Skirt Sports Blog

Serving Up Your Cup; Let's Talk Boobs

Posted by Noelle Wilson on 09/01/2015 01:56:00 PM | 0 Comments Authors, Inspiration, Run

As we approach the Skirt's 11th Birthday Boobie Run, we've realized there's so much to say about our boobs when it comes to many facets of our lives.  Do you remember puberty and the growing pains?  How about your first bra?  Pregnancy and nursing, well we all know what that does to your boobs!  How about as we get older?  It seems like for so many of us as our age goes up, our boobs go down!  We've had emotional times with breast cancer, mastectomies and implants.  So much revolves around our boobs, and so we've asked members of our Skirt Family to chime in about their boobs, here's what they've had to say...

Kim P. "My daughter and I were just discussing this yesterday as she struggled to find 34D bras. She wishes hers were smaller. I wish mine were bigger. I am a 36B. The struggle is real."

Jessica S. "I never paid much attention to my boobs until I started my fitness journey more than 10 years ago - I was so upset to see them shrink as I lost weight! Why is it that they're the first to go?! From time to time I wish they were a bit bigger or perkier (losing 100+ lbs definitely didn't help there), but as I get older I realize they're perfect the way they are - just like me!"

Marilou D. My "boob acceptance" story: "I'm on the small side. When my 1st husband and I split he valiantly announced "Marilou, I know you don't cook and can't sing so I'll tell you what - I'll buy you a pair of boobs so you can find a new husband". I looked down at my chest and decided I liked what God had given me. At that very moment I realized how shallow he was and how lucky I was that he had decided to move on. (btw, I declined the new boobs, recently started cooking, still don't sing and am married to the most wonderful man ever)"

Nicole B. "When I was in high school, I was constantly teased for my huge knockers & I felt like that was all anyone would see when they looked at me. I started running when I was 18, and my breasts finally settled at a more comfortable size for my for my body. Even though these 34c's are still on the "larger" size -> I definitely don't care like I used to and I'm very happy for my body and the strength it has...big boobs and all! I can happily thank running for helping me find comfort in my own skin!"

Helen D. "I have always wished mine were smaller and think that even more since I've been a runner. I'm a 36D or DD depending on how bad my diet is at any given moment. (It's a blessing/curse that extra weight zooms right to my boobs!) For real though, my running bra is more important to me than even my shoes. When I travel to a marathon I make sure to carry my favorite sports bra and my marathon skirt in my carry on bag because I can replace anything else at the expo but not those two things. I'm jealous of the women who can wear the cute strappy running tops that are out now but I also like that I am a curvy hourglass and look pretty good in lots of other clothes so it's a tradeoff I'm mostly OK with."

Jennifer T. "I come from a family of large chested women...however I can barely fill an A cup. While I always thought I'd look better with bigger, I was born with small boobs for a reason. I learned this while nursing - big boobs and I were not a good fit. I decided I was grateful for my barely-there's and came to love never having to worry too much about them."

Montana R. "I've been self conscious of my boobs for a while, but I think that's because literally all of my friends have big boobs and I have smaller ones. I haven't noticed a change in them since I started working out and my boyfriend is happy with me the way I am so I've learned to accept them. I'm a 34B."

Deb M. "I'm fine with my size...their aim, though, is just one more thing that makes my life like a sitcom. My husband says if they were guns, his toes would be shot off by the right one thus I'm continually having to hike that one up so the headlights are aimed in the same direction! Here's lookin' at ya!"

Siobhan M. "My boobs have been on a downward trend since college. I was a full C in college, but also heavier than I am now....The real change came after I had my daughters, not an unusual story I'm sure, but I have dropped almost 2 cup sizes since having children! I am now a wimpy B cup...probably could get away with an A cup. My changes have come about from nursing both daughters and also getting in shape. I have dropped 2 dress sizes since having my daughters, exercising and eating with more purpose and awareness. I'm okay with my deflated, 'ski-slope' boobs because it symbolizes dramatic, positive change in my life!

Jamie M. "I used to be a happy size A. After birthing and breastfeeding two babies, I'm a D. Yes, D. As in DAMN. On a positive note, they're still perky-ish; they're not hanging down to my knees."

Pahla B. "I often joke that I got my first training bra in sixth grade...and I can still fit into it! I used to wish my boobs were bigger - I even seriously looked into plastic surgery in my early 30s - but the more miles I run and the more gravity is claim its due on the rest of my body, the happier I am not to be saddled with a huge rack. They were perky enough to land me a fabulous husband and bountiful enough to feed my babies, so they're good enough for me! And on a much more serious note: both my mother and sister are breast cancer survivors, so I am grateful beyond measure that mine are small enough for very easy (and frequent!) self-examination."

Erika H. "I used to think I wanted bigger boobs, but after spending 6+ years pregnant and nursing with a full size D, I was thrilled when my boobs went back to their usual barely a C size. I will never again look enviously at women with real cleavage."

Tiffany P-M. "I always hated my DDs growing up and then I nursed my 3 children each for 18 months and now I at least feel like I got my money's worth out of them with all the money I saved not buying formula. Now I at least respect them!"

Sandy S. "I don't really think about my boobs much, but I swear my husband thinks about them 24/7. After nearly 20 years of marriage he still acts like a teenage boy around them. Sure, they used to be a little perkier, but my 38C's they always make him smile.

Joy G. "I liked my size B's, until running came into my life. I went from a B to a WTF? AA!! I got implants after a lot of research and have been happy with them. As I get older I really wouldn't care if I have them or not. I'd be ok either way."

Kristen G. "I have mad love for the "girls"! They may not be as perky as they used to be, but heck, neither am I!" ;)
August 19 at 5:25pm · Like · 2

Kim R. "Pre pregnancy, I was a C and pretty happy with my size. After baby #1, I gained two cup sizes that never went away even at a size 4! After baby #2, I was a size J! I didn't even know 36J was a size. I had to order my bras from the UK since I couldn't find my size in the U.S. After some weight loss, they didn't shrink, so my doctor recommended a reduction. it was the best $8,000 I've ever spent! Running with a C cup is more comfortable and sports bras no longer cause chafing! my breast size used to hold me back, now I can enjoy running again!

Anne M. "I used to always get teased by people/family that I had no boobs. Once in college I even got a bottle of Prell Shampoo in a box from my mom and my brother had written "Go from flat to fluffy" on it. Suddenly, when I was about 28 or so, I got boobs. They're a good size and can look awesome or kind of 'meh' depending on my current weight situation! I'm lucky that I don't seem to lose them like others do when they lose weight!"

Lisa W. "When I joined the cross-country team in high school, I realized a "jog" bra was mandatory! Gotta protect the girls! Today, I use the Skirt Sports bra collection for all my cleavage-corralling needs!"
   
Aleasha L. "For my first thirty years, I thought someday I'll buy a nice REAL set. Two kiddos later, I can't seem to set aside training to get those girls. Skirt Sports Everyday bra conceals my concave *headlights and gives them a little boost to feel like I'm a true A cup."
*Headlights after nursing two kiddos are now fog lights but that's just semantics.

What can you tell us about your boobs?  Running and breast health is so important and the Skirt Sports product line includes a Sports Bra for all shapes and sizes.  We know that a good jog bra is essential so come join us for our 11th Birthday Virtual Run and celebrate your boobs with a free Skirt Sports bra from Skirt Sports!  The Skirt Sports Boobie Run.

 

 

September Eating Experiment - Food Awareness Month

Posted by Noelle Wilson on 09/01/2015 12:02:00 PM | 1 Comments Authors, Inspiration

I'm excited to announce my September Eating Challenge. I'm calling it Food Awareness Month – and I'm scared to death about it! You see, I'm a snacker. All day every day. I constantly munch. Just ask my teammates. It’s a non-stop stream of snacks to the point where I forget I'm eating.

I decided that it would be a "fun" experiment to see how many, and what kinds, of calories I'm putting into my body.  I put a shout-out on Facebook and my community highly recommended the MyFitnessPal app.

I uploaded the free app and set my goal: Maintain my weight. This is not a weight loss challenge for me, but rather, a potential eye opener. With my height (5'7"), my weight (140ish), and my activity level (very active!), I can apparently eat 2,380 calories a day.

Is this a lot? Will I be stuffed or starving? Michael Phelps supposedly eats 12,000 calories a day. This actually doesn't seem that high to me, based on the fact that I am allowed to eat 20% of his intake and he probably works out five hours more per day than I do!

So while it will be interesting to learn what my general caloric intake is, even more interestingly and definitely more importantly, will be what KINDS of calories I’m eating. In other words, am I getting the right variety of nutrition to keep my 43 year old body happy and healthy for the long haul?

Who wants to do this with me? I'll write a weekly blog about my trials and tribulations and invite you to comment and post on FB. If I get my act together, I'll try to post my results daily – serious transparency here. And please feel free to friend me on MyFitnessPal.

Who else is ready to put yourselves out there for FOOD AWARENESS MONTH? It's great timing before Candy Month and Holiday Gluttony descend on us!

I live, love, and run in Boulder

Posted by Noelle Wilson on 08/31/2015 04:39:00 PM | 0 Comments Authors, Inspiration

"You will never be a runner," is what I remember being told by a doctor when I was in junior high.  I was willing to accept this fact as the doctor also pointed out to me that I have a weird bone deformity in my leg that would prevent me from being a good runner.  Apparently, it's heredity, as I have a relative who also has this condition.  And oddly, the one trophy I have received in my life is "Most Improved Runner" from my '84/'85 junior high school year. This shocked me probably as much as it did my classmates whose mouths completely dropped open at the thought of my getting any sports-related trophy.  Shall I also mention that co-ed gym class was absolute hell for me, and I was always one of the last teammates picked? Well, you probably get the idea.  I readily accepted the fact that a good runner is a fast runner, and if one cannot be a fast runner, what was the point of running?  I was a skinny, klutzy kid with no natural athletic ability whatsoever.  At my parents' insistence, I did try different sports, and running became just one more sport that I failed at.   I concluded that I just wasn’t an athlete.
Fast forward to my early thirties:  I had two very little kids, pregnancy wreaked havoc on my body, and my husband, who has always been athletic, was running some 10k races.  I knew I couldn't run; so, I was enjoying participating by walking in running races, usually pushing a stroller.  I would see friends running and would explain how the doctor told me that I couldn't run and about the weird bone deformity as to why I couldn't run.  Yadda. Yadda. Yadda…  But, I enjoyed being at the races, and I enjoyed walking them, since, of course, I couldn't run.  But after I had my third child, I started feeling really depressed.  I didn't want to talk about it to anyone, not even my husband.  It was my pain and I suffered through it alone. What it came down to, aside from the added pressure of looking after three, small children, was that I hated how I felt and I hated the image of the woman looking back at me from the mirror.  I had always been thin before the pregnancies, but I no longer recognized myself.  I hated the weight gain and I hated myself for having gained the weight of three pregnancies.  I was 37 yrs. old, in a bad place, and I knew that it really came down to two choices, either embrace the status quo or do something to change it.  
I chose to do something.  I went to the gym.  I would ride the exercise bike for thirty minutes, congratulate myself for having made it to the gym, go home, and then not go to the gym until maybe a couple of weeks later.  That clearly wasn't working.  But, one day when the stars aligned correctly and I was able to pack up the small folks and put them all in gym daycare, and I was riding the bike, I happened to glance across at the treadmills.  People were actually running on them, and it didn't look too painful, really.  And I dared to ask myself the question:  Can I do that?  Yeah, I know I can't run, but, can I do that?  I've heard the saying that if one believes one can do something, one can.  I disagree.  One doesn’t have to believe, one just has to make room for the possibility.  Can I do that?  This question was my epiphany, my Aha! moment, and it changed my life.  I have asked myself that question many times since then, and as it turns out, there is a heck of a lot that I can do and have done since that day--half marathons, adventure races, etc.  But, I get ahead of my story.
I casually wandered over to the treadmill.  Can I do that?  How does it work?  How does one turn it on?  Am I going to look as stupid as I feel right now?  After some fiddling with the treadmill’s controls, I walked for five minutes.  Really, it wasn't that difficult.  But there were other people running.  Can I do that?  No idea.  Am I brave enough to try it?  I upped the pace and ran, slowly, for two whole minutes.  It felt like a lifetime, but I did it.  Then I walked again for a bit.  But something happened that day that hadn’t occurred with every exercise program that I attempted and ultimately failed at.  I actually wanted to do the treadmill again, and I wanted to run.  And this time, and God only knows why, it didn't take me a whole month to get back.  I was back a day or two later, and for a while, I would walk for five minutes, run for two, walk another five, etc.  And then, I wondered, Can I run for five minutes? And eventually, Can I run for ten minutes?  Ten minutes lasted for all of eternity.  No joke, it was tough, but I did it.  And then, who was this person, really?  Can I run for thirty minutes?  Can I do that? I had no idea, but I was willing to make room for the possibility. The treadmill certainly wasn’t my friend, more of a grudging acquaintance, but I was intrigued by it and what I was accomplishing on it.  I knew that I couldn't run, but, hey,  I just ran thirty minutes on that blasted treadmill!   Epiphany!  I was hooked!  I was losing weight and facing my reflection in the mirror wasn’t quite as unbearable as it had been before.  I felt so much better than I had in such a long time, both physically and mentally.  But, what next?  
I started my treadmill experiment in October, and it was probably March when I read about the inaugural Frank Shorter's Race 4 Kids' Health 5k, taking place in April (Frank Shorter won the Olympic Gold Medal in Marathon at the 1972 Games.  I have since met him on several occasions and have a couple of photos with him.).  And I asked myself, Can I run a 5k without walking any of it?  No idea.  But, with some newly-born surge of optimism, I chose to sign up.  My first running race that I actually intended to run!  Imagine that.  Based on the treadmill time (I had never tried running outside before.), I thought I might be able to finish a 5k in thirty-seven minutes.  Race day came, and I was both nervous and excited.  My husband, who was very supportive in my new endeavor, drove me to the race. He and the kids hung out on the playground while I ran and they cheered me at the finish.  And I finished it.  I ran.  The whole way.  Didn't stop until the end.  And I ran it in 31:18 minutes!  I was stoked.  I worked really hard to achieve that, and I had no one guiding me, no one coaching me.  Absolutely no clue as to what I was doing, but I did it my way, completely on my own, and for me, it needed to be this way.  No one was ever again going to tell me that I couldn’t run.  Granted, it wasn't fast.  I wasn't going to qualify for the Olympic trials.  But that didn’t matter. What I did learn that day had me completely astounded:  I was a middle-of-the-pack runner.  I had no idea.  I suspected that I would be among the last to finish the race, but not so!  It was a revelation, and I embraced it.  I was completely okay with being a middle of the packer, and I still am. I proved to myself that very day that I was most definitely a runner.  
Since then, I have completed many 5k's and 10k's, some that I took seriously, and some that I did for fun with my family.  I have completed eight half marathons; my PR is 2:08, and I am still hoping to break that one of these days.  I ran on a Ragnar Colorado team, and I have completed the Mt. Evans Ascent.  I joined an awesome running & social group in 2011, Revolution Running, formerly known as Bold Running.  RR has become a second family to me with so many supportive and encouraging friends.  I am also part of Women Who Run the World, Boulder Moms Run This Town, and a regular at the monthly Skirt Sport clinics.  And, yes, I have had some setbacks and running injuries, but my passion for the sport remains.  What started as a question for weight loss and sanity has become a lifestyle.  Running is my therapy.  I pound the roads and trail when I’m happy, when I'm greatly annoyed, and when I'm feeling down, and as a part of weight management.  I've long since broken up with the treadmill:  I much prefer the adventure of the open road where every stick is a snake until proven otherwise.  And, when I am not running or running races, I am often either working at or volunteering for running events.  I love talking about running to just about anyone who will listen to me.  And, I love listening to others’ running stories, as well.   After all, it has changed my life.   I truly believe that running saved me.  And, I love representing Skirt Sports as an ambassador, telling about the cute running clothes that make us feel good when we’re wearing them, encouraging others, especially women, to run, or to at least be open to the question, Can I do that? I live, love, and run in Boulder, CO.  Cheers & Happy Running!

Ironman; Not Just a Dream

Posted by Noelle Wilson on 08/28/2015 04:40:00 PM | 0 Comments Authors, Inspiration, Run

I've never been the greatest athlete.
 
I've played different sports over the years – basketball, volleyball, softball, hockey – but I've never been the best or anywhere near the best player.
 
After college, when my team sports days were over, I decided to start running. It wasn't anything big or long, but something just to get me moving. The summer I graduated, the neighborhood decided to put on a local 5K race for the Fourth of July. I decided, why not, let's run it. It was painful and awful (part of it *is* the course), but I loved it. Ran it again the next year and dropped four minutes off my time.
 
A year later, a friend of mine talked me into doing a sprint triathlon with her. It was a rough summer, but that race was the one clear bright spot. I was in love.
 
I also thought, because of my bunions, I'd probably never move beyond the 5K distance.
 
However, I started going longer. A four mile turkey trot here, the Cherry Creek Sneak five-miler there. Graduating to the 10K, and then the Olympic distance triathlon. Signing up for the seemingly impossible, "the half-marathon".
 
Long distance triathlon, the 70.3 and the 140.6, started to seem like a possibility. Little did I know, the Ironman seed was planted. I raced my first 70.3 up in Boulder in 2011. I was down near the bottom of my age group, but it was the most amazing experience. Blogging my race recap, I wrote that I totally wanted to do a full and that it would probably be Arizona in 2013. The dream was planted; a page ripped out of a magazine on IM Arizona stuck on a wall (and then on a fridge when I moved).
 
There's a quote that fueled me much of 2013 – "If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough." Ironman was definitely a big enough dream, because it TERRIFIED me.  My swim is definitely my weakness and making that 2:20 swim cut was not going to be guaranteed. However, I made crossing that finish line a mental game. I knew there was a possibility I wouldn't finish the race, but I wanted to do everything in my power to make my dream of finishing something I could control. I made it a mental game. I'd never say, “if I cross” – only “when I cross.” Eventually, the training came around and provided a foundation for those words.
 
On November 17, 2013, with just under 65 minutes before the cutoff, I crossed the finish line of Ironman Arizona. A dream that I had cultivated since 2011 come true (in Skirt, of course - love my Race Belt Skirt!).
 
Ironman, though accomplished, is still big and scary ... especially when one considers doing two in one year, about two months apart. That's my next big dream for 2016.
 
Dreams are achievable. Often times, they seem giant and impossible, but remember – they're supposed to. Chase them, because the feeling you have when you accomplish a dream is unlike anything else and completely, utterly worth it.

Nursing, Running, and the Milk Machine Breakup

Posted by Noelle Wilson on 08/26/2015 11:28:00 AM | 0 Comments Authors, Inspiration, Run

My husband and I always wanted more than one child.  When I was pregnant with our second, we didn't have too many conversations about preparing for life with two kids.  We just didn't realize how different life with two would be, and I definitely didn't realize how much more emotionally, physically, and mentally challenging nursing my daughter would be than it was nursing my son.

My daughter is baby number two, and as a new mom when my son was born, I didn't know to savor every single moment with him.  But this second time around was different.  I took it ALL in, and I gave it my ALL. My daughter was exactly one month old when she looked up at me, burped, and smiled her first intentional smile.  She wasn’t much older than that when she started cooing while nursing.  Shortly after that she started to pull away while still latched on and look up at me, smile, and turn right back to what she was there for.  As she got older, sometimes she would latch on, my milk would let down, and she'd pull off getting a face full of milk before realizing this was not a game she'd win.  Then she bit me and made me cry...more than once.  I was so thankful that she was still nursing when, at exactly one year old and despite the vaccine, she got rotavirus and all she had for six days was my milk.  Each moment, regardless of the emotional high or physical pain it brought me, it tugged at my heart harder and harder knowing these were some of my lasts.

I didn't start running until my daughter was ten months old. It was easier not to than to consider all that stood in my way: timing, naps, hunger and thirst, wet spots (not sweat spots). And so I didn't...for ten months. Then I found the Kick Start Program with Skirt sports; I was paired with an amazing motivator (she is one bad-ass nursing runner mama) who understood all of my barriers to running, and she helped me learn how to overcome them. 

Once I started running again, I was addicted.  I continued to struggle with proper support and the cost of a good sports bra.  Some bras (regardless of nursing) made me feel squeezed or pinched or jiggle-y.  It took a few tries, but I finally found a bra that Skirt Sports makes (the Kelly Bra) and I could easily undo the straps so it was sort of like a nursing bra.  

As I hit the one-year milestone of nursing, I was a mess.  I was still pumping twice a day at work, and I could see the day that I was going to break up with my pump.  I had such a love/hate relationship with my "milk machine" (words of my 3 year old) that the thought of breaking up with my pump put me in tears.  I read a blog post that Nicole DeBoom wrote about her breakup and realized I wasn't the only one experiencing that love/hate relationship.  It helped.  But I cried, a lot, as I processed the breakup. I developed a new love/hate relationship with my running stroller.  I could sense my daughter was weaning herself, and I felt at ease with it.  She weaned herself at 15 months and one week; I was perfectly content. I felt liberated. My body was MINE again.  

My babies are healthy, lively, active, LOUD, loving, and very happy children.  And I'm thankful every day that my body was able to give them the nourishment that they needed in their first days, months, and year.  For me, the Boobie Run is a celebration of the lives that my girls nourished and is a reminder for me to celebrate ME.  As a full time working mama, it's all too easy to put myself last and to forget about my needs because someone else is crying louder.  But what I've learned since getting back into running after having my two kids is that if I’m taking care of myself mentally, emotionally, and physically, my whole family is happier. 

BRCA: A Journey to Running

Posted by Noelle Wilson on 08/11/2015 01:28:00 PM | 0 Comments Authors, Inspiration, Run

I knew that I would face breast cancer sometime in my lifetime. My mother is a survivor; my grandmother was a survivor. And although it wasn't something that we talked about, I just knew that at some point, fighting and beating breast cancer was something that I would do. Turns out, I was right-just not in the way I expected.

Several years ago, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer for the third time. That is not the type of news anyone gets used to hearing. As my mother began to move through her treatment, her doctors suggested that she get tested for the BRCA gene mutation. It was not surprising when we learned that she did indeed have the gene mutation. Through further tests, I learned that I had inherited this gene mutation from my mother.  When one parent carries the gene mutation, each child has a 50% chance of inheriting the mutated gene.  In my family's case, I inherited the mutation, my sister did not, and my brother has yet to be tested.  Although it may seem that it isn't important for my brother to be tested, there are health implications for him as well as potential implications in the future health of his two young daughters.

So, what does that mean? Very simply, BRCA genes are responsible for producing tumor-suppressor proteins. A mutation on these genes means that the suppressor proteins will not work correctly, and therefore, the likelihood of tumor growth is increased. My BRCA mutation increases my risk of breast cancer by anywhere from 50% to 85% and ovarian cancer by 25% to 47%. In addition to an increased risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer is the risk of developing these cancers at a much earlier age.

As the shock of my diagnosis began to wear off and the news of my genetic status began to sink in, my thoughts turned from, "Why me!?" to, "Okay, what now?" What came next was the hard part. Through many discussions with my care team and lots of careful thought, we came up with a plan to manage my risk. We decided to go with prophylactic surgeries. In no way was this an easy decision. I was terrified. But I know myself and my emotional ability to live with the fear of developing cancer. The decision is highly personal, but I know this was the right choice for me.

And so, in February 2011, I started down the path to beat cancer. I had a double mastectomy, reducing my risk of cancer by 95%. Then I began the process of breast reconstruction, which took three months from start to finish. In May 2011, my tissue expanders were exchanged for silicon breast implants. Two years after that, I had my final risk-reducing surgery, removing my ovaries and fallopian tubes. The up side was a drastic decrease in my risk of ovarian cancer. The down side was immediate and complete menopause. As many of my older Skirt Sisters will attest, menopause is no joke!

I will not sugarcoat my experiences and say it was a breeze. Neither the decisions nor the surgeries were easy at all. There were lots of tears, lots of feeling sorry for myself, and for a time, a feeling of deep mourning and helplessness. What turned it around? My sense of humor definitely helped. But what it comes down to, I can say with all honesty, is that running saved me.

Before all this, I wasn't a runner. I was an occasional exerciser, but I never, ever considered running. Not long after my first surgery, I was asked to participate in a research study for BRCA+ patients. The study examined the link between estrogen production and exercise, and as part of the data collection, I was required to exercise 300 minutes per week. I started to walk, and eventually my walks became shorter and then gradually there were longer runs. Running sparked something vital in me and began to heal grief that I had pushed so deep, I didn't even know it was there. My body healed first, and as it got stronger, my spirit began to heal as well.

Almost a year to the day after my first surgery, I ran my first half marathon! Crossing that finish line was life-changing and life-affirming for me. I connected to my power and my strength again. Running continues to inspire and heal me. Being involved in my local running community has become a core part of my life, not only offering me support, but allowing me to step up and give back as well. My BRCA gene mutation took many things from me, but in return, it gave me running. And that is a silver lining if I have ever seen one!

A note from Skirt:

Amy is such an inspiration and motivation to so many women and we thankfully have Amy as not only a Skirt Ambassador but a Kick Start Motivator.  Thank you Amy for all you do!

Moving Through Breast Cancer

Posted by Nicole DeBoom on 08/10/2015 12:00:00 PM | 1 Comments Authors, Inspiration, Run

When my mom was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer 3 years ago I assumed that I would one day have to deal with breast cancer also.  What I did not realize is that it would be a short 3 years later, and I would only be 33 years old.  
I wasn’t doing a breast self -exam nor was I at the doctors when I found the lump.  I was showering... just soaping up and felt a lump in my left breast.  I didn't think I had felt it before but I was not sure.  I never really paid attention.  I was only 33, I had years till I had to worry about anything like that!  But since I did feel something I made an appointment with my doctor to have it checked out and then my doctor decided to send me for an ultrasound to have it checked out.  But I wasn't very worried since "I was so young.”  Fast forward a few weeks, a few ultrasounds, mammograms and bioposies, and on Feb 6, 2015 I got the news that it was in fact Breast Cancer.

When you get that call many things run through your mind.  I had a feeling it was going to be cancer so it was not a major shock.  My first thoughts were, How are we going to beat this.  And we have to beat this because I am not leaving my kids.  Then the long road of doctor appointments and lots of tests start.  I have seen more doctors in the last 6 months then I think ever have in my life.  I now have a breast surgeon, a plastic surgeon, a medical oncologist and a Radiation Oncologist.  Each one of my doctors have been great and has treated me like a person and not just a diagnosis.  But I did learn that you need to speak up for what you want.  Ask questions when you are not sure about something.  My plastic surgeon gives out his cell phone number so you can call or text him with any questions.  My oncologists and breast surgeons, thankfully return email so fast.  All of this makes you, as the patient, feel so much better.

The hardest thing on me was the loss of my running.  I mean I finally PR'd a 5K a week after finding out I had cancer, and then was told I couldn't run after surgery!  The cancer did not cause me not to run it was the reconstruction that did that.  I had races planned and paid for.  We had a vacation planned around one of the races.  But I had to do what I had to do.  I transferred some entries to friends and went on as a cheerleader.  I'm not going to lie, it was hard watching all my friends run the Grand Teton Half Marathon without me.  But I was so excited to even be able to go (we had to postpone a week of chemo so we could).  And we had such a wonderful time in Jackson Hole with friends and family.  But when something you love, something that makes you feel good gets taken away by cancer it is very hard.
 
I never stopped walking during treatment.  I walked a 5k from 2.5 weeks post surgery till I was finally cleared to run again on July 2nd.  March 26th-July 2nd-No Running.  It was hard to not run but maybe even harder to start running again.  Getting back into running is harder than starting to run the first time.  I knew where I could be but had to accept that I was not going to be there right away, and I was going to have to work at it.

Another thing that has helped to get through this has been talking about it with as many people as possible.  The more information I can get out there that can help someone else makes it almost worth the while.  Early detection is the best thing to help cure Breast Cancer.  Knowing the signs and then being brave enough to act when you find one.  Having a great support system has also been amazing.  Between my amazing husband, wonderful kids, my family, both my job and my husband’s job, and of course the running community (3w and Skirt Sports especially).  Without all these people I do not know what we would have done.

A note from Skirt:
we are so thrilled to have AJ in the Skirt family and are so proud of all the challenges she has conquered, she inspires us all.  We love you AJ!
Follow AJ's journey on her Facebook Page, My Journey Through Breast Cancer.

Finding Happiness and That "Thing"

Posted by Noelle Wilson on 07/24/2015 11:44:00 AM | 1 Comments Authors, Inspiration, Run, Testimonials

Growing up in Colorado I'm pretty sure I was the only person living in this state that didn't participate in some sort of sport or physical activity. I don't think I even owned a real pair of tennis shoes until I entered nursing school when I was 23.  I was (and still am) a very girly girl. I was into the arts and music and I was afraid that if I played a sport I would lose my girlyness and start to look like a boy. I used to say the only way I would run is if someone were chasing me, in my mind running was never going to be something I was going to be able to do.

Fast forward to 2010, I was a 30 year old full time cosmetologist, full time student and most importantly a full time mother to three wonderful boys. I was also fresh out of a mentally, physically, and emotionally abusive relationship, so I had a want to make up for lost time, lost opportunities in life, and not to mention I wanted to lose about 10lbs of depression weight.  I disliked the person I saw in the mirror every morning and more than anything I wanted to make a change both physically and mentally.

I can remember having a conversation with my sister one day about how it seemed like the happiest people in life had their "thing", whether that be biking, knitting, skiing, or something else. This "thing" seemed to be a special kind of key to a complete life that I was missing; so I set out to find my "thing". I was walking through the aisles of Barnes and Noble one day when I walked past a copy of Trail Runner Magazine with an image of a runner on a beautiful mountain trail. I remember that image almost calling to me, and at that moment I decided running was going to be my "thing".

I went home that night and starting frantically searching the internet for the best way to become a runner. Somewhere in my search I realized I needed running clothes, being kind of an indoor girl I was seriously lacking in the athletic clothing department, that’s when I came across something that was magic to my eyes… a running SKIRT! It was everything my girly heart could ask for! I found a link for Skirt Sports and proceeded to the page. It must have been fate that was guiding me because as soon as I got on the page I saw the link for the Kick Start application. I read over the program and it sounded like everything I wanted and desperately needed to help me achieve my goal of becoming a runner.

I filled out the application, hit send, and to tell the truth didn't think I actually had a prayer of being selected for the program. To my surprise about two weeks later I received an email welcoming me to the program; I can remember being so happy that I literally jumped up and down with excitement.
The weeks that followed the first Kick Start meet up were full feelings of determination, frustration, promise and self-doubt, there were even a few tears and swear words every now and then, but in the end I crossed the finish line of my very first 5k.

From that day forward my entire life changed. I felt as if anything I put my mind to was possible. I felt confident and that I finally had the strength, perspective, and energy to be the best mom that I could be.
On top of the many other benefits to the Kick Start program I have made friends with some of the most amazing women on the planet and I finally understand why people who have a "thing" are so happy.  I have continued to find happiness through the Kick Start program as a motivator to other women who are looking to better their life and find their "thing".

The Running Time Machine

Posted by Nicole DeBoom on 07/16/2015 03:46:00 PM | 4 Comments Authors, Celebrate, Inspiration, Run, Testimonials

I couldn't believe I was 58. Like many women, as I approached 60, I wondered if the best was behind me, kept experiencing the "what if’s", and was sort of anxious about what might lie ahead. Age had never been a big issue with me, but was, surprisingly, beginning to become one. There was also a kind of void within. I yearned for more, though exactly what that was remained a mystery to me.

The mystery was soon to be solved, though, simply by walking into a local Fleet Feet store and eyeing a flyer about a beginner's running program called "No Boundaries." I’m not sure why that flyer caught my eye or why I even took the time to pick it up because I had never seen myself as a runner. After all, I had tried several times to run but had only come away breathless, sore and hurt! I was sure as the day is long that running was not for me. If for nothing else? My age.  As I was reading the flyer, the store owner said something like, "That really is a great program and in 10 weeks you’ll be running!" I thought, "Yeah…sure Lady" but she just kept on talking about how wonderful it was and how much fun I would have. To make a long story short, she talked me into joining the group and I have never once looked back!

That 10 weeks flew by and I actually did learn to run because of excellent coaching and incredible camaraderie. I also started to feel a change not only physically but emotionally as well. There was less anxiety and fewer "what ifs" not to mention I didn't feel at all like a little old lady.  I also felt more satisfaction with who was looking back at me in the mirror and what she could actually accomplish in her 'senior' years.  The running group shirts had a saying on the front that meant nothing to me at first but soon became almost like a mantra…"Running Changes Everything." Why? Because it does and it did!

Four months later came my first race. It was a 5k and no one from the running group was going to be there for the run but me. I was so thrilled when I found one of my coaches standing around waiting for me. He gave me last minute instructions and BAM! the race had started! When it was over and I was ready to leave, John (my coach), told me to stick around because I should find out if I'd placed. To my great astonishment I was 2nd in my AG! Needless to say, this running thing had thoroughly hooked me as I got to meet, know, and learn to love my inner athlete.

That void I mentioned earlier? Well, it became filled with an incredible sense of accomplishment and the "what if's" turned into "what NOW'S." Above all, I began to experience a deep sense of gratitude. Gratitude for a strong, able body which I didn't know I had and gratitude for the great fortune of getting to know some of the most giving people on the planet — runners. And since I was now a runner it was only right that I "pay it forward" and pass on to others what had been so graciously offered to me  — a chance to turn back the hands of time, or as my husband says "become a Time Machine!."

And so now at 62 my inner athlete and I run 3 times a week, do TRX, ride bikes, enter races, an occasional triathlon, and go to gym classes. I'm also fortunate to be an Ambassador Captain for Skirt Sports and am able to fulfill my dream of paying it forward through their Kick Start program, an invaluable program where local women apply to be paired with a more seasoned runner and then are mentored for Skirt Sports sponsored races throughout the year. As a Kick Start Mentor, I asked specifically to be paired with older applicants as I could relate to them starting a sport later in life. It turns out that "running-late" is actually just making up for lost time. My Kick Start beginner from last year is now herself a Mentor and Skirt Sports Ambassador so we are both busy training together, mentoring our new Kick Starters, and having a ball spreading the love of skirt while running late. Age, it turns out, really is just a number.

Deb’s blog is running-late.com

Who Am I?

Posted by Nicole DeBoom on 07/15/2015 12:09:00 PM | 5 Comments Authors, Celebrate, Inspiration, Run, Testimonials

I've been overweight practically my entire life. The last school photo that I looked a "normal" weight was 1st Grade. I had what is increasingly becoming a typical American childhood. Don't get me wrong, it was a happy childhood, but it also involved a lot of processed and fast food, and too little activity. For my generation, it was more the television than it was personal electronics, but the effect was the same. I remember hitting 210 lbs in 8th grade. And it just continued from there. By the time I was in my mid-20's, I was 330lbs and the highest I ever saw on a scale was 415lbs.

The scale alone wasn't enough for me to change (as scary as that was). In my early 30's I was diagnosed with high blood pressure. Then the year I turned 37, I was diagnosed with an inflammation around my lungs making it even more difficult to breathe than normal and a month later I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes (which runs in my family). THAT was the straw that broke the camel’s back. But what could I do about it? At 390lbs, it's nearly impossible to move and you have less than zero energy! Fortunately, I live in Cleveland – home of The Cleveland Clinic. After consulting my primary care doctor and conducting a lot of research, I started the process of being approved for weight loss surgery.  I did not take this decision lightly and neither does The Cleveland Clinic. It was an 8 month process to be approved and scheduled for surgery. It was the first step in saving my life.

Weight loss surgery is not a magic cure. It's a tool (one of many) on a person's journey to health. It's a tool that has worked well for me. It helped me lose enough weight to get to the point were I could start MOVING. At my six month checkup my doctor asked me what I was doing for exercise. "Uh...nothing". She said I needed to get my butt moving or I was not going to be successful long term. I took it seriously. I figured running would be the easiest way to start. It was May, weather was nice and all I had to do was get a nice cheap pair of running shoes online, right? (insert laughter here) So I laced up and started slow. I ran my first 5K that July in honor of my cousin who had died in the line of duty as a firefighter.  It was an incredible experience in my home town...and I think I was dead last. I didn't care – I was MOVING!

Before I knew it, I was signing up for 5K's left and right. Then 8K's...a 10K. I got fitted for shoes at one of my amazing local running specialty stores. Race series challenges - you name it! People actually started calling me a...GASP ...RUNNER! Then in 2012 I decided to step it up and ran my 1st Half Marathon….and my 2nd and 3rd Half Marathons within the next 4 weeks. Suddenly I was a card carrying Half Fanatic (#3142!). Then I started adding in trail running and a whole new set of challenges opened up in front of me!

Who is this person that I've become? According to AthLinks, I've completed 72 races total including 32 5K's, 10 Half Marathons and one 25K.  Even if it's missing a few small races, those numbers boggle my mind. My entire identity for the first 38 years of my life was wrapped up in being the fat child/teen/adult that didn't, or couldn't, move. As time passes, I think the old me is starting to fade. I recognize my old self as my identity less and less and I’m becoming more comfortable with who I am today.

Who am I? I'm REAL. I'll never have that "runner's body", and that's fine. I kinda dig this new curvy body of mine. I'm HEALTHY. No more high blood pressure. No more diabetes.  I'm a proud TRAIL SNAIL. I'll be that trail runner finishing at the back, with a huge smile on my face because I'm just so darn happy I lived through that course! I will never win a race, but just look forward to getting out there and enjoying the experience! I'm a woman looking for a new CHALLENGE. This currently means completing 1 half marathon a month. Originally, it was 1 a month for 6 consecutive months, but I've already signed up for 2 in month 7. Shall I go for 12 in 12 months instead? I'm a PROUD Skirt Sports AMBASSADOR! Thrilled to represent a company with such high quality apparel that believes in REAL women.

Who am I? I'm a REAL woman who is beyond ecstatic that I'm able to MOVE like I never could before! MOVING every chance I get and loving every minute of it!

#REALwomenmove