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

Review: Athletic Gear for Tweens

Tami M., aka The Colorado Mountain Mom, recently shared her excitement at discovering Dragonwing girlgear. After her tween daughter  wore  our  Chill Weight capri leggings and Un-Tee Sports Cami for gymnastics and running for a whole month, Tami announced, “We love Dragonwing girlgear!”

“Making active wear clothing for tween girls to feel comfortable and special is such a great concept.  If you’re encouraging your daughter to learn to live an active lifestyle, it helps to inspire them by providing not only the opportunities, but the gear they can use to feel confident and strong.”

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What was the Dragonwing Difference for Tami and her pre-teen daughter?

– “Much nicer quality than the cheap athletic capris for kids, typically found at retailers.”

– “Softer, more durable, longer lasting, better fitting, and much more comfortable!”

Dragonwing girlgear capri leggings are tween daughter's favorites.

– “They quickly became her absolute favorite pair. She says they feel noticeably different, better, than all her other capris.”

– The Un-Tee Sports Camisole is “soft, comfortable, and again… much nicer quality than the cheap options sold in most stores like Target or Walmart. Plus it comes in a rainbow of fun colors!”

Soft, comfortable, supportive camisole tank top for active tween, teen

 

As a mom, I love that with one Dragonwing Girlgear “outfit”, she has the needed active wear gear for two different sports, both running and even gymnastics. These versatile pieces could really be worn for any tween girls’ athletic endeavor.

Read Tami’s full review at her terrific blog, The Colorado Mountain Mom.

 

Inspiration & Fun with Girls on the Run

Smiles, cheers, hugs for active girls, young, tween & teenIf it were possible to capture the positive energy, strength, and inspiration at the Girls on the Run 5K last weekend, we could fuel the world forever!

The 5K was the culminating event of the year for more than 800 girls who’ve participated in Girls on the Run this year. Nearly 2,500 runners participated — girls, volunteer coaches, family members of all ages, and runners from the greater Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill community.

Dragonwing was proud to be one of the event sponsors. As I’ve said before, we love to partner with other girl-centered organizations and businesses. And GOTR, which shares our mission of empowering girls through sports and an active lifestyle, is a natural partner.

Dragonwing athletic wear clothing for active girls at Girls on the Run 5KAt the post-race Family Festival, we met dozens of girls of all ages — young, tween, and teen — who stopped by our table to check out our sports apparel designed just for active girls. Our  sports bras and  camisole tank tops were very popular, especially now that warmer weather has arrived. And our colorful  braided headbands were practically flying off the table!

 

 

A Fish Out of Water

Now that September has started, Anna is back in the pool four or five days a week. In the sometimes strange world of year-round swimming, most swimmers take August off to give their bodies a much needed rest. It seems odd to me that the one month kids want to swim, year-round swimmers…don’t. They can ride bikes, go for a run, lounge by a pool, play in the ocean. But swimming laps–don’t even THINK about it.

So Anna channeled her inner runner and went several times a week for runs in our neighborhood. And my girl was a fish out of water because running is NOT her sport. She wore a tween sports bra from Dragonwing which definitely helped. The Keyhole seamless sports bra, made of moisture-wicking fabric,  was soft and comfy in the August heat and fit really well across her broad shoulders. The Dragonwing sports bra made her runs more comfortable, so I am really happy we found it.

Now Anna (my fish) is back in the water as I write on this rainy evening. The heat of August will soon be a distant memory as we  settle into the routine of school, swim, and sleep. I am grateful for the structure it imposes on our life but a small part of me misses our less-regimented August lives. Late dinners on the porch, s’mores with friends and some time to catch our breath before school and swim start again. Now we’re back in the daily routine and my fish is back in the water. All is right with the world.

Mom, I Love Cross-Country

“Mom, I LOVE cross-country.” Ok. Wow.

I’m going to take a little detour here because I know Dragonwing sells sports gear for tween and teen girls, but today I’m going to write about my 7th grade son. D is an avowed “nerd.” He swam in the past because I made him and he could see his friends, but it wasn’t something he embraced. Most of his summer activity was whatever was going on at summer camp, summer swim, and watching Netflix.

He joined the (no-cut) middle school cross country team this past week. I want to note that the North Carolina weather has been high 90s with high humidity all week. On the second or third day of practice, he hopped into the car after practice dripping sweat with a bright red face. I braced myself for the complaint. “Mom, I LOVE cross-country.”

Pause. Deep breath. Inside, I was jumping up and down. “What do you like about it?” “I don’t know, it’s fun. We ran through the woods today and picked apples. The trails are fun and it was shady.”

I’m delighted. Beyond happy. Because everything we know about why sports are good for girls also applies to boys, especially the slightly nerdy, not your-typical-jock boy. Over the course of the cross-country season, D is going to benefit from teamwork, hard work, camaraderie, seeing his own times (hopefully) improve, and understand that running, as with almost any sport, can be a lifetime pursuit. And the beauty of running is its simplicity. As humans, we were designed to move and to run. It’s in our DNA.

I’m glad D is literally following in my footsteps. But even more importantly, I’m hoping he has found his “sport.” His go-to activity when he’s having a bad day or needs to work off some excess stress. The “runner’s high” is real. A long time ago, I wrote that no matter how bad a day was, as long as I completed my run, it was a good enough day.

For D, I’m hoping this cross-country season is the season where he discovers the joy of sports.