FIND YOUR STRIDE:
"I found my stride when I stopped chasing everyone else's."
Kriste Peoples is all about the people. She’s the founder of Black Women’s Alliance (BWA) of Denver, she’s a writer, a producer, a speaker, a trail runner and coach. Just about everything she does focuses on empowering people to be people—to share stories and adventures, to make more noise and take up more space. She found her stride when she stopped following everybody else's, and she’s offering up some insight on how you can do the same.
Tell us about how you were able to find your stride:
I found my stride when I realized I was the only one who could. I stopped trying to match my experience to everyone else's and came to appreciate my own. When I'm out on the trails, I take in the beauty around me, and I revel in the gift of having a strong body that carries me up and down mountains. For me, it's about winning, but I define 'winning' by getting to the trailhead and letting the adventure unfold from there.
How do you incorporate it beyond running and into your everyday life?
In daily life, finding my stride means I trust that what I'm doing is enough. That beyond doing my personal best, I don't have anything to prove; I don't need to chase acceptance or social media likes, and I don't need to be anyone other than my perfectly imperfect self. Pulling out of the mental race to 'be relevant' or to 'be somebody' means I make myself available to embrace the people, relationships, and opportunities that truly sing to me. Finding my stride is the sister of knowing myself. It is a process of becoming more fully me, letting go of what no longer serves, creating new narratives of wellness, redefining what joy means, and pursuing it without apology.
How did you find your stride in trail running coaching, and what has it taught you?
When I first started coaching, I thought I'd have to race all the time and be like those human gazelles we see leaping and bounding up mountains without ceasing. I figured to be accepted, I'd have to be and do more, more, more. But I've come to accept that my style is plenty. Personally speaking, I'm big on joy and having a positive mindset. I remind runners that even when it gets tough, trail running can be fun and, in many ways, incredibly fulfilling. I work with lots of women who are new to the trails, and I understand their concerns and fear - especially when we show up at the base of a big climb. Finding my own stride has helped me appreciate that everyone else has theirs too. It's pretty simple, but appreciating this truth helps me support runners in ways that keep them engaged and, hopefully, coming back for more. I take great pride in being able to support women in feeling empowered, accomplished, and capable in the outdoors on their own terms. There's nothing like encouraging others through challenges and celebrating with them at the finish.
What advice would you give to other athletes to help them find their stride?
Explore the reasons why you run. Take note of what lights you up about it, and keep doing it. Do it for yourself, without an agenda beyond doing what you love, and run with that.
What’s your favorite shoe to help maintain it?
Don't tell my beloved Altra Superiors this, but the Lone Peaks are really trying to get my attention...