If you walk past Renee Metivier around town, you might not look twice. She's a petite woman with blonde hair, usually in pigtails. The look doesn't necessarily scream "badass," but if you talk to her for a couple minutes you'll quickly learn that Metivier is a lady boss who is apologetically up front about her accomplishments.
Metivier is the co-owner of Recharge, a Bend gym that focuses on every part of training, from coaching to strength training to recovery. The recovery part is especially convenient for Metivier, since she's also a pro runner—one who has dealt with a whole host of ailments and is recovering from a broken leg.
An unfortunate slip on the ice during a bad winter isn't the only injury Metivier has had. "I've had a lot of injuries and I used to take that as a part of life, but I realized it doesn't have to be that way," Metivier said.
In 2011 Metivier was struggling with an achilles tendon injury, and after months of fighting it and running below her full potential, she decided her options were either to stop running competitively or do something extreme.
She decided to go the extreme route, and went to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Sweden for surgery. From there she worked with a whole host of doctors, physiotherapists and trainers.
"There is just so much positive energy there—it was like, 'What can we do to make you even better?'," Metivier explained. "That was where my homeostasis really happened." Less than two years after her surgery, and after people told her maybe she just wasn't built to run, she ran the Chicago Marathon, where she placed eighth with a time that is in the top 10 female debut times in U.S. history.
Her all encompassing recovery is what inspired her to open Recharge. "I wanted to build a place based on research, not gimmicks, and I wanted it to have the best therapies but also be affordable," Metivier says.
Running a business, even one that she loves and one that complements her training, still can take a toll. "I work at a recovery center but I still need to take care of myself," she said. "What am I really good at—where should I be? And where can I let go of other things and build up a team around me?"
Metivier is a self-described type-A personality who used to be driven to the point of self destruction—something many athletes can identify with. Dealing with several long term injuries has helped her turn that drive into something that will ultimately benefit herself and make herself better, instead of hobbling her.
When she had her bone reconstruction she insisted on not using anesthesia because it can hinder healing, so she had a nerve block in her leg and was awake and talking during the entire surgery. She sequestered herself and slept as much as she could for the five days following her surgery and then she was back on her feet and trying to find ways to continue her training without hindering healing. Metivier has learned that if you don't look out for yourself, you can't help yourself improve, nor can you help out the people around you.
"I need to take care of myself now, because I want to be on the starting line when I'm 80," Metivier said. "I've had to pick myself up and start over from scratch many times." In the athletic world there's a lot of focus on 'strong and sexy' or 'pushing through the pain,' but not a lot of emphasis on recovery, Metivier observes. Ultimately though, if you don't give yourself time to recover improvement will be harder or even impossible.
"Even though it doesn't seem bad ass, you can do way more bad ass things if you can take care of yourself," Metivier emphasized. Besides being a successful runner and business owner, Metivier wants to inspire people. There were many people in her life who told her maybe running wasn't her thing, or that being a pro runner isn't a full time job, and she wants to destroy those and other preconceived notions that might be holding people back.
"People telling someone else 'no' is what I want to fight," she said. "And I'm one of those unstoppable forces when I have a vision!"