Back on My Feet is a non-profit that promotes the self-sufficiency of individuals experiencing homelessness by engaging them in running to help build confidence, strength and self-esteem. The organization was founded in Philly and has chapters in more than ten American cities. Back on My Feet members begin by running and gradually earn job and finance management training, moving their way through our program until they reach employment. (Click to find a chapter)
I’ve been running with Back on My Feet since November. I learned about Back on My Feet through Lesley Brillhart, a friend who taught at KIPP and now works with Back on My Feet LA. She included a note in our school weekly bulletin encouraging us to support the new to LA organization by joining one of the 5:30 AM run groups. 5:30 AM is early enough for anyone but an educator’s schedule. The absolute LATEST I can arrive to school is 7:00 AM. My amazing carpool buddy/BFF/co-worker Alaina, now a runner, joins me twice a week at the CLARE Foundation site in Santa Monica. We have quite the system. I pick her up at 5:15 AM, and we’re in Santa Monica in ten minutes. We warm up, huddle up, set out for our runs, then go straight to school. Alaina drives my car to school so that I can change while we’re driving and be ready to welcome students into the building for breakfast. Don’t worry, I use PLENTY of wipes, spray and deodorant. Yeah, it’s kinda gross, but it’s SO worth it to be involved with this incredible organization.
Back on My Feet has reminded me what a powerful impact running can have on your life. It relieves stress, is a great way to meet people, and teaches you that you can achieve anything you set your mind to. The organization is making an incredible impact on the lives of resident members and on its volunteers too. Back on My Feet has improved my speed tremendously. One of the members has really helped our entire team pick up the pace. Today was his longest run yet. He’s rocked 5 and 10K’s in the past, but today we set out for a new distance. 10 miles. The Long Beach, Downtown and Santa Monica groups all came together this morning at Palisades Park in Santa Monica for a 10K/10Miler. We decided to run together, and set the goal of averaging roughly a seven minute mile pace, and we DID IT! Miles 7-10 were hot, but we kept encouraging each other and pulled through finishing 1 and 2.
Road Runner Sports in Santa Monica then hosted a post-run party with food, freebies and a raffle. Brent (the hubster) and I just bought new running shoes there. We love their shoe dog that helps you find the PERFECT pair of running shoes for your feet. Live in the LA area? You should definitely check them out for a pair of good running shoes. Brent and I are spending a lazy afternoon on the couch, I then have a group meeting with my Columbia group (more on that later) and tonight we’re walking down to the beach and The Tripel for dinner. We can’t go more than a week without The Tripel.