First Week on the Job: 150 Miles in California
Hi, my name's Alicia, and I just joined the RunGo team! Almost every company has an "orientation" of some kind. When I worked at McDonald's or Subway as a kid, it was a day of paperwork. Later, as a grown-up kid working at lululemon athletica, it was an awesome week of yoga, scavenger hunts, and self-discovery.
When RunGo's founder Craig told me what my first week at RunGo would entail, it sort of blew my mind. I was to attend Western States Training weekend, meet my running idols all over California, race a 50km trail run in Oakland, road trip down the Pacific Coast Highway to meet one of the coolest trail running clubs around, meet friends at Google and Twitter campuses, and potentially map a wine running route in Sonoma, if we could find the time. He even mentioned there would be "days off" so I wouldn't get overly tired from all the "hard work".
Hmm... Let me think about it!
Heading through customs at Vancouver Airport, I tell the boarder guards the nature of my trip is for business, then look down at myself and laugh. I look like I'm going to run some marathon. My briefcase is a hydration pack full of running shoes, headlamps and water purifier tablets, with a few RunGo cards thrown in. My formal business attire consists of black shorts, instead of gold.
I'm going on a business trip! No briefcase required...
Orientation week would be a 10-day 1000-mile road trip combining our favourite running friends, towns and events, where we sought to get feedback on the app, develop relationships with key partners, and add some of the state's legendary running routes into RunGo's route store. Over 10 days we would run a combined 250 miles while connecting with inspirational running legends all the way from Santa Monica to Auburn, California. Combining digital start-up innovation with running communities - talk about a dream job!
Here's a little recap of the high-mileage, high-calorie-burn RunGo orientation week, organized by community we visited along the way!
Downtown San Francisco
# Miles Run: 17 Alicia, 17 Craig.RunGo Routes Added: Lands' End Trail, Golden Gate Park 10k, Twin Peaks Quickie Run, Chrissy Field to Golden Gate Bridge Run, See Jane Run store routes, a quick track workout!Friends of RunGo Visited: Chat with Jamie Walker, founder of SweatGuru and Fit Approach, and lunch with pro-marathoner Brooke Wells at Twitter HQ. Stores Run Into: Yoga at Sports Basement in Presidio, app demo at See Jane Run. Quotable Quotes:Craig, describing 100 milers during a drive: "I think 100 miles should feel like a really big hug." Favourite Post Run Food: EPIC bars from Sports Basement. Highlights:Hearing all about how Jamie grew her FitApproach community! And right up there was sharing delicious kale and kombucha and conversation at the Twitter campus with Brooke.
# Miles Run: 70 Alicia, 70 Craig. RunGo Routes Added: Western States 100!Friends of RunGo:Ann Trason, fellow safety sweepers Steve and Sarah, and we met a new friend from Truckee, Taddy! Stores Run Into: Auburn Running Company. Quotable Quotes: I discover the famous Western States heat: "The outhouse is like a sauna!" Favourite Post Run Food: Western States' camp pancake breakfast! Highlights: Hanging out with one of my idols, legendary trail runner Ann Trason at her ranch on the Western States course and attending an amazing barbecue and eating pie with tons of legends of the sport. (They ran this race the year I was born!) It was one of those "my job is this?! really?!" moments when we started talking with Ann about creating RunGo routes for her new race on the historic Western States trail, the much anticipated Overlook Endurance Runs. Another notable highlight, was enforcing an awkward group hug with unsuspecting Western States organizers after just meeting them.
Palo Alto and The East Bay
# Miles Run: 13 Alicia, 3 Craig. RunGo Routes Added: Stanford Dish Loop, Shell Ridge Run in Mt. Diablo Foothills, Google Mountain View campus walk.Friends of RunGo: Our lovely hosts Jen and Chris O'Connor, adventurer and inventor extraordinaire Beat at Google who is my new reference point for crazy (in a good way), and a new friend, Mary at Stanford. Stores Run Into:Amazing cappuccino at ZombieRunner. Quotable Quotes: Craig, on our way to Google campus. "Can you please Google where Google is?!"Favourite Post Run Food: A large serving of froyo at Google, anything you want at Crepevine. Highlights:New experiences, such aswalking through the "mountains" of Mountain View during lunch at Google with Beat, and meeting our new friend, Mary at Stanford for a super-windy Dish Loop run. Another highlight was getting a home away from home during our stay with Chris and Jen in Walnut Creek. Oh the feeling of clean socks and a fully clean shirt to wear to work!
# Miles Run: 7 Alicia, 0 Craig. RunGo Routes Added:The Dipsea Trail, home of the legendary Dipsea Race.Friends of RunGo: We made new friends at San Francisco Running Company, Jenny and Victor! Store Hangouts:San Francisco Running CompanyQuotable quotes: A constant for me... I LOVE Mill Valley!Favourite Post Run Food: Dipsea Café french toast. That is all. Highlights:From our hotel in Mill Valley we stayed up almost all night, digitally cheering-on friends Tim and Angel as they took on a grueling supported 100km "anniversary party", and Ellie Greenwood, as she achieved her dream to win the world's oldest and largest ultramarathon, South Africa's Comrades Marathon!
Canyon Meadows 50k
# Miles Run: 31 + 5 Alicia, 31 Craig. (I decided to pace Craig his last 5 miles after finishing her race!) RunGo Routes Added: Canyon Meadows 50k - part of the Bay Area's Coastal Trail Run series, which offers a race so often, you could be running trail races almost every week! Friends of RunGo: Race Director Wendell, and new friends Janeth, Melinda, and Tara. Store Hangouts:Was there a store on the race course?! Quotable Quotes: Craig, while we're driving super late to get to the start of the race. "Have you ever started a race late before?!"Favourite Post Run Food: Step 1: Beer at race finish line. Step 2: Pre-eat before dinner at Whole Foods, packing as many veggies into a sandwich. Step 3: Yummy shared plates, smoothies, and salads at The Grove in San Francisco. Highlights: Running in the Redwoods. I was so lucky to run in such a place and was mesmerized by my surroundings the whole time! I think as a result of that sense of awe, I ran my way to setting a women's course record and coming 3rd in the men's division.
# Miles Run: 7 Alicia, 5 Craig. RunGo Routes Added: SoCal CoyotesMurphy Ranch Trail Run, Top to Top store's run club routes, 2XU store's run club routes. Friends of RunGo Visited: Coyotes Jimmy Freeman, and our Santa Monica hosts, Dom Grossman and Katie DeSplinter. Store Hangouts:Hanging out withSanta Monica 2XU, running and drinking beer post-run with Top to Top. (Yes, they seem to have beer on hand after every group run!) Quotable Quotes:Craig, convincing me about morning runs. "I promise, you will love 6am!"Favourite Post Run Food: Fish tacos and brews off the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, at a little café, Neptunes Net, sandwiched between the beach and the Santa Monica mountains! Highlights: Running at the SoCal Coyotes' Thursday Morning Run, which inspired me to create this kind of amazing trail running community at home in Vancouver! The Coyotes magically invite everyone from beginner to elite runners to partake in the mountain fun, so there's an amazing vibe of fun and welcome that's unlike other club I've visited before.
Back in Vancouver, 150 miles later, I'm left wondering what positive things I did in my life to deserve this kind of work environment.
To all of our friends, new and old in California, thanks for having us, and give us a call when you feel like paying us a visit to come run up north!
Obviously I was non-stop taking pictures of my dream orientation week. For more epic pictures of our California adventure, check out our photo albums on Facebook here!