So a few people have told me to go into running stores and talk to the people who work there and see about group runs, etc.
Close to my house, there's a store dedicated to runners called "Stinky Feet." I was really excited to go in and talk to runners who know what they're talking about and see if they could give me some info on group runs, etc. It wasn't exactly a welcoming environment. In fact, I got the feeling they didn't understand why I would be in there.
I walked in and went to the desk, explained to a very nice redhead and a gorgeous brunette that I was just starting to run and I'd been told by a few people that I should check and see if they have any running groups. The brunette said "Yeah, we go 4.5 miles every Tuesday night - you'd have to train a lot to run with us" Gee, thanks, yo. How did she know I can't run 4.5 miles? Maybe I'm a ninja under all of this fat.
I admitted that 4.5 miles was a bit much for me to run right now and asked if either of them knew of more "beginner" types of running groups. Brunette said "We cater to more serious runners so not really..." thankfully the redhead spoke up and mentioned that she knows of a group than runs in Clinton (too far) but at least she was helpful.
I left that store feeling defeated and like I wasn't good enough to be a runner. And it's not like anyone took the time to ask me about my goals or anything - I was the only customer. I could have very easily bought a pair of shoes or some other equipment while I was there. But I didn't. I didn't feel like I was good enough to be in there.
This is the exact opposite from what I've experienced from runners online. The runners I've spoken to online are full of enthusiasm, encouragement and knowledge of running and what it takes to be a runner. I wish I had a running buddy in the area. I can't wait to take my business somewhere other than Stinky Feet and then walk my skinny butt in there one day and show them I AM a runner.