On Saturday January 21, 2017, history was made when close to 4 million women united together to bring awareness to women’s rights. Unfortunately, due to a previously scheduled commitment I couldn’t attend the rally in LA but instead spent a good chunk of the morning glued to the tv and internet stream soaking in as much energy as I could. There were empowering speeches, and inspiring interviews, but the photo I posted above resonated and inspired me more than anything.
This sign is from the rally in Washington DC. I don’t know the women who are holding the poster, nor do I know the woman who created it, but there is a story that goes deeper than the photograph. As you can see, this poster is recreation of the iconic photo of Gloria Steinem and Dorothy Pitman-Hughes from the women’s rights movement of the 1970's with the smaller poster bringing the correlation of that movement to the next generation of women. The message is clear, fighting for the needs of women now, impacts the rights of those yet to come.
What you don’t see is the story behind those females of our future. One of those future females (the blonde one) is Avery. I have no doubts that Avery will grow up to be an amazing young women. Why do I know this? Because she is blessed with an incredible Mom. Her mom, Colleen is beautiful soul with an even bigger heart. It’s no wonder she is a school teacher, because she has is leader and a guider. She listens to conversations intently, she responds intelligently, and makes everyone she is surrounded by feel like the most important person in the room. She shares with her daughter her love for life, which in turn molds a daughter with a love of life.
Like so many others who were inspired by this showing of the power of women uniting this past weekend, I have been soul searching trying to find out where to go from here. Since the time Colleen shared this photo with the world, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. There are so many young girls whose life is surrounded by amazing strong women, but there are so many who aren’t. I keep coming back to the empowerment of being surrounded by strong guiding women in your life, and the reality that there is also a guidance, and a power of not being surrounded by strong women in your life.
While this weekend, reignited the flame for so many, this is actually something I have been stewing around in my head since I moved to LA. I heard Lauren Fleshman speak on occupying space in this podcast with Julia Hanlon. I too have been trying to find my place, finding a way to fulfillingly occupy space, but doing so in a way that serves me. When I was in Chicago I was pretty heavily involved in Girls on the Run, serving on the Board and volunteering with them for many years. While I love everything about that organization, the time has come for me to find a new form of service. I want to be a light, guiding the path, a support system for females, especially those who are the future. The future can seem a bit scary right now, in many ways, but I really believe, if we come together, support the ones we love, and the ones we don’t, we can make a difference.
While I don’t know exactly where to go from here, I have a few ideas and some avenues to research. We (myself included) live in a society where it is easy to make time to scroll through social media, but difficult to find the time to get out and meet others for coffee or a run. The power of connection that social media brings also leads to isolation for so many. This weekend, we saw the beauty of what happens when we come together, in person, as liked minded people to connect and peacefully share a message.
I commit to spending the next few weeks, sourcing out volunteer options, getting to know my local political leaders and discovering ways to be of service in LA. This might be through running, through facilitating ways to bring others together, or something completely new, I am remaining open. What I do know, is my mission is to be one who is guiding, molding, shaping, and engaging while listening to the voices our future.
Oiselle posted a blog post that really resonated with me about setting goals and rejecting the distractions. This post beautifuly describes where I am with my running right now...on the edge of reaching new heights.
I am goal orientated person. Goals, to-do lists and game plans keep me focused and help guide my daily path. I have been like this since I can remember. (Anyone who has ever worked with me, knows all about my fluid to-do lists) Over the years I have learned, analysis and setting goals works better for me on periodic basis rather than at the beginning of each year, when all the cool kids are setting New Year resolutions. I find breaking goals up into smaller, more achievable ones versus long term options help me not get overwhelmed but enjoy the process of meeting that goal and getting to cross it off my to-do list. I tend to sit down and review my goals on a quarterly basis. The change of seasons, finishing a goal race, or even watching someone inspiring reach new heights are times I find are best to hit reset and adjust as necessary.
With that being said, I have spent the last couple of months of 2016 without any running/training agenda. Breaks are necessary, but for me, so is structure. No personal running goals, or game plans has been such a welcomed way to keep me sane and prevent running burnout, but now it is time to get back to my routines and get out the door training.
This year it will be different. Last year was about trying new things. This year its about taking some of the new experiences I enjoyed, doing them again, but with bigger expectations. I want to race events (not just run), I want to hit times that will place me in the top bracket of my age group, and do this while still finding a balance between personal and running life. I know I need to step out of my fitness comfort zone, digging deep to get stronger and faster yet making sure the experience brings me joy (aka prevent burnout).
What's first in my Flight Plan for 2017? A base building training cycle.
As you know, I absolutely fell in love with trail running, and I intend to take what I learned dig even deeper this year and maybe even take a few more risks. However, since I took a couple months off from scheduled running, I recognize the fact that I need to build a strong running base in order to be a stronger trail runner. When I was offered a chance to run a couple winter half marathon in Southern California as part of the Bib Rave ambassadorship I knew that was the perfect way to get myself back on the roads to focus on running form, speed work and most of all my mental strength (the monotony of running roads can break me down).
Here are my key races for now. I will figure out more trail running options in spring.
But my first quarter goals don’t stop at running. I have also committed to incorporating a few things into my life on a regular basis with the hope that they become permanent routines.
Road racing training season has begun. I am committing to hitting new heights, while rejecting things that don't allow for balance in my life. #wheelsup2017