This post was inspired in part by the NY Times article “For Pregnant Marathoners, Two Endurance Tests” and the photo (below) from Elise’s recent super bad-ass, wetsuit-free triathlon — in her third trimester. Rock on, ALL you fit mamas out there!
It is no secret that I am a fan of women’s running brand Oiselle. It’s not just that I have a work relationship with them, that their clothes fit well on built-like-a-ruler me: I am a fan both in terms of what their brand message is and in terms of who they support as athletes. Oiselle put real athletes in their athletic clothes on the runway at NYFW in 2013 and changed the game for the whole industry, as noted in 2014. This year hammer thrower Britney Henry, absolute powerhouse athlete, hit the runway and I can guarantee NYFW had never seen the likes of that sort of POWER before.
Oiselle’s elite team includes:
– Lauren Fleshman, now perhaps best known on the viral internet for her “keeping it real” Runner’s World campaign, refused to dope in order to achieve her Olympics dreams. Her “super advanced” son was only months old when she hit the runway in 2013.
– Kara Goucher, who left track and field giant Nike and was able to sign with Oiselle and Skechers for sponsorship, something basically unheard of in the world of sports sponsorship. She’s preparing to crush NYCM this weekend with her 4 year old son Colt at the finish.
– Stephanie Bruce (Rothstein) is a coach, a celiac (which has not stopped her, despite what so many people may believe,) co-creator of Picky Bars, newly signed Oiselle elite flock member and new mom.
It’s not even just the professionals on their elite squad that I find inspiring: Sarah “Mac” Robinson is also a new mom. Dr. Lesko is a family doctor, a masters speedster. Sally Bergesen, owner and founder.
So you’re probably wondering: why am I talking about these women?
All of these women have something I dream of: they all have a career and a family, and they sacrificed neither for the other.
As I come to a point in my life when it’s time to start thinking about making these dreams and wants real, it is incredibly powerful to have real life role models who have literally bared it all and shown me, and the rest of the world, what our fit, happy, active futures could be like. They live it, breathe it and embrace the ups and downs with honesty. This is something incredibly powerful that I cannot say existed in my youth, and thus I am thankful for how social media has helped bring these women to a more visible forefront. These everyday heroes are THE most powerful role models there are.
Without further adieu, here are a few of my personal favorite fit mama heroes!
Sarah of RunFarGirl: Mother runner, fundraiser for an incredible cause very close to her heart and someone I feel very lucky to have found. I first ‘met’ Sarah when I was in the beginning throes of recovery from eating disorder. After struggling for years alone, then finally starting to become open about my fight as I struggled to grasp health again, I cannot explain how reassuring it was to read the words of someone who beat eating disorder, and went on to have a family. For anyone who has not struggled with eating disorder, this may not sound like a big feat, but knowing that a powerful machine like the human body can recover, birth forth new beautiful life, and not be re-consumed by the throes of disorder is incredible. At times this was the handhold I needed when I felt like I was slipping, so I thank you Sarah for being so open and honest with your journey.
Jen, aka Pink Cupcake Girl: Running with Jen means you’re running with the cool kids, and that means you always win. Always! When I see pictures of Jen running races with her boys, especially when she notes how long runs with her older, teenage sons are the time and place where the best talks happen, it truly makes me excited. What mother wouldn’t love to both share an activity they both enjoy and quality time and talks with her kids? It’s wonderful to see that she has truly lead by example. She’s put her family on a path of lifelong balance that includes a good injection of health and fitness, with a focus on finding the fun and joy in it — because that’s how you truly win, right Jen? Friendly as they come (and in my experience not one to say no to a picture together!,) definitely say hello to her smiling, sparkly self if you ever see her on the course.
Emily of RunEMZ: It’s hard to find a place to start when it comes to RunEMZ… do you start with the fact she’s a badass ultra runner, or a dedicated treadmill runner? Or the fact that she is super encouraging and supportive of folks at every level? Or maybe the fact that she calls her husband Pita (which is an acronym of love, if you know what I mean)? Her new baby is barely months old and she’s already logging double digit runs again. I’m not saying I think I could do that, but she makes me believe that I can do anything one step at a time. I’d say the woman is a machine, but her having ‘all the feels’ sometimes reassures me she’s at least some sort of new form of new sapien, if not ‘simply’ an extraordinary human. Every time 444 showed up anywhere on my GPS during my first marathon, I thought of her encouraging words. Her ‘little fighter’ is a reminder that sometimes the most amazing things happen when we are not seeking them.
Elise of the Cupcake Activist: To be completely and blatantly honest, I remember the first time I read the blogs of all the Sparkle Athletic gals and thought, “Wow. This is so neat! This is a fun business, but they also have other careers – and families! I’d want to be friends with them. They seem cool.” (What can I say? The fangirl is strong in me.) What I was especially blown away by was the fact that they were all were so incredibly friendly and sweet in person when we met, and they all knew me via social – who pays that much attention to little ol’ me? Via teh Interwebz I’ve kept in touch and whether it’s banh mi talk (very important in recent weeks) or run talk, Elise is all over it. Elise has not only saved my butt and helped snag a race bib for me, but has encouraged me, reassured me as I start thinking “future mom maybe” thoughts and now, as she continues to tackle triathlons while pregnant with her second, is a supreme specimen in the category of “be a role model.” While some may say I could have chosen a different photo, I think this says it all: she’s fit, she’s on the move and that ain’t no burrito baby in there!
Do you have an everyday hero? Who do you look up to, and why?