Tag Archives: 261 Fearless

Random thoughts about (1) feminism, (2) shattering glass ceilings and (3) running in a sport bra.

 

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(1) I never really thought about myself being a feminist. I was too young (being born in 1963) when, in the 1960’s, the “second wave” of feminism began. (The “first wave” mostly being encompassed by women fighting for the right to vote.) What an exciting yet I’m sure confusing time to be a woman! Some of the basic goals of these feminists were equal pay for equal work, an end to domestic violence, women in managerial jobs, an end to sexual harassment, and sharing of responsibility for housework and child rearing. How sad that 50+ years later, women still are fighting these battles!

So many notable events occurred during this “second wave”; a great timeline can be found at Second Wave Feminism Timeline

The “third wave” of feminism began in the 1990’s, and continues to work for equal pay, reproductive rights, and to end violence against women.

I am so grateful for all of the brave feminists who fought and continue to fight so I (and my daughters) have a fair shot in life. That’s all we can ask for, and all we expect. Looking at my daughters now, so independent and with fierce opinions on social issues, I guess I raised two feminists. I’m proud to be one too.  And how lucky are we to have a President who wrote an essay on feminism that will be published in Glamour Magazine, stating that it is men’s duty to fight sexism. This dictionary definition is spot on, and describes the core of the feminist agenda from day one – equality to men.

feminism
/ˈfeməˌnizəm/
noun
1. the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

I suppose this post was inspired by recent events. In May and July, I was fortunate enough, in my position as a 261 Fearless Ambassador, to be able to spend some time with Kathrine Switzer at two running events. Kathrine is a true pioneer for women. If you don’t know her story, I encourage you to go to 261 Fearless and read all about her. It is impossible to not be inspired by Kathrine, whether you are listening to her speak to a large group or in private conversation. I encourage all women to join the 261 Fearless movement to get inspired and get moving!

As an added bonus, the running event in May was held in Seneca Falls, New York, the location of the first Women’s Rights Convention in 1848 and known as the birthplace of women’s rights. There is so much history to be found here, in additional to an excellent 19k race (special distance for the 19th amendment, giving women the right to vote) and 5k race. May, 2017 will mark the second annual Right to Run event weekend, and will be extra special because it marks the 100th anniversary of New York State granting women the right to vote. Check out Right to Run and join me next May!

(2) Glass ceilings were shattered last week as Hillary Clinton became the first woman to receive the presidential nomination from a major political party. You don’t have to support her or even like her to recognize that THIS IS BIG. As of January, 2015, there were 22 female world leaders in power. How is it possible that it took the United States so long? I thought we were such a forward-thinking country, but when I read the negative and downright hateful remarks and comments on social media that have nothing to do with the qualifications of the candidate, but relate to appearance, speaking, etc., it’s maddening. Sometimes I feel like I am being dragged back to the time before the “second wave” of feminism!

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My hope is that with the Obama presidency and the Clinton nomination, we can continue moving forward, basing our opinions on fact (let’s start using Snopes before we post, people, I beg of you!). Don’t believe everything you read – do your own research and make informed decisions.

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(3) Lately I am seeing posts encouraging women to run in just a sports bra, shirtless, with the hashtag #sportsbrasquad, challenging women to “shed your shirt and actually enjoy your summer runs”. This “squad” has to do with accepting your body and not being self-conscious, which of course we all need to do. I myself have good days and bad days in that regard.  But I don’t need to join a squad or run in my sports bra to make a statement about accepting myself and I don’t have to prove my self-acceptance to anyone. Therefore, I’m declining this challenge, as running in my sports bra has nothing to do with my image of my own body, and frankly it doesn’t sound that appealing to me. I like my running shirts, with their inspirational and funny sayings. I like how my running shirts wick the sweat off me (because I sweat a lot!) so it doesn’t run into my bottoms. I like how my running shirts protect parts of me from getting sunburned, because that sun block does not last when I’m sweating. I like using my running shirt to wipe sweat out of my eyes. I’m comfortable in my running shirt. So I guess I won’t make the #sportsbrasquad, but that’s okay. If you want to run shirtless, go for it! Lots of men do it, and I doubt many of them care what people may be thinking. In today’s world, with all that is happening, we should be beyond the point of this discussion. If you decide to run shirtless, do it because it’s right for you. The key word in self-acceptance is “self”—do what you want to do, what makes you feel comfortable. Make your own decisions. Pave your own path. Don’t wait for someone else to pave it for you.

 

 

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September – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

  
September was such a whirlwind! It’s hard to believe October is here along with the much cooler temps. Seems like there is no gradual drop in temperature; we just drop 30 degrees and soon the snow will be flying.  I definitely feel like I channeled my inner Clint Eastwood as September unfolded.

I started the month by running the Biggest Loser Half Marathon here in Buffalo during Labor Day weekend. Biggest Loser puts on a pretty good race but it was so hot that day and the race is almost exclusively in the sun, so it was tougher than I expected and my finish was slower than I expected. Since I ran the 5k last year, the inaugural year in Buffalo, I received a legacy medal which was nice. I think what struck me most was the lack of community support compared to races I have done in other cities/states. I wonder if, since we have such a short race season here with a lot of races crammed in, the non-running community is just sick of the disruption.
  
  
After the race my husband Dave and I walked over to the annual Buffalo Chicken Wing Festival where he completed a hot wing eating challenge, we enjoyed a local craft beer, and then headed home because the heat and dehydration were starting to affect me. All in all this was a good day.

  
My 52nd birthday fell in here. Even though I miss seeing my girls on my birthday and all holidays, Dave made it a great birthday as always. 

The following weekend I travelled to my sister’s home in Richmond, where we would be driving together to Baltimore, Maryland to race the Run 4 Shelter. This race takes place mostly on flat trails. Unfortunately we got carried away the day before the race exploring the area and put in about 5 miles, so my legs got pretty tired at the end of the half marathon. We did find the beach so it was worth it!  
  
Race day was chilly and rainy. Prior to the start some skydivers came down and they were awesome! 

   
 The race had a late start, which I find annoying, but the worst part for me was around mile 11 or 12 when you actually run past the finish line then circle around back. I don’t really like that. My sister rocked her 10k and with my tired legs I did okay with the half.

  
Since it was pouring when I got done we decided to head out because we were going to stay at the inner harbor for a few nights. As we were sitting at a red light I heard what sounded like a shot behind us and twisted to look in my side view mirror to see what happened. Then we were hit from behind, twice! The vehicle behind us had been hit twice by the vehicle behind her somehow. My head bounced off the headrest two times but luckily my sister was able to keep us from hitting the car in front of us. A fire truck and two police cars later, we were back on our way.  

Baltimore’s inner harbor is a wonderful place to visit and I hope to go back soon. We water taxi’d all over. It’s very impressive, especially the aquarium. All in all, this trip was good with a bad.
   
 The next week my neck and back pain increased but I had a local half marathon on Saturday and a dinner with some fellow 50 State Half Marathon Club members who were in town for the race, so I decided to go for it. Dinner was wonderful because we got to meet some new people. 
The race was in Lewiston NY, the Mighty Niagara Half Marathon. Such a nice route but halfway in I knew I was in trouble with my back. I even considered quitting but instead decided to add a lot of walking. The scariest part was a feeling like I couldn’t breathe. I texted Dave at mile 9 and told him it was going to be a while! I was crying the last 1/10th of a mile and after finding Dave just headed home. This was especially disappointing because I missed what looked like a great after-party and a chance to see the 50 Staters again. This day was ugly, but I’m going to try again next year.

  
Two goods then occurred. I was able to find a chiropractic wellness office to treat my cervical and thoracic strains. Unfortunately X-rays show that I have underlying arthritis throughout my back, but I am hopeful Dr. Steve can improve things for me, and he says he wants to make me a pain-free and better runner. So we have the same goals. I was really afraid of the adjustments at first; the cracking noise really scared me. I seem to be getting used to it though.
The best good was hearing that I was accepted as an Ambassador in Kathrine Switzer’s 261 Fearless program. 261 was Kathrine’s number when she was the first woman to register for and run the Boston Marathon. As most know, race officials tried to physically force her out of the race but with help from her friends she was able to finish and go on to have a most successful running career. I really feel this program is a perfect fit for me and I’m excited to make the most of this opportunity.

My last race of the month was Beat the Blerch in Morristown, New Jersey. I was meeting my daughter Morgan there as she was taking the train from New York City. Unfortunately I had decided to drive prior to the car accident, which ended up causing a lot of discomfort. Morristown ended up being one of the most charming towns I have ever visited and I could imagine myself living there (or somewhere similar).
   
 Beat the Blerch ended up being a legitimate trail race. I never had run a trail race before and I absolutely loved it. My mind was constantly engaged in trying not to trip and fall, and the scenery was beautiful. There was so much to concentrate on, I didn’t have time to think about my back. Poor Morgan the city girl was not as enthused but we both came out unscathed. Morristown – good, race – good, drive – bad, seeing Morgan – wonderful.

  
I have a lot scheduled again this month that I probably would not have if I had known about my back problems. I’m just going to take it easy, do my exercises, and have the best time possible.

My goal for October is really to get on a schedule. Being disorganized leads me to feeling overwhelmed and then I tend to give up. Wish me luck!