Honoring Dr. King’s Legacy

 

On this day honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I will take the time to read his speech from The March on Washington in 1963, often called the “I Have a Dream” speech.

As always, I am moved by the eloquence and power of his words. I am grateful for the efforts, sacrifices, and courageous acts — large and small — that have resulted in expanded civil rights for millions in our country. And I am reminded of the work that remains to be done — work that I and WE need to do — to help make Dr. King’s dream a reality.

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If you would like to read Dr. King’s speech from the March on Washington or any of his other works, you can find them online at The King Center.

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!”

 

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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.

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

 

Celia give Mom a post-marathon hug

What’s So Great about the Women’s World Cup?

 

My inspiration for Dragonwing girlgear was sparked on the sidelines of North Carolina soccer fields, and I still watch hundreds of girls’ soccer games each year. So you won’t be surprised to hear that I LOVE the Women’s World Cup. My reasons are personal — the level of play is amazing and the stories of the players never fail to move me. US women's national soccer team: We Believe!

But the most powerful aspect of the Women’s World Cup — the part that brings a lump to my throat — is the inspiration, hope, and role models that the players provide to millions of girls worldwide. Their commitment, perseverance, and love of the game says it all:  “DREAM BIG. WORK HARD. COMPETE FIERCELY. PLAY JOYFULLY. YOU CAN DO IT!”

In addition to all the amazing soccer play (how about England’s go-ahead goal versus Norway?!), there have been some perceptive and thought-provoking stories about the significance and value of the Women’s World Cup. Here are a few that I’ve particularly enjoyed:

“Why the Women’s World Cup Needs You to Watch,” by Peter Macia in Vogue magazine

The numbers of viewers, on TV and online, are vitally important, Macia argues, to sponsors, to players, to women’s sports in general, and to girls watching and playing around the world. (There’s that inspiration again!)

Watching the Women's Cup demonstrates that women's soccer and women's sports have value, writes Peter Macia in Vogue.

“What Women’s Sports Can Learn from the Colombian Women’s Team,” by Kate Fagan on ESPNW

Given the audiences in stadiums and watching the games on screens of all kinds, there are signs of legitimacy for international women’s soccer, writes Fagan. But “the final mile marker will be when everyday fans…feel comfortable offering criticism, second-guessing the coach and the choices, and putting the play itself under a microscope…. These are the conversations that fuel men’s sports.

Imagine being knowledgeable enough about women’s sports and knowing enough about a women’s team to think you know better than the coach or a player in the game’s closing minutes. Imagine knowing who else could have been the coach and which players the team might have signed.

Then imagine being confident enough to actually admit you’re into women’s sports.”

Lady Andrade, Colombia's goal

“8 Reasons We Love the Women’s World Cup,” by SoccerGrlProbs for ESPNW

World-class talent, worldwide impact, super fans and more.

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A New Year’s Toast to Girl Athletes

HighFive_SoccerAs we bid farewell to 2014 and welcome the New Year, we raise our glasses (and water bottles) in a toast to girl athletes everywhere:

For their unapologetic competitiveness, tenacity, and the joy they have for their sport;

For the energy they put in to early morning and evening practices and the times they decline invitations so they get the rest they need to stay healthy;

For homework done in cars and buses to and from games;

For the strikes thrown and lay-ups made; for p-kicks made and face-offs taken; for spikes and sprints;

For pushing themselves, lifting their teammates, and playing with integrity and honor.

At Dragonwing, we salute each and every one of you — for putting yourself out there and, win or lose, playing your hardest and best. You’re the reason we do what we do.