When I got the email about being accepted as a Skirt Sports Ambassador, my first thought was “Omgomgomgomgomgomgomg, SKIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRTS!!!!” followed closely by, “I wish I could tell UltraIronHubs about this!” (It was 3 o’clock in the morning, not the nicest time to wake up your husband, even if you have really good and exciting news.) And then a third thought hit me, “Oh, shit, I’m going to have to stop saying ‘fuck’ on the blog.”
Because that’s everybody’s reaction, right?
If you’ve been reading my blog for more than two minutes, you are probably aware of the fact that I drop my share of F-bombs around here. It’s a thing. I don’t do it to be offensive or mean, it’s just a really expressive word for me, and probably one of the most-used words in my exclamatory vocabulary – exceeded only by the word “dude,” which has so many facets and layers of meanings it’s unreal.
So, there was a moment of hesitation for me, where I was thinking about what it would feel like to censor myself because of, well, let’s say “society’s” expectations of how I should behave. I mean, I know good and well that there’s a time and a place for swearing, and when I’m in public or around other people’s children I mostly keep it to myself. Mostly. And even though this blog is about as public as you can get – hellooooooo Internet! – I’ve always thought of it as being my own personal space, and therefore only subject to house rules. Would that mean that I needed to be different (read: cleaner and maybe a little more “Pinterest perfect”) as an ambassador for a big sportswear company?? I drank my coffee, I went to work and put on a kick-ass boot camp, I went for a fabulous run, and when I was in the shower afterward, it suddenly hit me, “OMG, Kathrine Switzer!”
|I know you’ve seen these iconic photos of her, nearly being shut down at Mile Two of the Boston Marathon, on her way to becoming the first registered woman to complete that race.
Kathrine Switzer is the reason that you and I can stand at the starting line of a marathon and be thinking, “Gee, I hope I don’t crap my pants today,” instead of, “Gee, I hope nobody notices I’m a girl.” In reading an interview with her (which I highly recommend you read in its entirety for yourself here), I think what struck me most was her account of that day and how she wasn’t really setting out to break barriers or change the world – she was just a kid who wanted to run a marathon. And yet, because of the way she was treated, she finished the race with a different vision of her future, one that included making the world of athletics better for all women. Can you imagine having that kind of gumption at 20 years old?
Nowadays, Kathrine is still running (she has 39 marathons under her belt and one win at the NYC Marathon!), and is still making changes around the world for women who run. She is at the head of the 261 Fearless movement, which organizes women’s running events and spreads the message of being fearless in the face of adversity, and she has teamed up with Skirt Sports for their 261 Fearless line of running wear (check it out here – good stuff!).
So I was shampooing my hair and thinking about Kathrine Switzer, and I thought, “What if she had censored herself? What if she let somebody else’s ideas about how she ‘should’ behave dictate her actions?” And then I thought about how Nicole DeBoom (the ridiculously badass owner of Skirt Sports) teamed up with Kathrine Switzer for the express purpose of empowering women to be their own badass selves and look good doing it. I think if you run a company who “embraces the real lives of women with honesty, humor and empathy” that you probably already know that life is gonna throw some f-bombs your way.
I finished my shower – having veered off of these deep thoughts and into a nutty imaginary conversation with Kathrine and Nicole (because we’re apparently on a first-name basis now), where we were all high-fiving and I thanked them for being fucking fearless – and felt really good about being asked to be a Skirt Sports Ambassador.
I’m certainly not making strides for women in sports on the world stage, but here in my corner of the world, I absolutely feel like I support and encourage women to live a kickass life by moving their bodies and pursuing athletic goals. I know that running changed my life and I love to help other women feel that source of pride and confidence, too. In my work as a running coach (and as a bootcamp babe and YouTube fitness star – I wear a lot of hats), it is my favorite thing in the world to witness and hear the stories of women who are learning to push themselves past their limits.
What do you do that makes you feel fearless??
Wanna celebrate Kathrine Switzer’s fearless accomplishment and challenge your own limits? Join the Fearless 261 Virtual Race on April 18th! Check it out here.