#SportsBraSquadATX

Last month several members of the ARC board joined the #SportsBraSquadATX for their global running day and felt so inspired that Amber Wadey caught up with Jessie Barnes to learn more about this movement.

  

Tell us a little bit about yourself. When did you start running and what are your running goals?

I started running three and a half years ago. I had never been very active, but a few life changes had me feeling lost and I needed an outlet, and even though I couldn’t run even a mile at first, running was exactly what I needed. In the beginning it really helped me work through some emotion that no amount of wine or talking could process. Something about getting out there and sweating and pushing through physical barriers was what my mind needed. I’ve found it to be so empowering and freeing, and over time as I’ve tapped into the running community locally and online I’ve really loved the connection that can be found with fellow runners.

I’m currently training for the Chicago Marathon. It will be my fourth marathon and I’m really excited to see what I’m capable of this time around. Long term I just want to be that lady who’s still running when she’s 80.

How did the Sports Bra Squad movement get started?

Last summer my friends and I saw Kelly Roberts post on Instagram about running in her sports bra for the first time and it came up during a girls night. As we talked we realized we all wanted to be brave enough to run in our sports bras on hot days–and we all know there are plenty of those in Austin–but we all had some anxiety and fear about showing the world our stomachs while we ran. I think we all have this idea of what we’re “supposed” to look like to run that confidently and we didn’t feel like we met that standard. But as we talked we started encouraging each other to give it a try and then we started actually running in our sports bras with each other. I think we all felt pretty self conscious at first but together we created this really supportive, encouraging environment and we wanted to share that with other ladies. We were already putting together group runs pretty regularly so we decided to make a local sports bra squad run last summer where we encouraged everyone to come and run in their sports bras. We thought the group would probably be comprised of our friends and that’s it so we were so happy when word started to spread beyond that group! We had about 35 people at that first run and it was so exciting! Just so amazing to look around at this group of 35 women with all different body types and different running abilities all coming together. It was pretty clear this message really resonated with a lot of people! This year there were even more.

At the #SportsBraSquadATX group run you said you never thought you’d be running in a sports bra, let alone addressing a group in a sports bra. How did you find that confidence?

The whole sports bra squad experience since last summer has been transformative. There have been a few key moments that stand out. First was that initial conversation I had with my friends where we all expressed wanting to run in a sports bra but not feeling brave enough to do so. When I thought of running in my sports bra I thought of all the reasons why it wasn’t for me–all the physical “flaws” I had ran through my mind. But then I was looking at my friends–friends that I didn’t think should be insecure in the least–and they were expressing all the same insecurities I was. So I realized if I could look at them and tell them with sincerity that they should run in a sports bra if that’s what they want to do regardless of what they look like, I had to direct that message to myself as well. Secondly, in February of this year I had a moment early one morning where I was scared to weigh myself because I worried I had gained a couple pounds. Standing there in my bathroom at 6am I realized how ridiculous it was to wrap so much of my personal value up in the number on the scale because this was three days after I ran the Austin marathon. How could I be worried about a couple pounds when I had this incredibly strong body and mind that was capable of carrying me through a marathon? I made an instagram post about that moment and the response was so positive! It was a vulnerable moment to share, but I’m so glad I did because the response told me that this is a big issue for a lot of people and I was determined to share this feeling of empowerment with as many people as I can. We have to change the idea that our appearance is our value. Ultimately I just keep thinking of what I would tell other women who are insecure about their bodies and running in their sports bra and it gets me so fired up.  

When is the next Sports Bra Squad run?

Sunday, August 6th. Meet at 6:45am at the Capitol, running at 7am. It will be a 3-4 mile run, route TBD. Invite anyone and everyone! Running in a sports bra isn’t required, just show up and I guarantee you’ll be inspired! Men are also welcome to join, shirt or no shirts. All paces and abilities are welcome! Here is the link to the Facebook event.

Is there anything else we should know?

Regardless of whether you run or whether you run in a sports bra, I think the message of celebrating our strength rather than focusing on appearances can apply to everyone. Work on building yourself and your friends up and you can build an empowering community.  

Also, if anyone would like to hear more about our local Sports Bra Squad, how it got started, and what it means to us they can listen to our episode of the Runified podcast! Runified also did a follow up episode that includes what Teresa and I spoke about before the run along with some brief interview with others who were at the run.

  • Interview by Amber Wadey.

2017 Board of Directors Elections

It’s that time of the year again–for ARC Members to weigh in on who they’d like to represent them on the Board of Directors. Read below for brief candidate bios, and start thinking about who you’d like to see on next year’s board. (You can descriptions of each Board Member role here.)

A few quick notes on the election rules:

  • Nominations can still be accepted throughout the month of April (email volunteer@austinrunners.org)
  • In addition to the candidates listed below, members will also have the option to write-in their preferred candidates on the ballot.
  • Online elections will be held from Sunday April 23rd through Tuesday, May 2nd.
  • There will be two chances to cast your ballot in-person: on Monday, May 1st at a special edition of our weekly Monday run, held at Ready to Run at 6:30PM, and Tuesday, May 2nd at the Ship workout, held at O Henry Middle School at 5:55PM.

Winners will be announced on social media and in our weekly member newsletter once they are determined.

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Austin Half Marathon – Race Report from a Distance Challenge Finisher!

Amber at the Distance Challenge tent

Photo courtesy Amber Wadey

Two years ago I ran my first half marathon right here in Austin. I joined Team LIVESTRONG, created my own training plan, and did everything I could do to prepare, but I remember worrying about everything that was out of my control. What if it’s freezing or pouring rain? What if traffic or road closures make it too hard to park? What if I’m not feeling well, or my alarm doesn’t go off? The beauty of running your 2nd or 3rd (or 7th) half marathon is that eventually those details don’t bother you anymore. I know I can go the distance and I’ve logged miles in every kind of weather. I’ve learned that with a little planning, the logistics always seem to work out.

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Kayleigh’s Distance Challenge

Just over a year ago, Distance Challenge alumni Sandy Williamson submitted her story through our “September to Remember” contest and won two free entries into the Decker Challenge. When Sandy and her daughter Kayleigh decided to Dare the Distance together, nobody could’ve predicted where the journey would take them. With one race to go, Sandy shares their remarkable story with the ARC.

Sandy and Kayleigh

Sandy and Kayleigh
Photo courtesy Sandy Williamson

In April, my daughter and I travelled to Galveston for the Diva 5K. It was our first test to see how Kayleigh would handle a race with a strict cut-off time. She finished under the required time and the next week we started training for her first half marathon. Kayleigh has ITP and Graves’ Disease, and two weeks later her platelets hit a critical low of 15. It was a life threatening level. Even with steroids and a platelet transfusion, they did not increase so the decision was made to remove her spleen. The surgery normally takes 45 minutes to an hour, but in Kayleigh’s case it only took 20 minutes. Normally, they keep a patient for 24 hours, but she was released 5 hours later. That’s when I knew I had Wonder Woman for a daughter.

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3M Half Marathon – Distance Challenge Race Report

Amber Wadey registered for the Distance Challenge after realizing that she perfectly fit the profile for the “average” DC runner. She participated in an ARC member interview earlier this year and we’ve asked her to let us follow along as she runs the series by contributing her race reports to our blog. We hope you enjoy sharing her journey!

Amber's 3M stats

Image courtesy Amber Wadey

This is the first race report I’ve contributed where I don’t feel like a newbie. I ran the 3M last year and came in right at my goal time of 2:05. I registered for this year’s run soon after and told my training partner that next year we’d go even faster; perhaps even break 2 hours! After the Decker Challenge I was feeling strong but had a little more trouble moving from recovery back into training than expected. I blamed the holidays, weather, allergies, work and school for limiting my time and focus. Somehow I managed to stick with my training plan (even when my daughter insisted I could skip) and everything started coming together in the final week leading up to the 3M.

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Decker Challenge – Race Report from a Newbie

Amber Wadey registered for the Distance Challenge after realizing that she perfectly fit the profile for the “average” DC runner. She participated in an ARC member interview earlier this year and we’ve asked her to let us follow along as she runs the series by contributing her race reports to our blog. We hope you enjoy sharing her journey!

Amber's Decker pic

Image courtesy Amber Wadey

Before I started writing up these blogs for the ARC, I had never written a race report. I thought it might be a good idea to read a few race reports from previous Decker Challenge finishers to help me prepare for the event, but all the reports I found were by athletes who run 6-7 minute miles and focus on nutrition and pacing on a completely different level than me. My goal for this run was to average 10 minute miles and finish without injury. I did learn a few things, like apparently the big hill at mile 10 is called “Quadzilla,” but I hope my post will inspire more average runners to give this event a shot!

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Run for the Water – Race Report from a Newbie

Amber Wadey registered for the Distance Challenge after realizing that she perfectly fit the profile for the “average” DC runner. She participated in an ARC member interview earlier this year and we’ve asked her to let us follow along as she runs the series by contributing her race reports to our blog. We hope you enjoy sharing her journey!

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I’ve lived in Austin for over a decade and friends have been telling me about Run for the Water for years, but I have NEVER been ready to run 10 miles by early November. Even these past couple of years as I’ve been training for half marathons, the Turkey Trot has been the kick-off for my longer distance training runs. Of course, in previous years I have never considered myself a “real runner.”

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ARC Interview with William Greer

William Greer is a runner. Like many of us, he runs sometimes on roads and sometimes on trails. He has a regular Saturday morning running group. He has run half marathons, marathons and ultras working through everyday challenges like overuse injuries and trying to qualify for Boston. Unlike many of us, William has trouble seeing. He was born in Chicago then grew up in Texas. He was out riding a bike at 17 without a helmet and crashed. The open skull wound led to his lasting visual impairment, and he has been legally blind ever since.

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Run Free Texas 8k – Race Report from a Newbie

Amber Wadey participated in an ARC member interview as the first person to register for the 2016-2017 Distance Challenge, after realizing that she perfectly fit the profile for the “average” Distance Challenge runner. We have asked her to let us follow along as she runs the series by contributing her race reports to our blog. We hope you enjoy sharing her journey!

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I’m a new member of the Austin Runners Club, #daringthedistance for the first time. I have two small kids and work full-time so I don’t have a ton of time for group runs, but I like to say what I lack in training I make up for in enthusiasm! Getting back into running after taking most of the summer off has felt great. I kicked off the season last month at the Marathon Relay and have been so excited to get the Distance Challenge started with my first 80’s 8k.

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ARC Interview with Sandy Cumming

20160430_111758For this Austin Runners Club Interview, we have a local celebrity. Sandy Cumming has been a member of the ARC for 20 years, has served on the ARC Board, volunteered countless times (but we definitely count on her) and is part of the amazing Al and Sandy Cumming team, a couple that has done so much for Austin running and the ARC. They lead the Ship of Fools intermediate training group, with 3 of our ARC training runs and the Austin Runners Club Marathon Training groups.

Sandy used to live in Burnet, TX, just up 183 and over on 29 from Austin. She met Al Cumming when she was the Race Director for the Bluebonnet 5K in Burnet. They married and lived there for a while. It used to be a tradition to attend two local races and end up at Al and Sandy’s house in Burnet, for local barbecue and donuts “as big as your face”, or “breakfast, immediately followed by lunch”. Continue reading »