Friday, March 24, 2017

NAILED IT: Skirts Sports Savannah Photo Shoot 2017

So honored to have Nicole DeBoom in my life!
A few weeks ago I drove down to Savannah to meet up with Nicole DeBoom (CEO and Founder of Skirt Sports), Kim Cook (Photographer Extraordinaire), and Jen Allen (Creative Skirt and Phenomenal Boss of Everybody), to participate in an amazing photo shoot for the Spring 2017 line Skirt Sports line. Before this weekend, I only knew Nicole via our initial phone conversations and our podcast interview. Meeting her in person was really special.

And wow! 

First of all, what an honor to get to be part of the campaign to promote sports apparel on bodies of women like me that are typically not (but increasingly so) represented in mainstream media. Secondly, um, I think I could do this for a living! Running, photos, amazing people, good food, and clothes that I actually wear? SCORE.

Also, to be in the presence of such a visually talented genius--I mean, how much awesomeness can happen in one weekend?
An absolute master of her craft!
Day 1
We stayed at Nicole's parents' beautiful home, and were treated to yummy breakfasts, sumptuous treats throughout the day, and delicious dinners--can we say Three Sisters Chili? (VEGETARIAN! And it was excellent! Yeah...I know, right?)

We got up super early to eat, receive coffee intravenously, and put on our skirts and capris for the morning shoot at Delegal Marina, on the southeastern-most point of Skidaway Island. It was very cold and windy. The sun had risen and was just beginning to warm up random spots on the docks. But we "girls" were ready to brave it all. I mean, this was an incredible opportunity to share our joy and fullest expression of physicality in clothes that we loved, clothes that fit, and clothes that were functional. We jumped. We ran. We did yoga. We walked together, all bodies and all shapes.

The light was perfect. (Pocketopia Capri in Persevere Print)

We ran on the docks and balanced precariously on shaky piers to get cool shots. We shot in groups and individually. And just when we started to get a lil bit sweaty, it was time for snacks and a light lunch before doing a group workout on the soccer field near the community's clubhouse.

Jump squats! (Lotta Breeze Capri in Sidewinder print)

Then we headed to the Savannah Rails to Trails spot. It was still fairly windy but warmer as the sun had had a chance to heat up the air. There was tons of damage to the trail from the previous year's Hurricane Matthew, but even in it's not-perfect state, it was still a thing of beauty. We walked a mile down the trail following our intrepid photographer, to a spot that featured perfect lighting, tall palm trees whose fronds whipped in the strong breeze, and sparkling water on one side of the trail.

New friendship! (Happy Girl Skirt in Persevere Print)

We did some more solo and partnered runs up and down the trail, forming and solidifying brand new friendships. And then for the piece de resistance of the day, we headed to Tybee Island for some beach fun! We shot a bit at a local restaurant that was decorated with fabulous colors and props. Afterwards, when it was about 45 minutes until sunset, we headed down by the shoreline to run in the cold water, splashing out in our Gym Girl skirts. Getting the perfect shot isn't always easy. In fact, it never is. 

What a great group of ladies! (Gym Girl Skirt in Clarity print)

Again. Again. One more time. Now start there. Wait for the wave. Run in a straight line. Don't splash too much. Smile. Don't cover your face. Again. Again. Again. Again. One more time. Nailed it.

Finally, we hung out and shivered in the chilly ocean breeze watching as Nicole frolicked in the cold water with a level of energy that almost nobody could match, and Kim crouched with the wisdom and stability of a meditating Buddha. For hours.

When we were done, we headed to a local Japanese joint in Savannah for some sushi and teriyaki, chatting about this and that and stuffing our faces with vinegared rice, raw fish, miso soup, and steaming green tea.

Day 2

Another early morning filled with bowls of thick Noosa Yogurt, granola and fruit. Good thing Nicole's parents believe in coffee because there was plenty of that to go around too.

We all drove to River Street on Savannah's waterfront to catch the gorgeous sunrise. A couple of slow moving barges with stacks of containers bearing names like Hapag-Lloyd and Maersk reminded us that we were in the modern world even though the old brick walls offered a weathered and historical backdrop to our whimsical colors and prints. I delighted in hanging off the back of the metal stairs. Others ran the cobbled streets. All of us laughed, joked, and delighted in the chance to spend a warm morning by the river in beautiful clothing that told some of the story of who we are and what we each represented.

Had to get some Tough Mudder Training in somehow! (Wonder Girl Dress in Clarity Print)
While some of the other girls were shooting, I took the opportunity to head back to Nicole's parents' to do my 12 miler back on the flat roads and golf-cart paths of Skidaway Island. At around mile 6, I met at guy who asked me what I was training for and thus began a two mile long conversation about mountain climbing, training, and the extraordinary focus and vision of endurance athletes. What a gift it was to talk with this sage, this wonderful, wise human placed near me by the universe! 

Took at break at Mile 11.5 of my 12 mile run to hang out at a cute little park.
After getting back to the house, I showered and noshed on some carrots and hummus before meeting Nicole and Kim at another place on the island to greet the sunset. 

We shot more pics of me and Nicole running as the sun began its dip into the horizon. And then, right before it was done with its descent, Kim shot these stunning pics. No words.

We finished the evening back at the house with some Malbec for me and Kim, incredible veggie lasagna, and then some more Malbec. Nicole surprised us by wanting to record an "unorthodox" podcast, and so we obliged! You might even hear me sing a little Italian Opera....

Day 3

This final early morning before heading to the airport was for finishing up odds and ends, back on Skidaway. There were expansive views of the marshes and many gnats. Mostly, I observed and marveled at what a cool thing this whole operation was and how I was surrounded by and connected to all of these absolutely formidable women.  

A photoshoot. For a thriving, woman-owned-and-run sports apparel business. That caters to a diverse range of body types, athletic styles, and well,  humans.

Nailed it.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Confronting My Fears of Running Alone in the Woods

Are you someone who is afraid to run alone in the woods? I am, sometimes. I always seem to get spooked by some made-for-TV scenario I’ve conjured up in my very creative brain. That said, I love trails and I relish every moment I spend on them—that is, in a race with other people or while trail running with friends.
I’m finding that as I train for what will likely be the longest, most difficult event I’ve ever done the (Trans Rockies Run), that I have to do most of my training on trails if I am to be successful. And much of that training will probably be on my own.
I’ve decided to do an experiment. Over the next few weeks, I will work on confronting the fear that I have of running and hiking alone in the woods. And I'll write about it both here and in Women's Running Magazine.
How do you confront your fears when it comes to running?

Friday, March 10, 2017

Calling BS on BMI

I run. I jog. I hop and skip along roads and trails, and sometimes—albeit reluctantly—the track. Sometimes I trip over real roots and hurdle over imaginary ones. I find complete joy in the act of moving my body through nature, and even against the weak, ineffective breeze from my treadmill fan. I sign up for big races, wonder where my sanity has momentarily gone, and then do the big races and discover profound things about myself. I chafe under my bra on long training runs. My hands swell in the middle of 50Ks and I finish those same events with salt caked around my face. I am a runner.
I am a big girl, a big runner. A fat runner. After all, the name of my blog is Fat Girl Running. In it I hope to spread the word that being a larger person and running aren’t two mutually exclusive things or ideas and I hope that you will indulge me for a minute in exploring the idea of being a larger person and being fit.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

I Love My Legs

In celebration of International Women's Day and all of the intersections it has with the concept of body positivity , I'm going to talk about my body, because my body is a phenomenal piece of machinery. It should be recognized and honored as such. I love it.

Part of being a woman in today's world is constantly confronting societal expectations and aesthetic preferences around what a woman should look like and how we should dress and whether or not we should be spending time away from our families doing stuff we love and/or need to do. 

I spend a lot of time running. I choose to honor and respect my body. I choose to honor the gift of being a woman who runs.
I love to run. And I love my legs, what they can do, what they represent.

Beautiful, powerful women, with legs. 
I run because I need to be outdoors. I need to feel the sun on the back of my neck, or the gentle rain lightly landing on my already sweaty face. I thrive on this almost daily habit of being awakened by the smell of coffee from the percolator in the dark hours of early morning.  I run because the sensation of carrying my body over great distances on my own, big, strong legs is powerful. 
Power. My legs translate the power and strength given to me by my mother and passed on to both of us by my grandmother into forward motion. Energy. Momentum.

My dimpled thighs are wide and brown, my calves thinner and chiseled. Together, they work to propel me forward. Most of the time, their muscles, even when hidden, prevent me from falling and hold me steady. If I do fall, they offer padding and flexibility. Finally, they offer the ability to stand up again. And they continue on their path, my path.
I went out on a run this morning with some friends. The sun was a brilliant yellow and the sky was a sharp blue. We celebrated being women, practicing self-care, and honoring our bodies
My legs carry me, and I carry the wisdom and love given to me by the women in my life onward.