I feel like I fell off the face of the Internet. LOL. Seriously. Didn’t even post on Instagram for eight days! hahahaha
The move to the Okanagan was hectic. It went a bit like this: Prince Rupert, flat tire, Kelowna, Vancouver, wedding, Kelowna, flat tire, Kamloops, Kelowna, Kamloops, new set of tires, Vernon, Penticton, wedding, Kelowna, Vernon….HOLY F*CK. It was pretty overwhelming and I felt a bit homesick almost right away for Northern BC.
Moving involves so much change and it can also be really intimidating. Social circles, training buddies and comfort zones get left behind. Then add on the task of maintaining a fitness routine…yikes. That part is like trying to stick with exercise habits while on holidays..except not just for a week or two.
I knew that if I waited to get on top of this necessary re-creation of my fitness routine I would feel shitty, sad and it would be hard to get going again. Choosing to see a new place and situation as an adventure, and as an opportunity to explore new things (sometimes scary) is the key to success, in my opinion.
Tip #1: just fucking go.
A couple days after ALL THE DRIVING was done, the first thing I did was go on a short run from my new spot at my MIL’s house. I’ve heard people say “I don’t know my way around.” or “I’ll get lost.” as an excuse for not running in a new place. Good try. It’s called an out-and-back, plus I know we all have Google maps! I ran for 3k in one direction, found a sick hill and ran up and down it, and then back the way I came. There. First run done and no longer feeling shitty about a few days in the vehicle sitting on my ass. The next day I planned a far longer route, also using maps.
Tip #2: do some simple research
Google around for some mainstream running/walking/cycling spots to start out with. Even look at a few hashtags or other stuff on social media! Seriously. I clicked #runkelowna, looked at segments on Strava, searched for paths and trails and looked up local races to see what areas they are in. Also, familiarize with the general area with Google maps or even a real map ahaha. Sounds touristy but who likes feeling like they don’t know which way is up? Not me.
Tip #3: find a crew
Go to a meet-up or an event of some kind and meet a couple people! Even in very small towns you can usually find something sooner or later like a small race, fundraiser or fun run. Lots of running stores have group runs, and I always come across different activity squads on Instagram. You don’t have to show up and start yelling “HI EVERYONE I’M JAMIE I JUST MOVED HERE WHO WANTS TO BE MY FRIEND??” nor is a full commitment necessary. Unless it’s awesome you don’t have to stay or return! Just put yourself out there. People are generally nice.
When I go to any city I check if they have a November Project tribe. If you don’t know what this is, you need to know. So far I have gone to NP in Montreal, Seattle, Vancouver and now Kelowna. Always a good time and always good people!!!!! I’m 2/2 for Wednesday mornings since I got here and plan to see how long I can streak. Some of us went for coffee after today’s workout. People are nice! #JustShowUp
Tip #3: join a training clinic
I met some amazing people when I trained for my very first half marathon in 2013 with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training, many who I’m still connected with today in one way or another. Yep, the first time you show up it can be scary, just like the first day of a course or a new job, but that’s normal!!!
Most communities have beginners’ programs too, like Couch to 5k, etc. I just signed up for a trail running clinic with P.A.C.E. that was recommended by one of my Instagram friends (Instagram friends are real) as well as a friend-of-a-relative who I just met last weekend. It starts September 19th and I’m stoked for new connections, learning the trails around my new area, variety and accountability!
Tip #4: find a buddy
Even if you don’t know a single person in an unfamiliar place, someone else you know might! Ask someone at home to hook you up with one of their contacts in the new location, even for one run or just to be in contact for recommendations. Six degrees of separation, people!
There are a few people in my new area who I can meet up with and I plan to, but I really lucked out this first week – two of my favourite run buddies were in town from Victoria. They showed me part of the Okanagan Rail Trail that’s being developed from Kelowna to all the way up by Coldstream!
I have no problem exploring new places solo (thanks to Suzanne) but if you feel you need a buddy, I know you can find one! I’ll have lots once school starts, I’m sure!
Tip #5: take advantage of new amenities
Gyms. Yoga studios. Aquatic Centres. I know many people don’t like going to new places alone, and I admit it’s not my most favourite thing, but once arriving at these places we get busy! I like to remind myself that people go to these kinda places primarily to be active and feel good, and any socializing is usually secondary.
There are so many places that offer amazing discounts or promos to new visitors. Last night I went to a complimentary hot yoga class with my mother-in-law, I was her guest since I’d never been there before. Even if your first visit somewhere isn’t complimentary, just drop in, it’s not like you have to become a member to try out a new class, pool, workout space, etc. I dropped into a sweet pool yesterday because the one I want to go to on my way to school is closed for maintenance.
I think moving requires lots of trial and error. Learning the area and how to get places. Testing out spots to hang out, run, workout, practice. Interacting with new people who start out as strangers, may become part of your life, but might just be acquaintances or even remain strangers! New colleagues, classmates, instructors, coaches, roommates, you name it. The unknown is uncomfortable but fun, and I plan to have as much fun as I can with this! If you find yourself in unfamiliar territory, I hope you take a similar perspective.