Blair Martin: On Following Curiosity

This is part of the Arete Community Series leading up to our 2018 team launch.

We will be featuring Arete members from various chapters on the blog and social media in the next two weeks. Our teammates join us for various reasons: to chase personal best times, reignite their passion for running, or to lean into the challenge and satisfaction of racing. Although each of us show up for Arete for real life running community connection, each running story is different, authentic and inspiring.

In our lead up to announcing our 2018 chapter launch locations and dates, may these stories of our teammates inspire and excite us in our running and beyond.

Blair, Product Manager for Pandora, is a determined and passionate member of Arete Oakland. After watching the team from afar, she decided to follow her instinct one day and, on a whim, signed up for Arete. Catching up with Blair reminds us to follow our curiosity and dive into the community that feels right.

Who are you & what’s your background in running?

Blair Martin, originally from Lexington, KY and have lived in the Bay Area for the past six years. I grew up playing soccer competitively in club, ODP (Olympic Development Programs), and eventually in high school and college at Williams College.  After 16 years of soccer, I finally burned out and retired before my junior year in college. I studied abroad and ate and drank my way through Spain, and then came back and trained for a marathon my senior year in college.  It was that fall, running through western Massachusetts training for NYC, that I learned to love running. Always before, running had been punishment or a means to an end with other sports, but when I tackled a training program, poured over running articles, and talked to other runners, I began to understand the common bond runners share.  Moreover, I developed a new understanding and appreciation for my dad and his dedication to the sport for over 40 years. Since graduating from soccer player to adult athlete, my dad and I have had numerous long conversations about training plans, the ups and downs of injuries and mental toughness, and have shared great runs together when I’m home visiting.  Though he had to stop running when he was 68, he still works out most days and has always been my best athletic role model. I love sharing stories of my Arete runs with him these days!


Why did you join team Arete?

I kid you not, I stalked before I joined. I had thought about joining a running team many times before, but never had the courage to do so. I tried a few workouts with my faster running friends when I lived in NYC and always left the group feeling intimidated. After following @runarete and @runarete_oakland on Instagram for a couple of months and seeing all of the great posts and runspiration, and coupled by missing a morning workout one day and being mad at myself, I impulsively joined the team on my phone from bed one morning.  I’m SO GLAD I did!

How has being a part of this team impacted your relationship with running?

Wow, where do I begin? My running…and my fitness in general… had been lacking for well over six months and I had been struggling to find motivation to get back into shape. I wasn’t feeling great about my attitude, my body, or my health. Fast forward three months after joining the team and I’m completely energized and excited about running again.  Not only that, I have a whole badass group of powerful women who share their goals, trials, and tribulations alongside me. I can’t wait to see what we all accomplish together!

Blair (second from right) and some East Bay teammates closing out a track session with a beautiful sunset.

Best Arete memory so far…

I’ve never had a track wife before, but I’ve found mine in Teresa Hopkins!  All of the women on the team have been great, but it’s pretty special to find someone who not only is your pace, but also is willing to bust her butt on the track alongside you week after week as you both strive to hit new PRs. A couple of weeks ago, after going out too fast on our first set of 400 repeats, we were discussing pace on the recovery and trying to figure out what our goal half marathon pace should be. Teresa  convinced me that we should save a little gas in the tank to go all out on our “reward set” at the end. It seemed logical during a breathless recovery, but somehow thinking about the 13-16th 400 repeats as a “reward” still seems a little crazy to me.  The term has stuck though! We now talk about our “reward set” when we’re trying to mentally break up a workout so it seems easier. Bring on the reward sets, Coach Mary!

Blair and Team Leader Teresa Hopkins after crushing a long tempo run.

 Any other tidbits you’d like to share?

If anyone is reading this and wondering if you can hang on this team, or if you’ll find someone like you, the answer is yes! This is a diverse group of women who share in one common goal: the desire to participate in a community of encouraging, spirited, fun, and welcoming women. My husband tells me I come home saying, “I’m so glad I joined this team!” effusively all the time. Go Arete!

Find out next week how you can join Arete Oakland or an Arete chapter near you for the chance to share miles with many awesome women.

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