5 Running Tips for Non-Runners

Since my mother is such a powerful and voracious runner, I’m often asked “do you run?” The inquiry always puzzles me. Am I talented at running? No. Do I have what is traditionally considered a runner’s body type? Probably not.

Recently, though, I’ve been really inspired by body-positive campaigns that work to divorce physical activities from certain body types. For example, if you have a body and you’re wearing a swim suit, you’ve got a swim suit body! Likewise, if you have a body and you’re practicing yoga with it, that’s a yoga body. With those messages in mind, I’m challenging myself to answer “do you run?” with an enthusiastic “I try my best!”

 

dragonwing-girlgear-ambassador-celia-after-race-in-girls-sports-bra

Until high school, I was haunted by a memory of (barely) completing the mile during my first week of 6th grade PE class. (For anyone who was lucky enough not to be there, I threw up in the bathroom sink in front of half the girls in my grade after practically walking four dreadful laps on the track.)

With love and encouragement, I share 5 things that have helped me not only conquer my fears but also begin to enjoy running short distances:

  1. LISTEN TO GREAT MUSIC: Try songs with a beat similar to your pace (Spotify even has a really cool app that matches songs to your running rhythm.) Some of my favorites are classic wedding after-party songs like “September” and “Dancing in the Moonlight.”
  2. EMBRACE THE CONNECTION BETWEEN YOUR BREATH AND MOVEMENT: During Ashtanga yoga practice, yogis breathe with Ujjayi pranayama or “victorious breath,” a method which facilitates effortless body movement. I recommend experimenting with different breathing patterns until you find one that works for you! In contrast to #1: try running silently sometimes. There is nothing more grounding than hearing your own exhales.
  3. WALK WHEN YOU NEED TO: Challenge yourself, but listening to your body is important for your safety. Better to protect yourself for a future run than to over-exert!
  4. SET GOALS AND CELEBRATE ACCOMPLISHMENTS, EVEN LITTLE ONES: Whenever I’ve had to do something difficult in my life, from studying for the SAT to puffing through another mile, I’ve made a habit of promising myself a sushi dinner alone. Treat yourself.
  5. RUN FOR YOU: This last tip is a big one. Don’t compare yourself to your friend who is a UNC field hockey recruit, to your Super-Mom, or to famous athlete Shalane Flanagan. It’s great to set an intention for your work out or to dedicate a run to someone who needs it or to a great cause. Ultimately, though, the most rewarding thing about running is that, unlike most other sports, the only thing you need to run is you.

By putting one foot in front of the other and working up a sweat, you’re honoring your body and all the wonderful things it’s capable of doing, so run for yourself.

My Mother Never Ceases to Amaze Me

Let me begin by saying my mother is the coolest woman I know. She is a loyal friend, dedicated teacher, and incredible parent. One of the greatest loves of her life is running, but she wasn’t always the talented distance athlete she is now. Growing up, she was an actress, French enthusiast, and a cheerleader.

When my sister and I were young, she ventured to try a running group and quickly began checking off races of shorter distances. One day, she asked to join her friends on a long run, and her dreams took off from there.

She’s finished 26.2 miles through the vibrant city of Richmond, along the beaches of Wilmington, and even across the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in New York City. This year, she completed her third Boston Marathon with courage and grace — not to mention speed! She’s wearing a hat in the photo, but underneath she was wearing a Dragonwing Racer sports bra!

Celia's Mom and friend after finishing Boston Marathon 2015

I am so thankful my mom found an outlet for her powerful energy. I am also grateful she found a close circle of friends through her sport. With them, she’s completed 200-mile team relay events: the Blue Ridge Relay and Hood to Coast.

 

Blue Ridge 200 mile relay team

These women are all fantastic examples of strength, resilience, and bravery, and they support each other in running and in everything else.

Celia_RunBuddies

Next, my mama will lace up for the Berlin Marathon. The woman never ceases to amaze me.

 

Celia give Mom a post-marathon hug

Body Shaming Female Athletes Makes My Blood Boil

 

It’s been an amazing few weeks for women’s sports – from the Women’s World Cup to Wimbledon. I’ve found myself in awe of the athleticism, teary-eyed with exhilaration and pride, and delighted with so much of the media coverage.

Serena Williams, Wimbledon champion - photo by  Stefan Wermuth, Reuters

But an article on the day of the Wimbledon women’s finals got my blood boiling. Dan Rothenbeg, a writer for The New York Times, wrote about how top women’s tennis players “balance body image with ambition.” Here’s my letter to the editor:

To the Editor of The New York Times:

In focusing on body size and muscularity of the women playing at Wimbledon, Dan Rotherberg perpetuates the standard that female athletes need not only excel at their sport but also meet a societal standard for beauty while doing so. (“Tennis’s Top Women Balance Body Image with Ambition,” July 10) Would the Times run a story about NFL linebackers balancing their body image with their athletic ambitions?

By running the article, the Times gives credence to a double standard, one that female athletes of all ages battle regularly. Simply because some women athletes or coaches make training decisions based on body size does not make it newsworthy.

The US Women’s National Team’s World Cup victory inspired millions of girls worldwide. Like the women playing at Wimbledon, these athletes are role models for young girls. We owe it to young fans of every sport to highlight the discipline, commitment, hard work, and athleticism of female athletes and not the size of their forearms or thighs.

 

Regardless of whether my letter is published, I will continue to speak up for women and girl athletes, for their right to be taken seriously and to play fiercely. The focus on body image — some call it “body shaming” — is an unfair and unwanted burden on women and girls.

To female athletes of all ages: When a reporter (from your school paper to the New York Times) asks a question about your appearance, change the conversation. Turn the questions around to what is important — the high level of your play, the discipline and hard work you devote to your game, and the recognition you and your team have earned. Don’t be limited by reporters who are perpetuating a limiting and oppressive paradigm for women.

Join us and millions of others in a movement to empower girls and women by what they have accomplished and what they can achieve, not by how they look.

To sports girls everywhere: Be strong. Develop your body and mind to play your game to the best of your ability. Strive to be your best self. Have fun and be proud to PLAY LIKE A GIRL!

Hiking, Camping & Rock Climbing (oh my!)

The first week of July was the best of the summer yet!

My sister Savannah had a horse show last week. My family and I camped at the show in our camper for the whole week!

While we were there, we swam until our fingers turned into raisins. Later, we walked around the town and, of course, watched her show. After the show, we had one more day before we had to leave.

On that last day, we were daring (and maybe a bit crazy) and took a hike with nothing! It wasn’t a smart decision on our part but luckily it was only a half mile. My Dragonwing Half-Tee Sports Top was great under my tank top.

My Dragonwing Half-Tee Sports Top was great for my July hike in the mountains.

On 4th of July weekend, our family decided to go hiking again and be prepared. This time, it was a four-mile hike, and we ventured off into another trail once we finished the first one. That night, we watched fireworks and all had the best sleep ever.

Madi rock climbing

During our trip, I was away from rock climbing for a week, and I’m so glad to have started back up again. We started the week with hangboard and a big workout.

This is a great summer already! What have YOU been doing?

 

Falling in Love with our Keyhole Sports Bra

I had the great pleasure of meeting Julie and her daughter, Abigail, at a recent Dragonwing Trunk Show* in Bronxville, a short drive from New York City.

Like most girls, Abigail is very active. And like many young girls looking for a first bra, she was having difficulty finding a comfortable, age-appropriate, and well-fitting bra that would provide the coverage she needed. I recommended she try our Keyhole sports bra.

She and her Mom are delighted! Julie wrote a review on our website and placed an order for two more Keyholes.

 

Review of Keyhole sports bra for girls: My daughter was struggling to find a perfect first bra... and fell in love with the Keyhole sports bra. She was so thrilled with the fit as the coverage was snug, but not too tight. As well, the back styling made it contemporary.

 

 

With narrow straps for added arm movement and double-layered coverage, the Keyhole Sports Bra is the perfect athletic bra for girls who prefer slimmer straps and a slightly lower neck.

• Sweat-wicking fabric keeps girls comfortable and cool.
• Four-way stretch fabric provides coverage, and support and won’t ride up.
• Tag free means no irritation or chafing.
• Made in the USA.

Available Colors: Black/Bright Pink, White/Teal

* If you’d like to host a Dragonwing Trunk Show and earn free girlgear, contact me.