I Got to Meet Dara Torres!

That’s two days in a row with exclamation points in the title. Pretty sure that breaks some unspoken blogger etiquette or something. I just couldn’t help myself!

I GOT TO MEET DARA TORRES!!!!!!!!

  • Five-time Olympian.
  • Twelve-time Olympic medalist.
  • The first female athlete to be featured on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
  • The oldest swimmer ever to earn a place on the U.S. Olympic team (Beijing).
  • Mother of one and 45-year old Olympic hopeful DARE TORRES!

I have to thank Jess for throwing the invitation out there, Crunch gym and Bengay for hosting me. I was absolutely thrilled to attend. After our workout, we were invited to stay for a Question and Answer and to take pictures with Dara. Thankfully, Jess brought a very fancy camera (I brought my dinky iPhone) and snapped a picture of us!

She’s gorgeous. She’s tall. She’s ripped. She’s wearing lululemon. I mean, what’s not to like? (Photo courtesy Jess Underhill and her fancy-schmancy camera)

Yes, she is that ripped. Yes, she is that beautiful. Yes, she’s very sweet and was totally candid with her answers. Yes, she’s gracious and took pictures with everyone. Yes, she’s wearing lululemon!!! And, yes, I want to be like her when I grow up 🙂

I hung around after the workout while she gave an interview and took some more photos for this post. Hope she didn’t mind the stalking.

If you’ve never met me, I am not a shrinking violet. I will stand up and ask questions when allowed and be the first in line to volunteer for demonstrations. Overeager? Probably. But I got my questions answered by the great Dara Torres, so there.

My first question was about her workout strategy and how it’s changed over the decades. Sorry my voice is so loud and hers is so soft, pump up that volume!

I love that she does functional training. I’m a big fan of it myself. I don’t remember what other people asked because I was trying so hard to remember my own questions. Here was the other one I snuck in before the close: Is this your last Olympics? And here is her response.

Again, sorry for my annoying voice in the middle of the videos. I was totally giggly the whole time. I love the honest of her answers. She talks about getting older and things not working the way they used to and being realistic with what she has left in the tank for yet another Olympic trials. You don’t get that much from athletes. I really appreciate her candor.

She’s such an inspiration to me, especially as I get older and try new things and find myself having to start over after illness. She has given me hope that, at any age, women can kick ass in sports. Through injury, through motherhood, through whatever life throws at us, if we work hard and are willing to put the effort into it, we can accomplish anything.

Yeah, it was pretty awesome meeting Dara Torres. Makes me wanna hit the gym! (Just kidding, Dr. Lee :))

Now go out and run!

Fired Up

I’m fired up.

Last summer I wrote a post about how I have struggled with my running clothes making too much of a “girly” statement. Oddly enough, I was asked to wear a running skirt during my lululemon Ambassador photo shoot (mind you, I could have said no). The very position in a company that I believe actively spotlights a variety of community athletes of all shapes and sizes and abilities is where I came face-to-face with the potential hypocrisy of wearing a skirt for a photo that is supposed to represent me as an athlete first, not a woman.

My Ambassador photo (@ the E. 66th St. lululemon store!)

I decided I could own my femininity and still be a kick-ass athlete in a skirt. So there.

This new documentary was brought to my attention by Janae over at Hungry Runner Girl (she really does eat more candy than anyone I’ve ever met), it’s called Miss Representation. Take a few minutes (appx. 9) and watch the trailer for it. Then come back and tell me you aren’t fired up, too.

Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Why is it that we don’t promote strong females? Why must they always be all sexed up damsels in distress and not the strong, fierce women who are actually doing the dirty work, too? The images are everywhere: TV, magazines, and those advertisements on the sides of buses.

She really wants you to respect her as an actress.

What are young women to think? Looks (impossibly perfect ones at that, thank you Photoshop) are the most important thing in the world. Your body, your hair, your makeup, your skin is top priority. Wax it, dye it, laser it, nip it, tuck it and starve yourself. Then get implants.

I was told that I could do and be anything I wanted to, I just had to put my mind to it. My parents made sure that my studies, my self esteem, and my dreams came first. They always told me I was beautiful (I protested, especially during my braces/glasses/acne/perm phase) but never put pressure on me to look a certain way or make sure I put make up on before I walk out the door.

Good health and physical fitness are important. I like to feel good about my appearance, possibly more than I should but whatever, and so I make sure that I look professional and presentable when I go to work or school. So, I am not saying that looks don’t matter because I am not that naive.

I do want to build up the self esteem of young women. I do want to teach my niece (and daughters, if I have them) that she can be strong AND beautiful AND smart AND successful. I do want women to start believing in themselves more and strive to be more a part of running this country and the businesses that make up Corporate America.

I will do it through physical fitness. I hope that the inspiration and strength they learn on the track and in the gym translates into their professional roles as adults. I hope, I hope.

How are you encouraging young women to dream big and fight back against gender discrimination? How can you START doing it? Start now!

Now go out and run!