cases collegiate runners have more resources than professionals despite slower performances. We seem to have one of the best set-ups available here. It’s important to find a lifestyle that is sustainable and allows you to continually improve and not burn out. One of the biggest post collegiate differences is now it seems all about the process and the long-term goal. In college you were more of a racehorse. Conference, regionals, or nationals was always just around the corner in one of your three seasons and you had to score points, qualify, and perform with a lot less time for base building and fixing weaknesses for better overall performance.

Any similarities?
Lots! We are still living in a house with other female runners, still training every day, doing strength work, hitting weekly mileage goals, stretching, trying to eat right, etc. It’s still the same sport in the end, just a whole new way of looking at it.

What does a typical day look like?
Schedule and lifestyle are still working to get into full swing but typically #littlewing wakes up for breakfast and coffee (no coffee for CB). Next we meet LF for running and whatever else is planned for the day at 8:45. We drive to trails, do a lot of core and strength and drills and get home later in the morning. Each of us has different things going on in our life so once we are home it’s up to us to find time for stretching, exercises, second run, etc. while working it in with the rest of our lives.

What does a typical week look like?
We start off our week on Monday with a rest/lighter mileage day and a massage.  Tuesday brings our first workout of the week, in addition to weights and abs.  Wednesday is a recovery mileage day and pillars (fun dynamic body movements that make you feel very least in CB’s case ;-) ).  After Wednesday, the weekly plan changes every other week.  We are on a 2 week workout cycle, working out T/Th/Sat the first week and T/Fri the second week.  And of course, Sunday rounds out our week with a long run.  And don’t forget to fit in PT with the brilliant Jay at Rebound Physical Therapy and raiding LF’s Picky Bar stash!

Looking ahead to the next three months, what’s the plan?
It’s a little different for each of us, as we are all working on “the little things”.

Mel Lawrence:  I’m focusing on slowly slowly slowly (can I emphasize that concept anymore?) building my mileage back up. I’ve been careful over the past year since I’ve battled with some injuries, but now I’m working on getting back to where I was.  I’m also working on the speed with some strides and sprints ;-) That side of me has been lying dormant for a little too long.  

Christine Babcock: I am continuing to build consistently on the injury-free momentum I have had for the 2 years; emphasizing building a bigger base, adding in more weights to gain strength, and learning to use a heart rate monitor as a powerful training tool.  I am also hoping to discover 6-pack abs lying dormant before I debut in the racing kit with my abs exposed. :)

Betsy Flood: I am working on getting healthy and getting everything sorted before I can begin some real ‘hard’ training. It’s exciting to get a feel for everything and get used to weights, PT, and all the little things before adding in the last big part. I think each of us is in a very different spot at the moment and it’s exciting all the resources we have in order for improvement.