Category Archives: Feminism Light

A Message To Anyone Worried About “Unglam” Race Photos

So there is a blog post floating around the Singapore running blogosphere that’s making me twitchy.  Basically, the post provides four tips to help folks (ladies, specifically) avoid “unglam” race photos.  The author suggests:

1. Wear some make-up.
2. Tie your hair back.
3. Wear sunglasses (to hide slit, shut, or sunken eyes).
4. Smile.

Now, the author is a race photographer, and I have no doubt that he hears a lots of complaints from runners who are dissatisfied with their race photos.  For better or for worse, I think this gentleman is trying to help – he is responding to the way so many of us see ourselves, and our race photos.  Thus, although the post raises my feminist hackles, it is a manifestation, not the root, of the problem.  So rather than give the author a hard time, I would like to address all you ladies (and gentlemen) out there who are dissing your own race photos:

Think about why you run.  Do you run to have FUN?  To feel STRONG? EMPOWERED? HEALTHY?  AWESOME?  

Whatever your reason, I’m gonna wager that it isn’t to get a gorgeous race photo.  Because honestly, if you want “pretty” photos, then get cleaned up, hire a photographer or grab a friend with a camera, and have at it.  Easy peasy.

I am in the business of fitness.  Run With Holly is all about helping folks grow stronger, powerful, fitter, and more confident.  These things are truly beautiful.  The misguided thought that we must conform to the narrow societal expectations of beauty in the midst of activities that make us stronger, more powerful, and fitter…is rubbish.  [These societal expectations are rubbish to begin with, but I can only fight one battle a day, OK?]

So for starters, let’s dissect these four recommendations:

1. Wear some make-up.

No, please don’t wear make-up, if only for the sake of your pores.  This is Singapore, and I’m quite sure that NO make-up exists that’s waterproof enough to stay on your face during a sweaty run.

2. Tie your hair back.

OK, I’m on board with this one, albeit for practical, not aesthetic, reasons.

3. Wear sunglasses (to hide slit, shut, or sunken eyes).

You can’t control whether your eyes look shut, slit, or sunken – wear sunglasses if you want, but only for protection from the sun/wind/rain.  Feel free not to. You don’t have to apologize for your eyes, or the position of your eyelids at the precise millisecond the photo is taken.

4. Smile.

If you’re working hard, gritting it out, and feeling the burn – don’t feel obligated to smile.  Did any of you tune in for the NYC Marathon yesterday? Did you see those huge grins on the faces of the elites?  Hmm…yeah, me neither.  Sure, if you notice the photog and want to flash a smile, go for it. But if you are focused on your race – then by all means, focus on your race. Personally, I LOVE pictures of athletes looking intense and focused – I think THAT is beautiful! 

What I’m trying to say is that the race is YOURS to run, in your way and on your terms.  And I truly, truly hope that those “terms” include running for yourselves, for your health, to enjoy time with friends…  So have fun.  Work hard.  Be free.  But do not, under any circumstances, let someone else tell you what you “should” do for the camera while you’re running and racing.

This isn’t always easy, I know.  We are often our own worst enemies.  I’d be lying if I said I didn’t fall into the trap sometimes, too.

But when you have doubts, you show those “unglam” race photos to an athlete friend/trainer/coach – or heck, send ’em to me.  I bet we’ll see determination, strength, and athletic beauty – in the wrinkles in your forehead, the grit of your teeth, the bunching of your top, the sweat pouring everywhere.

To keep myself honest here, I’m going to grab a few of my recent race photos, all courtesy of Running Shots.  I haven’t carefully chosen these – they are all the freely available race photos of me, in which I’m large enough to be seen properly.  Do note that, in all photos, I am NOT wearing make-up or sunglasses, and I’m only smiling in one.

This one is easy to post; it's my fave!

This one is easy to post; it’s my fave!

At the top of a stair climb.  All I wanted to do was breathe.

At the top of a stair climb. All I wanted to do was breathe, and not puke.

In a painful place...

In a painful place… But look at those leg muscles!

I'll admit there's a part of me that doesn't want to post this one.  But this was actually a pretty good race for me, and I actually have a positive memory of the race, in which I felt fast and strong.  I let the photo remind me of those feelings, rather than of how unflattering I think my shorts look.

I’ll admit there’s a part of me that doesn’t want to post this one. But this was actually a pretty good race for me, and I ran feeling fast and strong. So I let the photo remind me of those feelings, rather than of how unflattering I think my shorts (shirt?) look.

And that’s my collection of recent race photos.  I may not love them all, but I definitely love what they represent: A fit, healthy, strong body that can do amazing things.

So the next time you open your mouth (or brain) to criticize your race photos, think twice.  Redirect that energy into the following gratitude:

Dear Body:

Thank you for being awesome.

Love,
Me

If you want to read more, I suggest checking out Fit & Feminist’s thoughtful and insightful recollection of her journey toward accepting her race photos, which she writes about in Learning to love – or at least like – my race photos.

[Edited to add: GCA has a few choice words of her own over at Why I’m Proud of My Unglam Running Photos.]

Let’s be very general today: Any thoughts on this topic?  What would you like to add?  What have I forgotten/gotten wrong?

What did you do this weekend that made you feel strong/empowered/freaking awesome?

On “bad bloggers” and “not runners”

As I was checking how my Weekly Workout Round-Up for last week post looked on email and on my phone, I was a little surprised to see a phrase that snuck into the post: “…but I’m a bad blogger…”  I caught my breath.  Crap.  How did that get in there?  I often see this phrase in other blogger’s posts – and it always bothers me.  Yet here it was, staring back at me, typed from my very own keyboard.

Why did I write this?  Why did I spend time and wordage to announce to you all that I’m a “bad” blogger?  What horrible, non-blogger, evict-me-from-the-club (which is as free-form and self-directed as any club could possibly be) thing did I do?  You might want to sit down.  Brace yourselves, because…I went for a run with friends, and didn’t take a picture.

Just stop for a minute, and let that sink in.  I didn’t take a picture.

[Oh, the horror!!]

[First world problems, anyone?]

But I am not alone.  Failure to Photograph (food, workouts, friends, clothes, etc.) seems to be a common reason to call oneself a “bad blogger”.  Other reasons include:

“Had guests visit, failed to post for three days, bad blogger.”
“Chose random, rambling post topic(s) = Bad blogger.”
“Devoted an entire post to cute photos of kiddos…bad blogger.”
“Didn’t Reply to every Comment. Bad blogger.”
“Wore sweatpants instead of cute outfit: bad blogger.”
“Doesn’t care about hits/clicks/visits/SEO/etc.  Bad blogger!”

I’d dig up specific examples, but honestly – they’re too numerous (and I’m tired).  If you’ve been hanging out in the blog world for awhile, then you know what I’m talking about.  In fact, Olive To Run provides a great summary of some in her post Confession: I am really not a good blogger, if you’re interested.  [Please note that I’m not criticizing Olive, by any means – I quite enjoy her blog and her thoughts.  And admittedly, she used “not good” rather than “bad”.  But I was struck by how someone who is so unapologetically herself, so “tell it like it is”, and whose blog is so clearly popular – could still proclaim that she’s “not a good blogger”.  I mean, if she’s not a good blogger, then what am I!?!]

So I paused for a moment and considered what I really, truly think would constitute a “bad” blogger (where “bad” means, you know, “not good”).  Yes, this is subjective, but I see no way around that.  I gave myself sixty seconds, and here is the list I generated:

A “bad blogger” is someone who….
1. Never posts (in which case he/she would hardly be a “blogger”, really, right?)
2. Writes false, malicious, or nasty things about people/places/things
3. Plagarizes
4. Provides positive reviews in exchange for free products/services
5. Embeds links to malicious or pay-per-click sites, camouflaged as useful, interesting sites

I re-read my list.  Yup, all of those things seem like they should qualify someone for “bad blogger” status.  But gosh, wouldn’t you know it – “Didn’t take a picture” just wasn’t on there. Nowhere.  Not anywhere on the list.  And I checked.  Twice.  [Call me Santa.]

This little chit-chat with myself was starting to feel like a conversation I have so often it makes me want to scream.  I’m going to use “X” here, but do note that “X” is almost always a female.

X: Well, I do jog.  But I’m not a real runner.
Me: Hm.  What do you mean?
X: Well, I’m not like you. I’m not a real runner.
Me: Well, do you run?
X: Well, kind of.  I jog.
Me: OK, I think random pace distinctions are stupid.  All joggers are runners, in my book.  How often do you run?
X: A few times a week, maybe 3?
Me: Ah.  And, how long/far?
X: Not long.  Just about thirty minutes or so.
Me: You run for about 30 minutes, three times per week?  Yup, it sounds to me like you’re a runner!  So stop selling yourself short, and own the description: runner.  Runner!

In some way/shape/form, most of us do this – likely, more than we realize.  Broadly speaking, women are especially good at it, as are Asians in general.  Under the guise of “modesty” or “not bragging”, we imply/suggest/joke/or outright state the we aren’t good, or aren’t good enough, or are actually downright bad.  Somehow, this has become a socially acceptable, amusing, and often admirable, habit.  But truth be told, I find nothing funny or attractive about it.  Instead, I find it annoying at best, and depressing at worst.

Of course, I’m not suggesting we all start bragging about everything we can do.  But maybe, just maybe, we should stop selling ourselves short and counting ourselves out of things that we are doing – and are doing well.

So I’m putting my foot down.  There shall be no more “bad” blogger, or pseudo-“bad” blogger talk from this space any more.  I’m a blogger.  I might even be a good blogger.  And if you find this blog’s content informative, interesting, and/or somewhat amusing, please do stick around.  And if you don’t? Well, you probably weren’t reading this post in the first place.  And that’s just fine.

So here’s my message for you today: Embrace who you are.  Be real, be honest, be active, and be genuine.  And please, whatever you do, don’t waste time and energy selling yourself short.

Let’s be warm and fuzzy for a moment.  Finish this sentence:
“I (meaning you) am an AWESOME blogger because _________.”

Any blogosphere pet peeves?  Come on, get ’em off your chest!

Five Links for a Friday

OK, maybe it’s not quite Friday for everyone yet, but here’s a random collection of Cool Things I’ve Seen on the Internet This Week, in no particular order and for your viewing pleasure.  If you are Facebook friends with me, some of these might be repeats.  Apologies.

1. A North Carolina State Ph.D. student turned linguistic data from around the United States into a pretty cool series of visuals.  I just can’t get them to embed (which is OK, because 22 is too many anyway, and you should really just click on the link).  Beyond the “soda” vs. “pop” debate, the graphics explore the many pronunciations of “syrup”, where people are wearing tennis shoes vs. sneakers, and what names are given to that big crowded road without stoplights.  If you’ve lived in the US for any length of time, go have a look. It’s fascinating!

2. I often struggle to find the right balance between being confident, humble, and modest.  I (and many people, especially women <— broad generalization, please don’t hurt me) tend to err on the side of “I’m sorry”.  All of which is to say, you should listen to this TEDx talk by Dyana Valentine about why she’s NOT sorry.  [Also, it involves chocolate covered potato chips.]

3. A former classmate of mine from Drew University is a mover and shaker in the Cambodian-based accessories company basik 855.  She and her team work with local artisans to produce traditional ikat (an intricate, locally-woven fabric) and turn it into trendy accessories.  The company is built on the basic tenant of respect for their artisans, and the belief that their labors should help them build a better life (ie, basik 855 pays fair wages and benefits to their employees).  Essentially, its an awesome mixture of socially-responsible entrepreneurship and chic accessories.  If you’re inclined, check out some of their products.  Pretty neat!

Mostly, I wanted to share the awesome work they do with you.  Optionally, you can also check out their Kickstarter campaign, which they are using to raise funds for their 2013 Fall line.  The link also includes a video where you can see the team, and learn a bit about their products.  [PS I’m not sorry for using my blog to help spread the word about their work!]

4. Sierra Trading Post.  It’s hit-or-miss (their inventory changes), but if they’re carrying something you already love, you can often get it for a pretty sweet price.  During their National Running Day sale on Wednesday, I managed to snag two Moving Comfort Alexis full-length tops, usually about $35-40, for just $20.  Keep your eye out for their free or 99¢ shipping offers, too.

5. Heck, I was gonna add a fifth, but it’s an almost-summer Friday (or almost-Friday).  So go out an enjoy yourself!!

What are you NOT SORRY about today?

Seen anything noteworthy on the internet lately?

Venus Run (2013): Race Report

“Graduate Women in Science!”
“International Women’s Day!”
“Venus Run!”

Ooof.  I am so conflicted over female-only events (scientific, sporting, and otherwise).  I think they can be valuable and, when done right, can prompt important discussions, allow more voices be heard, build confidence, and result in pleasant surprises and thought-provoking questions.  However, when done wrong – even just a little bit wrong – they can ignite complaints about reverse-sexism, and reinforce certain stereotypes that all progressive females would prefer to discourage.

Thus, I wasn’t quite sure what to think when I saw the Venus Run (sorry, Facebook link only) advertised on a Singapore running website.  But I was looking for a benchmark 5K (if you’re new here, I’m just getting back into racing shape after a year of casual running), and as you can read in my review of the Safari Zoo Run, that event gave me an approximate – but not great – 5K race pace estimate.  I figured that this Venus Run would offer a smaller field and less early-race congestion than any other 5K in Singapore.  Plus, I’m all about promoting fitness to…well, anyone, really.  So, I signed up.

To be honest, my initial impressions were not so good.  First, there was the shirt:

Venus Run Shirt (Front)

Venus Run Shirt (Front)

Venus Run Shirt (Back)

Venus Run Shirt (Back)

 

Personally, I’m not such a “pink and sparkly” kind of person.  And furthermore, the back of the shirt annoys me.  I am lots of things – most of which I chose and worked for – that aren’t related to my gender or the situation into which I was born.  So why am I defined (five times!) in relation to other people, before the shirt gets to “runner”?  Sure, I like being female – but being female has nothing to do with the other, significantly cooler/awesomer, things that I am.  [Do you think the Men’s Urbanathlon shirts from last year (before the event was open to both genders) read “Son / Brother / Boyfriend / Husband / Father / Runner”?]

And then, there was the sponsorship.  I understand that this kind of an event needs sponsors – and the same few companies (mostly running gear and hydration) are sponsoring basically all of Singapore’s running events.  Their absence (except for Moving Comfort – thanks, Moving Comfort!) leads me to believe that some of these big names aren’t interested/don’t see the value in sponsoring this kind of race.  <— Ridiculous, really. Women hold a LOT of purchasing power, folks.  And they’re going to dominate the Singapore running scene very soon – mark my words!  So I assume that the race went with the sponsors they could find.  I respect this – but do really hate to see event sponsors who are advocating a message that differs – I daresay even conflicts – with what a Women’s Run should celebrate: Women being fit, healthy, strong, empowered, and confident.  

I suppose that SHAPE magazine aims to help women get and stay fit.  But when I pulled the February issue out of my race pack and glanced at the cover stories, I saw “Beat Your Bak Kwa Craving”, “How She Lost 30 kg!”, “The #1 Secret of Skinny Women!”, and then…”15 Tantalizing Recipes He’d Love: Sirloin, lamb chops, chocolate pudding…”  Well, that message is coming across loud and clear: Ladies, get busy working out, beating your cravings, and losing weight.  You find that model-perfect body…and don’t forget to make sure there’s a hearty meal on the table when your man gets home!  [Please, somebody, send a rescue squad. I need to be saved from the double-standards here!]

Then, at packet pick-up (which, incidentally, went very smoothly on Sunday afternoon – no line at all!), there was exactly one booth set up: Proskins.  You can click the link if you want, but basically, Proskins makes compression apparel – apparel that, allegedly can “destruct fats, while toning and sculpting the body”.  The fabric is infused with micro-capsules of caffeine, retinol, Vitamin E, aloe vera, and fatty acids.  (Science friends, the claim is that these fatty acids will “yield large quantities of ATP, the perfect vehicle to improve the penetration of the active ingredients into the skin”.)  This will “help to reduce cellulite without the use of surgery or creams”.  Their “specific degree of compression” will “give a more even skin tone through the strengthening of connective tissues in the legs, buttocks and hips”.  [*cough*pseudo-science*cough*]

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m a big believer in compression apparel, which (in my experience) does increase stability, improve blood flow, and decrease fatigue.  But my Zensah, 2XU, and CW-X gear does all this without the micro-capsules of caffeine.  As an athlete, I do want to purchase products that will complement my training and help me achieve my athletic goals – but reducing cellulite and improving skin tone are not my primary goals.  And this is a run, for goodness’ sake.  Your audience already has at least one eye on exercising.  Can’t we capitalize on that (which will actually work), rather than this??  [And besides, I prefer to drink my caffeine, thankyouverymuch.]  

Needless to say, I wasn’t feeling so into the race when I rolled out of bed at 5:30 AM on Sunday.  In fact, I even admitted as much on Facebook:

“Feeling less than enthused about this race, for some reason.
PF, flying solo, early morning, too much sparkle…not sure which. Looking for some run-spiration!”

Crazy enough, one of my clients answered the call, posting back to me a motivational quote that had sent to her earlier in the week:

“Running is a big question mark that’s there each and every day. It asks you ‘Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?'” -Peter Maher, Olympian runner

 Well played, Maggie. Well played.  I love this job.

I know.  The hair is special.  It has an appointment later this week.

I know. The hair is special. It has an appointment later this week.

So, I got changed, applied Body Glide, ate 1 bowl minus 2 spoonfuls of cereal (pre-race superstition), and hopped on the bus.  I got off downtown, and enjoyed a gentle 1.5 mile jog to the race site, including a detour into the Bayfront MRT station for a restroom stop.  Despite having good port-a-potty experiences at previous races in Singapore, I’m always happy to use a free, open, off-site restroom.  Sorry, no port-a-potty review for this race.  I wonder if there would’ve been pink inside??

*ahem* Anyway – the race was staged at Marina Barrage – on the top of the building, which has been planted with grass, and is a popular local spot for picnics and kite flying.  It’s actually pretty cool.  See?

Marina Barrage.  Photo Credit.

Marina Barrage. Also note the green ramps. They’ll be important later. Photo Credit.

The weather was quite good – about 78°F (25°C) and humid, but overcast.  I brought my sunglasses, but (as you’ll see in the photos below), they stayed pushed up on my head for the whole race.

I arrived 20-30 minutes before the start.  I had decided not to carry my water bottle for the race, but after a 1.5 mile jog, my mouth was a little dry.  I tried to find an open water table for a drink.  I was unsuccessful, but figured I’d be fine for a race that would only take 20-25 minutes.  So, I stretched my calves, and made my way to the starting corral.

I had no idea what this race was going to bring.  Based on some recent issues with my plantar fascia, I knew I’d be holding back a bit.  I’d done a few test runs the previous week and found that, once my foot was laced into my sneaker, it didn’t really hurt while I ran.  I also couldn’t correlate short, easy runs to any increase in post-workout discomfort. So, I approved myself to run the race, and to run hard – but not to go all-out.  And if my foot so much as twinged, I planned to pull back and walk or jog.  I’m learning that the plantar fascia is fussy, though, so I knew that I would have to be flexible and work with whatever the day brought.

I squeezed and inched my way to the front of the corral, while a fitness team tried to lead us in a bouncing, jumping, stretching warm-up.  Thankfully, I’d already done my warm-up jog and stretch before cramming into the corral.  A few moments before the race started, my friend Grace (who blogs over at Genetically Challenged Athlete, and has her race report up there) tapped me on the shoulder.  I think the onus should always be on her to find me, as I stand a head above most of Singapore.  We chatted briefly, then I moved a bit further forward.  Seconds later, we were off.

I have to say: Starting near the front, and in a women-only run, was a lovely change from the congestion I experienced in our previous three races in Singapore.  The first 200-300 meters were downhill (my inner trail runner jumps for joy!), on the ramp off the roof.  I maneuvered around people a little bit, and by the time we hit the flat at the bottom and headed over the dam, there were only a few other people around.  I was freeeee!!!!!!!!!  Seriously, it felt awesome.

The leaders had taken off, and I tucked in with a few young ladies wearing red and yellow jerseys (local polytechnic team?).  We passed the 1 KM mark – the sign was missing, but a very nice volunteer was kindly shouting, “1 kilometer! This is the 1 kilometer mark!”  Good man.  I checked my Garmin periodically and saw readings under 7 min/mi pace.  This was faster than I’d expected, but my foot was feeling fine, and lungs/legs felt sustainable.  So, I went with it.  Honestly, Mile 1 was over before I knew what happened.

The course for this race was very similar to the middle half of the 10K race KMN and I had done a few weeks earlier (URun 10K OMB Challenge Race Report), so I knew what to expect.  Pretty soon, we made a loop of a parking lot (?), passed the halfway water stop, did a short out-and-back side jaunt, and rejoined the main path heading back to Marina Barrage.

Approximately the halfway point.  Photo Credit: Running Shots

Just after the halfway point. Photo Credit: Running Shots

For almost a mile in the middle, there were runners in both directions on the path.  Cones had been laid for about 2/3 of this distance – but I can’t figure out why they didn’t extend the whole distance.  At this point, the number of “going” runners was far greater than the number of “returning” runners.  I had enough space to run through smoothly, but there were a few times when the oncoming runners spilled over their (unmarked) “half” of the path.  This didn’t cause much of a problem – although it might have when both directions became full – and extending the cones might be a good idea in the future.

Once we hit this “return” section, I could already see the Marina Barrage.  Funny how something can be over a mile away, but look so close!  I don’t remember much from the middle mile – by the time we looped around and got back on the path, we were already nearing Mile 2.  I knew my splits were still around 7 min/mile, and I still felt pretty good.

When I’m all-out racing a 5K, the middle mile is always the hardest – but on Sunday, I hit the 2 mile mark without ever having that “I am never doing this again!” thought.  I tried to keep my leg turnover high, and my steady pacing was rewarded, as I started picking off more runners in the final mile.  We looped around to re-cross the bridge/dam, and I passed a few more on the (tiny) up-slope of the bridge.

Crossing the bridge/dam on the way back. Photo Credit: Running Shots

Crossing the bridge/dam on the way back. Photo Credit: Running Shots

We were routed around the Marina Barrage building, just as my Garmin hit 2.9 miles.  At that moment, I knew this race was going to be long(er than 3.1 miles!).  We circled the building, and I passed another one or two women, trying to shout some encouragement.  But I knew that, if they were struggling on the flat, the hardest part of their race still lay ahead: We had to climb back to the roof of the building!

At one point, leading up to the ramp, I think that the group of runners I was near detoured onto the grass a bit too soon – but there were no cones or volunteers to direct us, so we cut onto the grass, rather than staying on the sidewalk.  This was a blessing (lower impact), but also a curse (keeping your ankles stable on uneven ground at the end of the race).  I rallied my trail running experience, and we turned the corner onto the ramp.

At this point, I was pushing.  I hope my foot didn’t hurt, because I forgot to check.  I knew the finish line was at the top of the ramp, so I was GOING.  As I came around the final corner, I heard the race announcer calling the 10th woman through the finish, which put me around 11th or 12th.  Hmmm..not too shabby.

Ready to be done.  Boots would be proud of how I hugged that fencing through (and past) the sweeping curve.  Photo Credit: Running Shots

Yep, by the top I was ready to see the finish line.  Although, that final climb didn’t have ANYTHING on the end of Dirt Cheap Stage Race #3. Photo Credit: Running Shots

As usual, I forgot to stop my Garmin right away, so it clocked an extra 10-20 seconds, while I slowed, collected my medal, and cleared the Finishing Chute.  I took a bottle of water and a can of Aquarius sports drink, and headed back down the final ramp.  I knew the end of this race was a doozie, and I wanted to do what I could to help my fellow runners finish strong.

Cheering at races isn’t that common in Singapore.  I’ve played along for three races now, but I’m tired of it.  I love to cheer. I LOVE to encourage/watch/help other people cross a finish line, preferably with a smile.  So, I walked 1/3 of the way down the slope and cheered my head off.  Grace came down to join me, and for at least 20 minutes, we cheered a steady stream of runners up that ramp.  It. Was. AWESOME!!!

I love seeing tired faces crack a smile, or even a determined grimace, and keep moving.  I love seeing someone who’s slowing down push a little harder to maintain their pace.  I just want to run with every person who’s pushing up that hill, and whisper (or shout) in her ear, “You can do this!!!”  I want people – yes, especially women – to feel that power, and to experience the thrill of crossing that finish line.  To me, that’s what this kind of race is all about.

Have I mentioned that I love this stuff?

Despite my initial reservations, the race itself was great, and the day-of organization was solid.  They even provided childcare (although this wasn’t well-advertised before the race), and a children’s race after the adult’s 5K finished.  The awards went at least 10 runners deep.  The course was sufficiently marked and staffed.  Personally, I ran a surprisingly good race.  But the greatest high, for me, was standing on that hill, watching so much strength and power, and cheering it on.  I was born to do this.  

So from now on, once my race is over, you will find me (the tall, loud, ang moh girl) yelling like crazy somewhere along the final stretch of races out here.  Other runners, family and friends, cowbells, noise-makers, and kazoos are all welcome to join in the fun – so come find me!  Working together, we can change the way the last kilometer of a race looks, and feels.

Taking a quick peek at my numbers:

Mile 1: 6:59 min/ mile
Mile 2: 7:13
Mile 3: 7:03
Final 0.35 Miles: 7:26 (<— Includes my failure to stop my watch after crossing the finish line)

AVERAGE: 7:07 min/mile

Simple (and pink) Finisher's Medal.

Simple (and pink) Finisher’s Medal.

The final results will probably have a slightly more accurate time, but they haven’t been published yet.  Overall, I’m thankful that my foot let me run, and my body produced a decent time, despite two lighter weeks of running and very little speed training lately.  I’m thrilled that this is the pace that correlates with the effort I was giving.  Maybe all those hours on the spin bike are paying off?  All right, body, you’re now dabbling on the edge of “actually fast” again – it’s time to heal up this PF and really dive into some serious run training.

Would I do this race again?  I surprised myself by answer with a hearty, “YES”.  I don’t really need the pink, princess-y bits, but the organization was solid and I was able to run freely and easily, without being jostled about too much.  I’m learning this is a luxury at a Singapore race!  I know that women often find racing intimidating – and a Women-Only race can help allay some of those fears and is useful in getting more women out and participating.  So really, my only advice/suggestion/plea to the organizers: Think about the goals and values of your race, and the message you want to send to all of the women and girls in your lives – and vet your sponsors accordingly.

And with that, I’ll leave you with a photo of the post-race treat I enjoyed later in the day:

French Toast at relish.  Here's a more in-depth review of relish, from a previous visit.

French Toast at Relish. Here’s a more in-depth review of Relish, from a previous visit.

Edit: Ladies who ran, if your legs are feeling sore, check out my calf-stretching suggestions!   Stretches for other spots (including hips and under shoulder blades) will be up in the coming weeks!

And now…it’s your turn:

Other Venus Run participants: I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Please share!

What are your feelings on “Women-Only” type events (running or otherwise)?

What is the most delicious thing you ate this weekend?