I run like a girl

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Amica

I run like a girl.

 

I’ve always run like a girl.

 

When I was six years old learning to play soccer I ran like a girl.

 

When I played basketball in high school I played like a girl.

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When I was in college and practiced keeper with the men’s team, I defended the goal like a girl.

 

When I surf and charge head high waves, I surf like a girl.

 

Every marathon, half marathon, 10k, and 5k I’ve competed in, I’ve run like a girl.

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Everything I do, I do like a girl.

 

To me it’s never been a bad thing, I run like a girl because I am a girl.

 

I am proud to be a girl.

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I refuse to run like a boy, throw like a boy, surf like a boy, or do anything like a boy. In the same way I don’t think someone should try to do something like a girl.

 

Just be who you are, and if you are a girl, go out and run like one!

Princess Marathon 2012 2

Oh I look good

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I’m not sure what sparked this thought. It may have been the Title Nine catalogue I got in the mail. It may have been my new Athleta swimsuits (yes I am gearing up for spring and summer surf). It may have been when I was at the gym riding the stationary bike. I’m not sure when it was but at some point I began to ponder women and athletic fashion.

 

Athletic apparel is big business. It is expected to grow to a $180.9 billion business by 2018. Women are major consumers. Retailers like Gap, Target, Lululemon, and Title Nine are doing more than tracking this trend. Each of these companies has a share of the athletic apparel market, especially the one geared toward women.

 

The clothes are super cute. Yoga pants, running pants, sports bras, and dry wicking shirts that have a cute saying. I admit when I walk into sports authority I am drawn to the fashion. I imagine how stylish I will look running down the street in some new gear. My fantasy is disrupted when I peek at the price tag and realize I don’t really need a new $55.00 pair of running pants. My dresser drawer is already exploding with dry wicking shirts I’ve gotten in my swag bag at races and I already own more than enough shorts to get me through about a month of running in the summer without wearing any repeats.

 

All of the fashion made me wonder: are we losing sight of the real reason for working out? The clothes are great. And they have gotten so much more functional then they were years ago. The days of wearing a heavy sweaty cotton t-shirt is a thing of the past. But buying cute yoga pants don’t do much for your health and well-being unless you plan on doing yoga in them. Picking up a new pair of running sneakers won’t get your heart rate up unless you lace them up and go for a run or walk. Fashion is great. And if looking cute helps get you motivated to work out that is awesome. But remember wearing athletic gear to casually walk on the treadmill or to sip an energy drink at Starbucks is no substitute for a real sweaty hard core work out done in a cotton t-shirt and a pair of shorts.

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Funnest Race

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2013 is almost over and the last few months have been tough on me because of my injury. As I reflect back on my year I realize I did quite a few races. Not as many as I have in years past but I ran the Disney Princess Marathon to maintain my status as a perfect princess. I also did the Newport 10 miler and a few other races.

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Of all the races I did there was one that really stood out. It wasn’t a big race or a long one. But it was probably the funnest race I have ever done. I ran start to finish with Kia. It wasn’t just running, we paddled, rode a tricycle, climbed a rock wall, ran in heels, hula hooped, and slid down on oversized inflatable slide.

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It was the inaugural run hosted by Women Run called the sanity chase. The race was hosted at Fort Adams in Newport, RI.

 

 

 

This was the first race I did where there was no clock. So it was less of a race and more of a run. And it was women only.                               

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Women were encouraged to run together. It was a time for bonding and playing. Kia and I got to be silly together (though I think I acted more silly than she did, she is a teen and has to maintain her coolness.) 

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As I continue my recovery I am hopeful for next year. While my goals include a sub 27-minute 5k, half marathon, and an adventure race, I think I need to remember to have fun and be silly too. Racing and accomplishing goals sometimes zaps the fun out of running, especially when you are recovering from an injury. I need to keep perspective and be appreciative of the fact that my legs and in particular me knee is still working. If I do, 2014 will be a great year of fun runs and achieving some goals.

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What are your running goals for 2014?

What was the best race you did this year?

Catching the Glass Wave

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By 2017 the global surfing market is expected to be a $13.2 billion industry. Within the market women are one of the primary consumers. Ladies apparel is a major revenue generator in the market. Ironically, while women may drive the market there is a glass wave that women are trying to catch.

The glass wave women are paddling for is the same gap women are trying to close in other industries such as politics, business, and education. There is a disparity in the number of women in the top leadership spots. In the United States 3% of CEOs are women and in government the country ranks 71st in female legislative representation, behind Bangladesh and Sudan. Similar disparities are found in the professional surf tour.

The women’s tour features 17 women who compete in seven events, compared to the men’s tour that features 34 surfers competing in ten events. The men have more events and they also earn more prize money. There are seven male surfers with career earnings of over a million dollars in prize money. Layne Beachley is the female with the highest career earnings, winning just over $650,000. The next highest female earner after her won almost $200,000 less over their career. The disparity in pay stems from women having fewer events and the difference in the payouts for men and women. The male winner gets about $90,000 an event compared to the female winner who earns about $40,000.

Tour winnings is only one aspect, another is endorsements. Men are more likely to be featured in advertisements, meaning another paycheck. Women surfers are less likely to be used by companies to endorse products. Companies tend to use models, meaning the model is handsomely compensated not the female surfers.

The professional tour and endorsements is a small sliver of the gender gap. Surf movies depict men riding huge waves or traveling the world as soul surfers. Women may get a small part in some of these movies, but rarely do they feature women as the rugged surfer explorer. There are a few movies about women surfers, but they often lack the same sense of adventure. Women are more often featured surfing their local break. If they travel they go to a well-known surf spot.

The impact is seen at local surf spots. Yes women and girls surf, but in a line up of 20 there are usually only one or two women. Chasing this glass wave and closing the gap has some unique challenges. As more women surf there may be a sense that through natural progression the landscape of surfing will change. However a close examination of the business and political systems in the United States reveals change in an already established system is difficult. The surf industry is a well-oiled, established machine. In order to catch the glass wave women need to take an active role.

Female surfers should start be recognizing that surfing has the same barriers that other industries have already identified. People have an unconscious bias about who can be a surfer; women more often than men may need to balance family, work and surf; and women tend to struggle with confidence.

Fortunately these barriers can be overcome. One way is to establish female role models in the surf community. Though it is difficult to recreate the archetype of a Kelly Slater, role models can be found in local communities. Women around the country have formed surf clubs. These clubs are a way for women to network and find other surfers they can identify with. Within these clubs women find surfing role models.

When women and girls have role models to identify with it helps them to eliminate the unconscious bias that exists about what a surfer is supposed to look like. Women will see other women surfing. Women will see other women balancing surf, family, and work. Women will be able to identify with their stories and struggles of what it is like to build the confidence to paddle out into an all male line up.

Confidence is a necessary tool for a surfer, yet women who are skilled surfers may be more likely to struggle with confidence.

A company in England ran a focus group, asking women at all levels in the company why they didn’t put themselves forward for senior roles. The response, women said they weren’t encouraged to apply and in many cases they lacked the confidence to try.

The same holds true for women in the water. Some women are afraid to paddle for waves. Even though they may have the skill level to catch and surf the wave, they may defer going for a wave because they lack the confidence. Having role models, seeing other women surfing, and giving each other support is a way to build confidence.

As more women surf, the sport and the industry will evolve. If women sit and wait for someone else to make the changes, they may be waiting a while. Imagine what surfing would be like if Gregg Noll never paddled for that wave in Waiemea Bay. The same is true for women. Surfers like Lakey Petterson, Sally Fitzgibbons, and Stephanie Gilmore have the potential to push the sport into a new direction. With a few strong paddles from some strong female surfers, women might be able to ride the glass wave.

Ruggles Ave