It’s Time to Challenge Yourself: 2018 Fall Fanno Creek Running Series

There are many things about being a runner that are both frustrating and fascinating at the same time. One of those things is that you can’t ever count on anything being consistent. You could do everything you are supposed to do before a race and take off at the start line with lungs on fire like you’ve never run before and it could be like that for the entirety of the race. You could also have the best run of your life after a night of no sleep and eating badly. A 20 miler could be easier on any given day than a 6 miler. You just never know. As someone who ran her first marathon over a decade ago, I thought I was done with being surprised by what my body was willing to do as a runner. I didn’t think I would improve after kids, especially as I finally found myself in the “40 & Over” box in the age categories. But then I discovered that if you can find a good run training program, (otherwise known as a “Track Tuesday,”) you can challenge yourself in new ways .. Ways I personally never thought I’d ever want to be challenged. After some sweat, (and yes some pain,) I found myself stronger than I ever had been. And that’s where the Fanno Creek Running Series started.

After lots of years participating in more races than I can count and a couple of years of training around the track as a passionate runner, I finally found myself on the other end of the track too. I got certified with the RRCA (Road Runner’s Club of America) as a running coach and now I’m teaching, encouraging, and training other runners. The fact that I have been on both sides benefits my clients tremendously, as they know I would never make them do something that I as a runner wouldn’t do myself.

I’ve mentioned running tracks above, and you are probably aware that the majority of running training programs are on tracks. Though that’s where I’ve learned a lot about coaching, it’s certainly not where I race, and I’ve personally never cared much for them.  I find tracks to be intimidating and mentally difficult to navigate. Those lines on the turf and knowing exactly how many loops equal a mile can cause a lot of anxiety for people. So I decided to develop a training program that isn’t on a track at all. The Fanno Creek Running Series will start and end at the Fanno Creek Trail entrance located by the Garden Home Rec Center. We will often run about a mile to the entrance at Vista Brook Park for some additional work there before running back. It’s an 8 week series where we will work on various things that will make you a stronger runner. You’ll do speed work and drills, learn how to improve your form and run on fatigued legs, and there might be a field trip for some hill training. I can write you up a customized plan if you’re training for a race and I’m here to help you reach whatever goals you have in mind. Every week is different, and while it won’t be easy, you’ll feel stronger every time you finish and you’ll be happy you came. Whether you are just starting out, getting back to running, trying to improve, or simply want to get out of the house to surround yourself with people to motivate you, all are welcome here.

Many of my friends and clients know I have not always been a runner. In fact, I was very overweight and not active until I was close to 30 years old, and that’s when I discovered running and fell in love with it. The 20 year old version of myself would never guess that I would eventually begin training for marathons and ultras. In 2016, I got certified with the AFAA (Athletics and Fitness Association of America) in group exercise training to lead and encourage others on a fitness path to success. Running has been a huge part of who I am, and I have worked hard for all I’ve earned. Getting certified to coach runners was something I didn’t realize I was ultimately striving for when I got off the couch and laced up my running shoes, but it’s become my dream come true. I want to offer others a small piece of what I’ve found in this rolling hill of an adventurous life. I also want people who have thrown in the towel and thought they couldn’t be runners to come talk to me because it ain’t over until you stop breathing.

Running with friends and your favorite bloggers, Abby Meek and Kelly Barten

The community that only a runner would understand is never more evident than in a run training series like this one. Everyone here, no matter the goal, has something in common and we’ve all left our busy agenda to get out and do this together. Most successful runners will tell you that accountability is key to sticking with it, and when our runners show up no matter the weather, we know we aren’t alone in it. When you feel like there’s lead in your legs or you’re having a bad day, there are always runners here

cheering for you from the sidelines or encouraging you literally every step of the way as they take those same strides. It never feels like you’re in it by yourself, even if you aren’t as light on your feet as the person next to you. And most important, we all want to be the best version of ourselves, and that effort pours out of us along with the sweat .. We leave nothing behind.

The Fanno Creek Running Series will start on September 20th at 9:30AM. It will be every Thursday for 8 weeks and the cost is $75. Come to the first session and try it out before you pay. If you think it’s just not for you, there’s no obligation to pay if you don’t want to come back for the rest of the training sessions. There’s no risk in giving it a go. I’m really truly looking forward to sharing what I’ve learned over the years and leading people to learn more about their own capabilities, just as I have had the luxury of discovering for myself. If I’ve learned anything in the last couple of years, it’s that you can always improve, you can always grow, and there really are no limits other than the ones you find buried inside. You’ve got to dig deep and outrun them. If I can, I know others can too.



What: The Fall Fanno Creek 8 Week Running Series

When: Every Thursday from 9:30AM – 10:30AM from September 20th thru November 8th.

Where: Garden Home Recreation Center (7475 SW Oleson Road, Portland, OR) by the entrance to the Fanno Creek Trail.

Register: No pre-registration is required. Just show up to the training and we can discuss payment after your first session. Additional questions can be emailed to Nikki Mueller at

Registration Cost: $75

About Author

I'm the owner of Healthy Girl Fitness and I'm a personal trainer, certified AFAA group exercise instructor, and an RRCA certified running coach in SW Portland. I am also the mother of two young boys and am on the board at my youngest son's school. I led a relatively inactive life throughout my 20's until I discovered the world of fitness and running. I ran my first marathon in 2006 and haven't looked back since.

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