Kara’s Big Moves

Last week, the most famous woman in U.S. distance running made big moves in the professional running world. Kara Goucher, long-time NIKE sponsored-runner and Alberto Salazar pupil, signed an endorsement contract with Oiselle.

Who?

Pronounced "Wa-zel". (Image courtesy of Oiselle)

Pronounced “Wa-zel”.
(Image courtesy of Oiselle)

Oiselle is an Oregon-based female running apparel company started by CEO Sally Bergesen. Their mission is simple and straightforward: help empower female runners of all abilities, encourage healthy habits (the female running world is littered with disordered eating), run hard, run clean, and be a superfan of the brand and each other.

Running far, running fast. Wings out!

Running far, running fast. Wings out!

They sponsor several professional female runners on their Haute Volée team (Lauren Fleshman and Kate Grace being just two of my favorites!), a team of up-and-coming runners called Little Wing, and dozens of everyday Ambassadors across the country.

Just a few of the Oiselle Ambassadors in my world :)

Just a few of the Oiselle Ambassadors in my world 🙂

But why does it matter so much that Kara Goucher has moved on from NIKE to Oiselle? Well, this headline should say it all:

"Upstart" made me laugh. (Image shamelessly stolen from Sally Bergesen's Twitter feed)

“Upstart” made me laugh.
(Image shamelessly stolen from Sally Bergesen’s Twitter feed.
Original from WSJ)

Kara (I just made us on a first name basis–hope you don’t mind, Kara!) wrote about her departure on her blog, was interviewed for Competitor and Runner Space (two parts), and Sally (again, first name basis…oops?) told the story from point of view as well.

She is arguably the most famous female runner in the country. She’s beautiful, gracious, and has a bright career still ahead of her and definitely had her pick of incredibly lucrative, world-famous running shoe/apparel companies kicking her door down to throw tons of money just to get the chance to sponsor her.

She chose Oiselle.

oiselle-signing-kara

Inking the deal.
(Image stolen from Sally at Oiselle.com–sorry, wasn’t there to get my own shots!)

In short, Kara moved back to Boulder (holla, CO!) to train with her college coaches and wanted to get with a team and a sponsor that aligned with how she sees her future as a runner and entrepreneur, as well as a place where she feels at home.

I love this.

Some more Oiselle ladies killin it.

Some more Oiselle ladies killin it.

I love that she took a HUGE pay cut to be with a team she identifies with personally and professionally. I love that she joined a company that actively empowers female runners and business owners alike. I love that she chose to be a part of something she believes in, not just the highest bidder.

Running is still a very male-dominated industry. Male coaches, male superstars, predominantly male-based merchandise. It’s only been in recent years that shoe and apparel companies have stopped jimmy-rigging men’s clothes and shoes to fit women.

I mean, helllllllooooo! Who does more shopping?

Oiselle friends in NYC. Such a great group of women!

Oiselle friends in NYC. Such a great group of women!

And Oiselle is the perfect example of where the future of women’s running is headed. Empowering each other. Cheering each other on. Sharing each other’s awesome ideas (Picky Bars, anyone?). Encouraging each other to go for all of our dreams–family AND a career. Breaking down barriers for women across the board.

I mean, they had a fashion show during Fashion Week in New York City last year, starring their athletes. And then Lauren (can I call you Lauren?) went on her blog to show the world what she really looks like OFF the runway, post-baby.

Now that’s integrity for you. Hero status.

And Kara joining the team throws a huge spotlight on company, yes, but even more so toward the mission statement behind the brand. 

(Courtesy of Oiselle)

(Courtesy of Oiselle)

I, for one, am thrilled to see big moves from a big player and hope that more athletes will follow in her (& Nick Symmonds!) footsteps in taking an active role in shaping the future of our sport for the better, not just for the richer.

I am thoroughly impressed with the fearlessness and integrity with which Kara and Oiselle are leading the pack in female running and business. I hope to do the same in my own career as a runner and a physical therapist.

Thanks for the inspiration, ladies.

Now go out and run.

Form = Everything

If you know me at all, or have been reading this blog for a little while, you know I’m obsessed with form. OBSESSED. I can’t help it. It was burned into my brain from a very young age to be militant about my form when I exercise.

Awesome form on the monkey bars. Clearly, I was meant to be a gymnast. *snort*

Awesome form on the monkey bars. Clearly, I was meant to be a gymnast. *snort*

But my form was never, ever, ever very good when I ran. Like, ever. I slouched and hung my head back for the longest time. Not sure how coaches let me run with crappy form (probably cuz I wasn’t exactly a promising athlete…), but there we are.

And it was ugly. And not helpful.

You know what changed that? Moving to New York and seeing the pros run.

Keflezighi_MebM-NYC09.JPG-280x421

Meb is one of those runners that just looks strong when he runs.
(Image courtesy of running.competitor.com)

Here in NYC, we see the pros and semi-pros training in Central Park pretty regularly. I’ve shouted out to Meb, Desi, and Kara (all very graciously acknowledged my embarrassing fan-girling) and marveled at how effortless they looked.

Kara Goucher, Shalane Flanagan, Amy Hastings, Desiree Davila

No one in this group is slouching, so I shouldn’t either.
(Image courtesy of http://www.brushnewstribune.com/ci_19742283)

Ok, so Kara kinda hangs her head back. Clearly, we are kindred spirits. But other than that, these athletes work hard on their form, knowing that in order to engage the strongest muscles in the best way, they must too be militant about their form.

So how did looking at pictures of other runners and watching the pros pass me like I was standing still help my form?

Confession: I envision myself running like them when I’m out for a run. Boobs up, belly in, legs long, arms pumping.

look-like-when-im-runningI may look more like the latter picture vs. the former, but my form has actually improved by leaps and bounds.

So tall at the end of the half! This was NOT me a decade ago...and even sometimes now.

So tall at the end of the half! This was NOT me a decade ago…and even sometimes now.

Yes, I strength train. Yes, I pay attention to my posture on the treadmill. But most of all, I picture myself running like Meb and Kara and Shalane. I’m not always successful…

Thumbs up at mile 20...but looking a little slouchy.

Thumbs up at mile 20…but looking a little slouchy.

Anyway, sometimes it’s not about strengthening and obsessing. Sometimes it’s about just standing up straight. And sometimes it’s about finding out just what the heck your form looks like, which is why you get an evaluation at Finish Line Physical Therapy.

And the winners of Peak Performance Analysis are…

Who wants to be a winner?

Who wants to be a winner?

EVERYONE!

Seriously. EVERY SINGLE PERSON who commented on the post will receive an email from me today so I can get your addresses and send you the cards so you can visit the fine people at Finish Line.

Thank you to the fine folks at Finish Line for your generosity!

Now go out and run (tall).

Workout Wednesdays: Before the Workout

Workout Wednesdays usually feature a fabulous running workout for you to try on for size. But this week, I’d like to put the spotlight on what happens BEFORE the workout.

Preparation is key.

Preparation is key.
(Image courtesy of Steve Moore & gocomics.com)

So what’s the big deal with a warm-up? Well, it’s actually fairly straightforward, even if people want to ignore/argue with me about it.

In the very simplest terms, a warm-up has less to do with 3 things:

  1. Accessing energy
  2. Getting blood to the muscles
  3. Increasing the amount of oxygen in your body

At rest, your body’s main job is to keep your vital organs going. Yeah, blood and stuff goes to your muscles, but not nearly the amount needed to jump up and run a marathon at a moment’s notice.

Your heart, your lungs, your muscles, and your energy systems are basically asleep.

clipart heart 4

So what happens if you don’t warm up? Basically, you run out of gas cuz you opened the tank too wide in the beginning. No gas = muscles fail = THE WALL. Your body goes into high gear way to fast, uses way too much energy to get you going, and you bonk.

–Runner’s Bonk verb \ˈbäŋk, ˈbȯŋk\ To hit a wall; a sudden fatigue or loss of energy.

I love this movie. (Image courtesy of Entertainment Cinema, New Line Films, & Warner Bros.)

I love this movie.
(Image courtesy of Entertainment Cinema, New Line Films, & Warner Bros.)

In order to access all your energy stores, and to keep accessing them throughout the longer miles, you MUST warm up. Go easy for at least 10 minutes, if not 2 full miles. After your warm-up you can do your dynamic drills and strides and what-not, but you NEED to be warm to get the most out of your drills.

A solid warm-up also allows your lungs to catch up and increase the amount of oxygen in your blood and your muscles get enough fuel and oxygen to function at a higher capacity.

Without a warm-up, your body will be playing catch up for your entire workout. That doesn’t put you in a position to do your best work, obviously. For a marathon, the first 2 miles can serve as your warm-up, unless you’re an elite or sub-elite runner. In that case, your warm-up happens before the race.

Kara warms up. She's kind of a big deal. (Image courtesy of Raymond Britt & runtri.com)

Kara warms up. She’s kind of a big deal. (Image courtesy of Raymond Britt & runtri.com)

Don’t believe me? Stand at the start line of a marathon and watch the elites go out for some strides. They’re already sweating by the time they get to the line. They warm up.

Take this pledge with me:

“I (state/write your name) do solemnly swear to warm-up before every run, no matter the distance.”

Now go out and run!

Friday Fitness Links:

You guys, OMG, Happy Friday!

Play it again, Schroeder. (Image courtesy of Peanuts.com)

Play it again, Schroeder.
(Image courtesy of Peanuts.com)

Friday is my favorite day AND I’m off to work out with my friend. Hip-hip HOORAY! for Friday. Now here’s what’s going on around the fitness world:

  • Good on them: New York Sports Club, Boston Sports Club, Washington Sports Club, and Philadelphia Sports Club gyms will be opening their doors for free whenever the temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Speaking of deals, did you hear Revolve Fitness has summer rates? Woohoo! They also have a Spotify account where you can stalk them for new workout tunes.
I am ALWAYS in need of new tunes & affordable classes.

I am ALWAYS in need of new tunes & affordable classes.

 

Me and my friend Jon. I just love volunteering with these athletes!

Me and my friend Jon from Achilles. I just love volunteering with these athletes!

Wings out, y'all. (Image courtesy of Oiselle.com)

Wings out, y’all.
(Image courtesy of Oiselle.com)

Kara's fast, yo. (Image courtesy of EricaSara.com)

Kara’s fast, yo. (Image courtesy of EricaSara.com)

Good news for my slightly underpronating, mostly neutral feet.

Good news for my slightly underpronating, mostly neutral feet.

Did I miss anything? Who did the A to Z survey and didn’t tell me? Who’s racing this weekend? New Yorkers: the Boomer 10K is now a fun run 4-miler, FYI. Anyone else have a race this weekend? Stay safe out there, runners!

Now go out and run.

Friday Fitness News: Sleepy, Happy, Sneezy

Happy, happy, happy Friday! I am experiencing an unusual amount of sleepiness this fine morning, so if I spell things wrong and links don’t work…blame my J-pouch for waking me up an hour before I needed to be up today.

Fail, J-pouch. Fail.

Ugh. I hate when my alarm goes off after I've been up for an hour. Reminds me of all the cozy, snuggly sleep I missed.

Ugh. I hate when my alarm goes off after I’ve been up for an hour. Reminds me of all the cozy, snuggly sleep I missed. Garfield knows what I’m talking about.

I am happy to report that I am 1/4 of the way towards meeting my goal for Team Challenge! Don’t forget to sign up for the Kick Ass 5K and a chance to win a trip for you and 9 friends to Acapulco, Mexico. Seriously.

I am less thrilled about allergy season descending upon us. Yuck. Then again, allergy season also coincides with it being birthday season sooooooooo…I’m not that mad.

But that’s not the news this week. This is:

 

Love the MCM & I never have trouble registering on Team Fisher House.

Love the MCM & I never have trouble registering on Team Fisher House.

 

Obviously, Birdie & I are the same as Kara & Shalane. Duh.

Obviously, Birdie & I are the same as Kara & Shalane. Duh. (Image courtesy of Examiner.com)

What did I miss? Is there a workout I need to try in NYC? One you’re rocking in your hometown this weekend? Who’s racing this weekend? Don’t forget to tell me so I can cheer you on!

Now go out and run.