“I had a mental block about beginning again at the age of 45—I thought that it would be too hard and I would feel discouraged, and give up before I had really given it the time a new routine takes to become habit,” says Angie Dierdorff, who has experienced an off and on relationship with running over the past 20 years.

Her running routine went to the wayside at different times for various reasons—tendonitis, loss of running partners, other outdoor pursuits with friends.

“Looking back, I can see that I tend to take up running and stick with it if I have at least one of two motivators: a running buddy or two, or a lot of anxiety that needs a healthy outlet. When I have lost my ‘buddy,’ I didn’t want to continue on my own,” she says.

“I started running again this past winter after a six-year break—hoping to gain cardio fitness again, improve energy and combat borderline low thyroid levels.”

With the help of her “Run Club,” comprised of two close friends and neighbors—as well as Angie’s dog—she now runs three to five mornings a week, and has been committed to this routine for over six months now. They run a 2.5-3 mile loop in the Garland neighborhood, with longer runs on the weekends.

“If it wasn’t for the camaraderie and encouragement of our group, I wouldn’t be running almost every day,” Angie says.

“When I started up again, I could only run a couple of blocks without needing to walk. My running partners and I had the unspoken agreement that if one of us needed to walk for bit, it was always OK, and we would stretch, do lunges or other exercises, keep walking, until we wanted to run again. Our goals were simple: we started running at 5:30 am, and our goal was to finish our route and get to the Rocket Bakery on Garland as close to opening, at 6 am, as possible for a double short Americano, the reward. When we first started, we might arrive at ten or five minutes after 6 am. We knew we were progressing the first time that we made it before they were open and we had to wait outside! We almost never walk now, and I can finish our loop without side aches.”

Angie’s advice for someone new to running is to start small. “My best advice for someone who wants to give it a try is this: start small. Set very reasonable, realistic goals for yourself—like running two blocks without stopping twice a week—and move your goals up from there!”

She also recommends investing in good-fitting shoes. “Road or trail running is a very affordable way to get and stay in shape, and it is worth every penny to take care of your body with the right equipment,” she says. Angie found her running shoes—her favorite gear item—at Fleet Feet in Spokane. Staff there spent 45 minutes helping her choose the best shoe for her body and gait.

Angie is considering running some 5k road races this fall, with her major goal being a half-marathon next spring. In addition to running, she enjoys practicing yoga—which she credits with preventing knee problems, like she experienced in the past.

“I am proud of setting a good example for my two sons—they can see that it is never too late to start a fitness routine. I have so much more energy now. I love my morning routine, and feel out of sorts and sluggish if we miss a day,” she says.

“Beginning the day with exercise and good friends makes me a much happier mom, wife and employee. The endorphins from the run, combined with the community of my little ‘Run Club’ are the best way to begin each day.”

SHOES: ASICS Gel- Kayano 19 with Super Feet inserts. “They are super lightweight and the gel provides amazing shock absorption for my knees,” she says.

SOCKS: Balega Hidden Comfort (from Fleet Feet) or Nike Dri Fit. “I like thicker socks that allow for frictionless motion in the shoe.”

SHORTS: REI Fast Pass 2- in-1, which includes a small zippered pocket (for carrying her coffee money).

OTHER: Sprigs Phone Banjees Wrist Wallet, to hold a phone, ID and money for longer runs. //