Getting Wings

It’s a Wonderful Life; the perfect Holiday season movie, with a new double meaning for me. Of course one of the most memorable parts of the movie is about Clarence, the wing-less angel that saves George Bailey. As we learn during the movie, every time a bell rings, it’s a sign that an angel got their wings. Eventually Clarence gets his wings, and everyone lives happily ever after. While I’m no angel (I won’t even pretend that I am), I did find out that I will in fact, be getting my very own pair of “wings.”

For those of you that are scratching your heads, let me explain. No, I’m not getting literal wings, learning how to fly a plane, or anything of the sort. Rather, I’m one of the newest members of the Oiselle Running Team! If you’re wondering just what that is, they recently did an excellent blog post explaining what exactly it means to be an Oiselle team member. To make a long story short, I will be racing exclusively in Oiselle gear, essentially as an apparel ambassador.

Oiselle Team Badge

A little background: Oiselle (pronounced wa-zell) is a women’s apparel company started by Sally Bergesen that makes functional (and cute!) women’s running gear for the everyday runner that wants to, as they say, go fast and take chances. The name is French, and means “bird” (hence me getting my ‘wings’). I first stumbled upon Oiselle about a year ago on Twitter. I was immediately taken by their involvement in the online running community, quickly replying and engaging with followers. I even participated in their #FastFriday and won an Aero tank – my first piece of Oiselle gear! I immediately fell in love (hello shirt pocket!), and knew the brand was something special. It wasn’t until this past fall, though, that I realized they had a racing team, and that I could potentially be a member.

I’ve always been drawn to individual sports that have a common team goal, hence my 12 years of swimming. I was always competing with myself, but at the end of the day that competition was just a small part of a bigger picture; a team. While I’m an introvert by nature, I’ve always strived and thrived in team environments; there is just something special about a group of people that share the same passions and work towards the same goal, while ultimately bettering themselves. So after being team-less for 4 years, I was itching for that same feeling I had grown to love. Since I’ve hung up my swimming goggles for running sneakers, I was thrilled when I learned about Oiselle’s team. Just following the team interactions on Twitter had me enamored by the camaraderie and support the teammates provided one another. I knew deep down that it was just what I needed to take my running to the next level – that extra push to get me out the door when I don’t want to, and to confidently toe the line on race days.

Finding out that I made the team was the perfect way to end a tumultuous, but PR-heavy running year. I’m so excited to represent Oiselle at my upcoming races, and equally pumped to connect with and get to know even more awesome runners. I’m ready to go fast and take chances, with my wings out!

Snap, Crackle, Pop

Because a title like “Baby, you’re a firework” just wasn’t going to happen.

Wednesday morning marked my fourth year running Cranford’s Fire Cracker Four Miler. When I ran the race for the first time in 2009, it was my very first road race. I look back and laugh at how much of a novice runner I was; I rocked a pair of Nike Shox that were almost a year old, and somehow thought it was a good idea to wear a cotton swimming t-shirt to run 4 miles in July. The race went well because I had no expectations, and I finished in just over 36 minutes. The second year I knocked off another 2 minutes, and was again pleased with my time considering I was still on the early road to considering myself a “runner.” Then last year, the race marked the first day of official marathon training, and my husband ran with me. Somehow, I shaved off another 2 minutes, leaving me with a Firecracker PR of 32 minutes.

Throughout half marathon training this Spring, the majority of my 4 mile training runs were about 32-33 minutes. Sometimes, I even hit closer to low 31. So, I figured that as long as I didn’t fall, break a leg, or pass-out, I’d be able to PR again. Considering the apparent tradition of running 2 minutes faster each year, I was aiming for around 30 minutes. This race actually has categories you can sign up for, one of them being a spouse category (technically it’s labeled husband/wife, but I prefer to simply call it the spouse group). So, I thought it would be fun to sign up as a couple, and see how we would place. We looked up the results from last year, and we figured if I could keep around a 7:30 pace, we’d have a chance at placing in the top 3 for that category. Somehow, that’s just what I did.

Even though I started taking new medicine on Monday night, it hasn’t quite kicked in yet, and I was worried I’d need to make a pit stop on the course. Thankfully everything worked out and I was able to keep a 7:33 pace, crossing the line in 30:11. While my ultimate goal was to go under 30, I’m more than happy with the 30. I was able to keep my tradition of PRing by 2 minutes each year and scored 4th place in my age group, and the 28th woman overall! And, my husband ran it in 26 minutes, so combined we finished in 56 minutes – enough for a W in the husband/wife category! We scored ourselves a sweet medal, and two t-shirts (not quite sure what I’m supposed to do with the XL size shirt, though).

After waiting around for about an hour to get our medal, we went back to my parent’s house to down some bagels and coffee. It was the perfect way to start the 4th of July!