It’s International Women’s Day, and while the day is politically charged, I figure I’d give you a lighter read.
You may already know that I’ve been running since I was a wee-young-gal of fourteen. When I was a teenager, I learned what a track workout was, what a “good” 5k time was, and the excitement (and sheer terror) or race day. Above all, though, I learned the camaraderie of a group of women.
Cross country and track aren’t contact sports, but they are team sports. I joined the team with friends, but that didn’t compare to how much those friendships evolved and how many new ones formed. We may not all be close anymore, but I always associate running –the trail and the track — with friendship and support. With that being said, here is my list of inspirational women in my running, that I may or may not personally (so don’t be creeped out that this random girl on Instagram is writing about you).
Beginning with the 2004-2008 Trumbull High School Cross Country, Indoor and Outdoor track teams.
Alina Guzman (@alinochkaa)
Alina is my #1, ride or die best friend forever. You will soon get the chance to hear all about our antics (hint-hint-wink-wink), but till then — what you should know is, without this youngin’ I wouldn’t be the race-a-holic I am now. We both love race day, carboloading, and a really solid medal (and medal in the sky pic). We have matching half-marathon PRs because we’re obsessed with each other.
Liz Demcsak (@fitbrooklyn)
Liz was one of my good friends at my first adult job at Salesforce. I was immediately obsessed with Liz. She was the cooler, older, spunkier member of the marketing team and she even wore wedges and lived in Williamsburg. We instantly clicked and even got matching rings. Because Liz wasn’t cool enough ALREADY, she casually dropped that she had run the NYC marathon and wanted to run it again. I was like, ‘wait what?’. So I watched Liz log runs (before it was cool to post about it on Instagram) before and after work. This girl would run commute home which I thought was the most OUT THERE thing in the world. Because I idolized Liz so much I signed up for my first half marathon. I ended up not running this one, but whatever. Since then, I’ve been at many starting lines with Liz (but never together because we suck at coordinating), and she is always my sounding board on all things running. This year we’ll be running the NYC marathon together.
Dorothy Beal (@mileposts)
If you’re a woman and not following @mileposts, just go do it before you keep reading. Dorothy is such a cool person (not creepy at all to say, right?). She started the #Irunthisbody movement as well #ihaverunnersbody — which are two super important messages. Dorothy is a mom, a fast runner and a real person. She has really good runs and tough ones and isn’t afraid to share both. Currently, Dorothy is sharing a super important story on our bodies. Are super perfect runner bodies. Read it.
Ali Feller (@aliontherun1)
I found Ali’s Instagram last year when I was reading a Well + Good article. I clicked through to her author page and 2 hours later, somehow found myself 2 pages deep into her personal blog. Ali was local NY-er, so I could relate to a lot of her running sceneries, race recaps and she just had a really fun writing tone. I met Ali at the NYC marathon, which was super special for a few reasons – 1 – it was Ali on the Run 2 – we were both in the VIP tent because we’re both very fortunate and 3 – up until the week (maybe day) before, Ali wasn’t sure she was going to run the marathon at all because she was going through a rough time with a chronic illness. I was so genuinely happy to see her there and was so excited to tell her that! I had been religiously following her updates on her blog and really rooting for her recovery, and a speedy one. Even though I don’t “know know” Ali – if you’re a runner and like to smile and also like to cry – follow her. She has podcast out, and it’s so, so good. Also, her dog is SO cute.
Jen Miller (@jenamillerrunner)
Jen Miller is another one of my insta-runner inspirations. I actually found Jen on the world wide web when I was in my pre-first-marathon panic, which lasted the entire month of April 2016. My first marathon was the New Jersey Marathon, which is just adjacent to some major marathons, but in itself is actually pretty low-key. Because of that, there isn’t a lot of hype-up content online for the race. Jen is a NJ native and this race was one she had written really fondly about. I must’ve read this piece 6-8 times before the marathon. Running that grueling course I would relive excerpts from the recap and suddenly felt that even though I was one of a mere 1,300 running this race, I was a star. Jen has several books and also wrote this awesome piece for the New York Times. Hi Jen!
Lindsey Hein (@lindseyhein626)
Ali and Lindsey are kinda connected in a weird little way for me. I found Lindsey’s podcast because Ali was a guest at the end of 2016. I listened to it on a long commute from Connecticut. I had many long commutes to and from Connecticut early this winter when my grandfather had a stroke. After long hours spent in a hospital, or crying, or both – listening to Lindsey’s podcast really chilled me out by the time I walked back into my apartment. But, enough about me. Lindsey Hein is from Indy and has a podcast “I’ll Have Another” where she features really interesting women in running, and beyond. Her conversations are so easy and she’s been in my ear on every long run I’ve had this year. She’s a #boymom and she doesn’t sugar coat that being a mom, wife, runner isn’t always easy but is always worth it.
Oh – where do I begin? My mom is not my biggest fan when it comes to running. Yet, somehow, she is. When I tell my mom I ran an 8 minute mile, instead of congratulating me, she tells me to be careful and not to hurt myself. The night before my first half marathon she kept telling me to not push myself and ‘not be a hero’. Honestly, a lot of my running life was kind of in the dark from my mom because I knew she’d lean into full mom-mode and tell me to back off. That all changed when my mom came to see me run the NYC marathon. We missed each other on the course (I know, cry face x 100), but when we reunited and I showed her my medal I could tell how genuinely excited she was for me. I was so proud to make her feel that way. Also, she always knows how to ground me. Literally ground me. When I’m really struggling when I shouldn’t be, I remind myself to ‘not be a hero’. I think she knows she is mine.