Dirt In The Skirt

I had the most amazing time at my photo shoot for my lululemon Athletica Ambassador poster yesterday in Central Park. Bow Bridge and The Resevoir are two of my favorite places in the park and they looked truly beautiful in the photos I was able to glimpse between shots. I ♥ NY.

What I am still learning to “♥” are the running skirts. Yes, I wore two different tops for my shoot, but only one bottom: a skirt. Me. I’m sure you’ve seen versions of them on the ladies in your running community and every company is taking advantage of this trend, my dear lululemon in the fashion lead. It’s harder for me, though, to just throw on a skirt and go for a run without second-guessing my choice.

First of all, I have no objection to anyone else wearing them. That’s not what this is about. You like ’em? Wear ’em! Rock it out. But for me, it’s more than just a cute new addition to my gear or a fun new look to sport at a special race. Because they are totally cute! And most are a very decent length, longer than some of the booty shorts I’ve seen on people who clearly have no friends because no one told them those shorts are just WAY. TOO. SHORT. It’s not any of that.

You see, when I was five and wanted to play baseball, there wasn’t a team for girls in our town. I don’t know if the Obi-wans had to do much negotiation, but they somehow got me on a team of all boys. For two years, I “played ball like a girl” with the boys and learned the finer points of the infield fly rule and other baseball conundrums. I learned very young that “there’s no crying in baseball.” And there wasn’t (until I took a line drive to my gut).

I was switched to the girls softball league as soon as I was old enough. Not because of the line drive. I still got plenty of those to various body parts and one foul tip to a mouth full of braces. I don’t remember feeling too bad about the move, but I also don’t think they would’ve let me continue in the boys baseball league with my being age-eligible for the girls softball league.

I always wanted to play with the boys. Most of the girls I knew didn’t do many sports aside from swimming or volleyball, both of which I liked to do but never did competitively. On the junior high cross-country team, I was the number 1 female runner. This meant that my training partners were the boys who were faster than me, not the girls. Our races started 2 minutes after the boy’s race and I always managed to catch the back of the pack of the boy’s race as I motored toward the finish.

I spent a lot of my youth wanting to be treated like any other member of the team. To be challenged to my limits, too. To have coach believe in me, too. To be recognized for my accomplishments as an athlete, not as a girl. And I wasn’t even a stellar athlete, just a girl who wanted to play ball and run and also be a cheerleader. So what?

So, now I’m living my dream in NYC, working towards my PhD in physical therapy and being honored by my favorite company as one of their elite Ambassadors and I’m taking my official photo in a running skirt. A skirt that immediately identifies me as a girl first and an athlete second. (If you’re mad at me, keep reading. It’s not the end…calm down) I always wanted to be an athlete. Period. Not “good for a GIRL”. Good. Period.

I run like a girl. Try to keep up.

You know what? I don’t really give a crap. I am an athlete because I say so. AND I’m a girl. A woman. A daughter. A wife. A niece. A granddaughter. So what? I believe that being all of what I am makes me a better athlete, a better person. And if I am who I am, doing what I do, doing it in a skirt doesn’t make me any less than all of that in a pair of shorts. I will wear a skirt if it suits my fancy.

So there.

And for someone who “plays ball like a girl” and “runs like a girl”, I place pretty damn well in my age group against the boys, too. 24th in my age group at the Battle of Brooklyn 10 miler. Maybe one day I’ll even do it in a skirt. I’m feeling pretty empowered by my photo shoot experience. Look out world!

What are your thoughts on the running skirts? Love ’em? Hate ’em? Like looking at ’em? Tell me all about it!

Then go out and run!!!