Skirt Sports Blog

Ambassador Search 2015

Posted by Noelle Wilson on 01/21/2015 05:22:00 PM | 0 Comments Celebrate, Relax, Run

Our Ambassadors are more than just athletes. They are real-life superheroes who believe that living a running lifestyle brings confidence, courage, balance and happiness to their busy lives. They are an extension of Skirt Sports in that they walk the healthy-livin’ talk, and through their efforts, create important ripple effects of inspiration and motivation to other runners, from beginners to seasoned veterans. They believe firmly in the transformative power of fitness and they are willing to go out of their way to share this love and passion with other women. They are Skirt Sports wear-testers, models, and motivators, providing real-life feedback on their real-life bodies doing real-life activities in Skirt Sports products.

We're currently accepting applications for women who want to join the power, inspiration, and motivation of our Skirt Sports Ambassadors. 


Capris, don't just take our word for it!

Posted by Noelle Wilson on 01/20/2015 11:25:00 AM | 0 Comments Celebrate, Relax, Run

MaryAnn B.: "I'm a 63-year-old retired PE/Health teacher.  I coached several sports, including Track and Cross Country.  I taught Aerobics and ran mountain trails for so many years, but finally I had to slow down.  So now I'm a personal trainer, playing league tennis (four teams this year) and teaching Water Fitness at a local gym.   I wear your Lotta Breeze Capri for teaching because the little pocket holds my mic receiver and the skirt nicely covers my almost 64 year old butt!  On chilly tennis days, I love this attire as the ball pocket is perfect for the tennis ball and the capri length adds a bit of warmth.  When I'm 64, in a couple of months, I'll still be wearing my Skirt Sports Lotta Breeze Capri!

Anonymous: "I have always believed there are only 2 reasons to run:

1. Something is chasing you
2. You are chasing something

But, 7 years ago, I decided I had to make a change in my life and I started running ... again. I didn't like it. OK, I hated it. One of the reasons I hated it was because I hated the clothes. The shorts were too short. My thighs chafed. If I wore spandex shorts, the bulge above the knee was unsightly. There was never enough coverage for the backside. Then I found Skirt Sports. I could cover up with the Lotta Breeze Capri. I was comfortable and I could wear cute outfits for running....Seventy pounds ... and a few sizes ... later, I'm still running. Some people might think I have a Skirt Sports "problem." I think the only problem is that I can still find room for more in my closet.

I have  found another reason to run:

3. The opportunity to wear cute running outfits"

Robyn P.: "In 2011 I got pregnant, and my skirts were my go-to outfits most days of the week throughout my pregnancy.  I also got hooked on Nicole's blog, as we were preggers at the same time, and she and other readers offered all kind of great advise along the way - thank you!   Another baby in 2013, and the body has taken a beating, but my skirts have given me the confidence to get back out there and run, as they are flattering where they need to be, plus they are cute and comfy :-).

I am sure my husband curses every time you come out with a new style or new fabric design (I HAD to get a pair of capris in the new snake skin print, even though I already have 4 pairs"

Erin A.: "I can’t live without the Gym Girl Ultra, or the Lotta Breeze Capri’s!  I would say I’ve worn one or the other in every race since I can remember, running, mud runs, duathlons, you name it I've worn a skirt in all of them.  It’s all about the pockets!  Yes, you can carry gels if necessary, as well as your cellphone, or IPod, plus a car key.  To me these are perfect, and no other company compares."

Julie S.: "I use an insulin pump to manage Type 1 diabetes. I had always fussed with finding a way to wear it during exercise where it wouldn't get in the way or fall. I searched all kinds of accessories and clothing options. When I finally stumbled upon Skirt Sports I was so excited. The pockets on the thighs are a perfect place to keep my pump secure and out of the way. I use shorties under my skirts now, keeping my pump in place. I have two lotta breeze Capri skirts that I frequently receive compliments on. A friend of mine said, "these have revolutionized your wardrobe!" I've even referred my endocrinologist to your site so she can tell other patients about your products."

Jennifer P.: "Dear Maker of extremely cute and comfortable skirts,
The day I found your lotta breeze skirt/capri I was hooked ( also a fan of the tough girl set for winter months)!  As a Physical Education teacher, I love to dress comfy (others are very jealous) but I also want to look stylish.  Well, my slick suit, warm up days are over! I want cute and fun!  
I teach at a very large elementary school (1100 kiddos) and am the only female PE teacher.  My students have always noticed what I am wearing....Every time I wear a Skirt Sports outfit, kids and colleague's are always complimenting on how "cute" I look.  I am young at heart!     
I have noticed that the girls will come dressed for PE in their cute skorts and tights.  They make sure to dress the part for a PE day.  
As we all know, when we feel like we look good, our day, attitudes and EVERYTHING is just better.
Thanks for making such fun clothing that I can wear to work and feel confident in. Please continue making these awesome patterns for many years to come.  I have a "lotta" teaching years ahead of me and I need to be dressed in fun clothing!"

Aleasha L. (Ambassador/blogger): "The lines on the Redemption Capri accent curves in a positive way. There is NO thunder and lightning strikes (referring to my thighs!) other than compliments.  And of course, my biggest pet peeve is chaffing which the Redemption Capri prevents.
     Though design is not just what it looks like when referring to clothes, looks are always a plus.  Though design is not just what it feels like, if it's comfortable and cute, that too is a bonus! Design is how it works, the redemption capri do not chafe and the wicking material works!  So they are a definite recommend!" Read Aleasha's full review here.

Sami B. (Ambassador/blogger): "The Redemption Capri is designed to help you tackle any workout in comfort and style with lightly compressive fabric that hugs your muscles and keeps them fresh from warm-up to cool-down.  Every part of the capri flatters your figure, from the waste band to the curving lines."  Read Sami's full review here.

Erika H. (Ambassador/blogger): "Here’s what I like about it:

    The skirt is long enough to comfortably cover my rear (13? front, 14? back)
    Mesh semi-compression capri hits just below the knee (the mesh is warm enough, but also comfortable on days when you should be wearing shorts)
    A pocket on each thigh that comfortably holds my cell phone and gu
    The patterns"
Read Erika's full review here.  

Sometimes you just have to CELEBRATE

Posted by Noelle Wilson on 01/20/2015 06:37:00 AM | 0 Comments Celebrate, Run

Skirt Sports Ambassador Tiff M., Woodbury, MN

Sometimes we need to reevaluate our goals. 

At least that is the situation I found myself in at the end of this race season.  After a sprint triathlon, Olympic triathlon, Tough Mudder, and Half Ironman I couldn’t deny it anymore, I WAS DONE!  Both mentally and physically I was burnt out.  All athletes have a drive, a "fire in the belly" (as I like to call it) and sadly my fire was smoldering.  I needed to regroup and figure out what I was going to do for my next race the Chicago Marathon.  Honestly I had never had this feeling before in all my racing years.  Never had I felt like I didn’t wan to race.  Never had I gone into a race without a clear and precise timed goal in mind, but I knew this would have to be different.  I really had all intentions to race this marathon, but after a long miserable run a few weeks before the race all that changed.  My goals needed to change.  No longer would it be about time.  It would be about fun and CELEBRATION!!!  My new goals were to high five as many kids as possible a long the race course.  To listen to all the music and crowds along the way.  To try and read every sign I could.  To cheer on others that were struggling next to me.  Thank every volunteer I passed.
No watch,no timer,no pacer, no ear buds blaring music for me.  I was going to celebrate every step, celebrate my health, celebrate my life, celebrate being a strong woman, wife and Mom, celebrate a beautiful city with beautiful people, celebrate the very present moment I was in.  

And you know what?  I did!!!  And I loved every minute of that 26.2 miles.

Start an Off Road Love Affair

Posted by Noelle Wilson on 01/19/2015 03:54:00 PM | 0 Comments Run

5 Benefits of Trail Running

My passion for running began on the road.  I loved chasing the pavement and still do.  There are not many things that will put me in a better mood than lacing up and hitting the pavement.  Over the past year I have run several road races consisting of 5k's, 10k's, halves all the way to full marathons and loved (well…not always "loved") every mile.

A few months ago my husband and I started hitting the trails together.  He rides while I run, thus began my love affair with the trail and my switch to trail races.

Benefits of Hitting the Trail

The seasoned road racer or track star may be hesitant to start hitting the trail, after all it seems a bit more casual and it can be much harder to keep track of those numbers; cadence, pace, mileage, and above all, PR's!

Never fear road lovers, the trail has much to offer and I'm confident that once you give it a try, you'll agree!

Running on dirt ~ besides grass, dirt is one of the best and softest surfaces to run on, thus saving your joints from unwanted wear and tear.  Fewer injuries means more running!

Better technique ~ isn't that what we all really want? The better the technique the better your performance and time!  Studies show that running on trails causes you to take shorter strides which increases stride rate.  Who doesn't want to go faster?

More Shade ~ I've made the mistake of hitting the pavement when it's way too hot to be exposed to the sun.  When running on the trail, there are often more trees which makes for more shade and a cooler run.

A Break From the City  ~ running on the trail away from the busy city streets makes for a much more relaxing run and when you don't have to stop for all of those pesky traffic lights you can take pride in that faster pace!

Inclines and Declines ~ yes, even on trails there are hills to conquer.  Although you may hate the hills, when you’re running the trails hills make you push yourself harder and strengthen those awesome legs and tighten that tush.  

Living in Colorado there are more than just these five benefits to trail running.  I have fallen in love with our beautiful state all over again with it’s many mountainous trails, amazing views and wonderful climate.  I think I hear the trails calling!

The Ambassador Girls take on the Girls!

Posted by Noelle Wilson on 01/13/2015 06:18:00 PM | 0 Comments Celebrate, Run

Sandy S.:  "I love the Kelly Bra. The hook and eye back closure is awesome. This is the first sports bra that I don't feel like getting in and out of it should be considered part of my workout." 

Helen D.:  "I won't run in anything other than the Kelly Bra. I haven't had even a hint of a chafe mark since switching to it and prior to it my collarbones were always sore. 
The other thing I love is that it's adjustable straps so you can do X-back or regular for different look and fit."

Jennifer G.:  "I LOVE my Kelly Bra (and I own 3 and pretty much every strap ever made). Nots a single chafe mark, I don't feel like I am suffocating, nor have I broken a sweat putting it on. 
I like the strap options - cross back gives me more support for running but straight is what I prefer for cycling.

Jennifer O.: "The Everyday Active Bra is by far the best sports bra I have ever owned. I'm a B cup and it gives me the perfect amount of support and comfort, unlike most sports bras that tend to be a little overkill on a chest my size. It's also incredibly cute and the sweetheart shape helps minimize the uniboob look!"

Marilou P-D.:  "I'm not a big girl and always bought the cheapest running bras I could find - until I happened to find the Kelly Bra. The difference is amazing, even for a barley B cup. No chafing, easy in and out, and very figure flattering! I've been know to wear my Kelly bra in place of my regular bra - she's that good!"

Tiffany P-M.: "If there is one athletic area I'm the pickiest in it is bras! I'm a triathlete that wears a 32DD. I need full on support that can meet the demands of my sport. I have worn the Kelly Bra in Half Ironmans and marathons. 
No chaffing, no slipping, no uni-boob look, good separation with support completely comfortable in every way. My go to bra for every workout!"

Aleasha L.: "My girls are small and embarrassingly enough they like to perk up for everyone to see when I run and workout. I have deleted numerous race pics. Last year I started sewing in a little extra coverage to conceal them. The Everyday Bra gives me the coverage I need without sewing and I no longer have to be self conscious for race pictures wondering if my headlights are on"

Joy G.: "My favorite bras are the Kelly and the Trifecta bras with with the cleavage alley! I have a permanent scar from bra chafing, but I didn't get it from any Skirt Sports bras!"

Marilou P-D.: "Love, love, love the Sabrina bra! It offers the perfect amount of support for B girls, even during my longest runs. The removable padding allows me to modify the Sabrina for use during the chilliest months or those hot and miserable summer runs that I want as little fabric as possible. It's design doesn't squish me and enhances my figure."

Deb M.: "I love the Kelly bra! It's not a like a workout getting in and out of and like so many have said, "no chafing." I've been looking for the right running bra forever, it seems, and now have to look no further!"

Lisa W.: "I have two of the Kelly bras, a Zip 'Em Up bra, and the Trifecta! The Skirt Sports collection is all I need, and all I wear!"

Sandy S. (wear-tester of the Zip 'Em Up!):  "The Zip 'Em Up Bra is an amazing bra. It is super easy put on and take off. I loved the extra closure under the zipper. The bra kept the girls securely in place with no bounce during a hard run. It was super comfortable and I was chafe free after wearing it."

I'll show you mine...

Posted by Noelle Wilson on 01/13/2015 12:21:00 PM | 0 Comments Celebrate, Run

I believe in resolutions. I actually get excited about the whole resolution-setting process.

Before I work on my new resolutions, I reflect on the previous year. What did I want to accomplish? Was I successful? I don't dwell on the past, but I think it’s important to understand how we got here. Some years, my best intentions go awry early. Other years, I blow my resolutions away.

In 2014, I resolved to race more. When I publicly announced this, a friend outed me on Facebook with "That’s not a very SMART goal, Nicole!" I had betrayed the cardinal rules of goal-setting! For best results, goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time Bound. To take it a step further, a goal should be focused on yourself (not your spouse or kids!), and it should be positive, not, as a therapist-friend described it to me, "a dead-man’s goal." A good example of a dead-man’s goal is "I can't eat anything bad this year." Well then what the heck CAN you eat? Focus on what you can or will do; not what you can't or won't do.

To SMARTen my 2014 resolution, I specified - one race a month. It didn’t matter how fast I went, just that I went. I will admit that I didn't do twelve events in 2014, but I came close with ten. This was one of the best goals I've ever set because I was able to check in on it every month. It held me accountable to something.

For 2015, I started by asking my parents about their resolutions. My mom said, "I think, we should try to do a date night every week." My dad, with his eye on the television, deflected with, "This is turning out to be a great game." To which my mom said, "And the date should be centered on what the other person would like to do – not a high school football game or something like that!" I gently suggested that may not be the SMARTest resolution. After they got their bearings, they came up with a few good ones including "improve my posture," and "enunciate better," both of which still needed a little SMART-sizing but I can only help my parents so much. ?

After warming up with my folks, I turned to myself. I decided to tackle my health and fitness goal in a different way this year. I'm going to challenge my eating habits.

Whoa – big statement! Here’s the problem I'm trying to solve. I've been eating the same since I was in my 20s, but my body and physiology are clearly different at 42. Plus, I don't train 25 hours a week anymore and I still eat like I do! I also have a vague feeling that I may have some food allergies or sensitivities, but I’ve never taken the time to figure out what that means. Now is the time. 2015 will be my year of eating experimentation! My goal is not to lose weight. It is to feel energized, more balanced, and cleaner.

I am still working out the SMART strategy for this goal and I could use your help to get there. The list is overwhelming: Vegan, gluten-free, Mediterranean, Zone, Paleo, Atkins, acid-alkaline, and on and on. Let me know what you've tried and why it has worked for you or not. If anyone is interested in joining me on my 2015 eating resolution, chime in now and I’ll make 2015 the year of eating experimentation in public with friends.

Now that I’ve shown you mine, it’s your turn to show me yours. What are your SMART resolutions this year?

Skirt Sports Kick Start: Be Inspired!

Posted by Noelle Wilson on 01/02/2015 03:03:00 PM | 0 Comments Celebrate, Run

Tawni L., Kick Start Beginner and Motivator

"I'm a runner! Oh my gosh, I AM a runner! I  never thought I would have said that a year and a half ago, until I met Nicole DeBoom. It's at this time I was accepted into the Skirt Sports Kick Start 5k Program as a beginner.

On my application, I said I was recently diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and severe athritis, and the doctors told me "whatever you do, do not run," so I was excited and terrified all at the same time when I got the email saying I was going to be a part of this amazing program. Walking into that first meeting I had no idea what to expect - we shared stories, smiles and tears and I have to say, it was my WOW moment. Here was a group of beautiful women of all ages, all of us sharing, all of us nervous, but somehow, for me, it felt like we had already known each other, it was comfortable!"  Read more


Stephanie C., Beginner (at 58 years old!)

The benefits of the Kick Start program for me, have been, in one word, AMAZING! I was nearing my 58th birthday and spending another sleepless night due to stress from my job, when I made a decision that I REALLY wanted to learn to run properly. A quick search on the internet for "how to start running" connected me to the Skirt Sports Kick Start Program! I couldn't believe that they actually paired you up with a seasoned runner and I thought that this was just too good to be true. I was surprised to be accepted into the program and it's been a wonderful experience. The best part of Kick Start is meeting so many awesome women with similar goals who are serious about running but who aren't arrogant about it. It is a very supportive community with a "we're all in this together" attitude. My motivator's help has been priceless. She has taught me so many essential things about running from the most important; how to run properly to avoid injury (how to warm up and stretch), to introducing me to other runners who inspire me, finding beautiful places to run, what to expect when running a race and even pacing me and celebrating with me at my first race! 

I probably don't have to tell you the health benefits of running, but for starters, I lost fifteen pounds in the first two months. Running has greatly reduced my stress level, increased my energy, helped me sleep better, improved muscle tone, and given me a confidence that has spilled over into other areas of my life. Running is just another great way to commune with nature and it's elements.

Kick Start has been one of those rare but positive life-changing events.  I now know that I can accomplish anything if given the right tools and help to get to where I want to be. I will be forever grateful to all the wonderful ladies involved in this program. I hope that someday I can inspire and help at least one other person who thinks that they are too old, too out of shape, too unmotivated, or too intimidated to be a runner. We are all runners, we just need to run!

Deb M., Motivator (and Skirt Sports Ambassador)

When I was chosen to be a Kick Start Motivator I had no idea how rewarding it would be. I knew I wanted to share the joy that running can add to one's life and I wanted to pass that on to a woman who was over 50, like I was when I first started running. Coming into the sport of running later in life filled a void with an incredible sense of accomplishment and boost in confidence. Watching my beginner change and discover her hidden athlete over the course of 8 weeks was such a joy to see. She went from worrying she’d never be able to run 3 miles to finishing the Kick Start 5k in under 40 minutes. Since the race, we have been running together once or twice a week, have become good friends, and plan to continue running races together.  I also feel it is important to keep ‘paying it forward’ so I hope to start running with a group who serves visually impaired runners and athletes with disabilities later this summer.

I credit the Kick Start program for kick starting something in me and am truly grateful for Skirt Sports’ dedication to women of all ages, sizes, and abilities. I am honored to be part of such a meaningful program!

Deb's beginner is Stephanie C.!


Tarissa A., Kick Start Beginner

I have lived for quite some time in a world governed by limitations.  5 years ago, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.  I have some long term issues that haven't quite resolved since my first "flare"-the most significant being issues with my balance, and the fact that when I walked for more than a few minutes, my body would often go tingly and numb from my chest down, causing me to easily trip over anything and everything.  Because of this, I limited the kind of activity I did to that close to home and had resigned myself to never running, or hiking, or riding a bike again.  I resigned myself to the fact that my future was limited, and lived with that knowledge on a daily basis.

When a friend shared the KickStart program on Facebook, I had never heard of Skirt Sport, even though I live pretty close to its headquarters!  I read the page, then read it again the next day.  I hemmed and hawed, and finally woke up one morning and just poured it all out there into my application.  I was extremely excited, and very, very scared, when I got the email that I had been accepted as a Kick Starter.

Going through the Kick Start program has been, and continues to be, one of the most challenging and rewarding things I have done.  Starting was hard, and scary--I was afraid I would fall down, afraid of pushing myself to the point of my body going numb (and staying that way), and I was afraid I would just stop because it was too hard.  If it hadn't been for my amazing mentor, I very well might have quit.  Amy was with me the first time I pushed myself well past my leg numbness.  She reassured me, made me laugh, told me stories of when she fell and reassured me that all runners do at some point.  And I did it.  That gave me the courage to start pushing past my limits (both mental and physical) on my own.  The support Amy gave through emails and weekly runs kept me motivated and focused. I loved the positive energy provided by other Kick Starters and Mentors on the Facebook Group Page.

Running the 5K in June was really the icing on the cake---but the best part of the experience was the journey.  I'm excited to still be running.  My numbness has really improved, my energy and outlook have improved.  I've realized that I am capable of much, much more than I realized.

The knowledge of what I accomplished over those 8 weeks--pushing through the pain of that first month, getting up on those mornings to run when I really didn't want to---I've discovered my inner BadAss, and she runs in a skirt!









Claire B., Kick Start Beginner and Motivator

The Kick Start Program changed my life in so many ways it is hard to know where to begin! The opportunity to be welcomed into such a caring, kind and supportive community of women of all fitness levels and abilities was life changing. I was in a place where I needed just that, a community of like-minded and open-minded women who would support me every step of the way, literally! I needed a Kick Start and did I get one! The energy of all the women involved was so motivating that I kept on going. I haven't stopped running since and was so very excited to be able to give back this year and be a motivator for someone else beginning their running adventures. I have made best friends from the Kick Start program over the last year. Everyone allows you to be "where you are at" with your running abilities and will support that no matter what. Where else can you get that?? Plus, you get the most amazing clothes to run in that steps up the motivation and confidence factor to a whole new level!!!

So what does Kick Start mean to me? It means everything I have already said plus a big old pad on the back for showing up and doing my best, whatever that means for myself at that moment in time. Anyone and everyone can and could use a "Kick Start" and this program is where it is at!

Noelle W., Kick Start Program Mgr. and Community Outreach Mgr.

"When I take a project on I want to make every piece of it memorable. Something that kept ringing in my head was how special this program is and the huge effect it has on women’s lives, not just the beginners but also the motivators, their families and ME..."  Read more

The Trifecta Book Giveaway

Posted by Noelle Wilson on 12/29/2014 03:31:00 PM | 0 Comments Celebrate, Relax, Run

Just in time for the holidays, Skirt Sports is excited to have the trifecta of book giveaways! 

Each week in December we'll be giving a way a book written by one of our inspirational, empowering, strong and beautiful Ambassadors; Kathrine Switzer (Marathon Woman), Rachel Toor (On the Road to Find Out) and Jenny Hadfield (Running for Mortals).  A lucky winner will be chosen to win all 3 books, perfect for an end of year end celebration!  See an excerpt (below) from these incredibly inspiring books.

Marathon Woman

By: Katherine Switzer

"On a dark six-mile run in a wild snowstorm in mid-December 1966, I had a terrible argument with my otherwise kindly old coach, Arnie Briggs. It was in Syracuse, New York, where God first invented snow and never let up. I was a 19-year-old journalism student at Syracuse Uni­versity, and since there was no women’s running team there or anywhere else for that matter, I began training unofficially with the men’s cross-country team. That’s where I met 50-year-old Arnie, who had trained for years with the team. Arnie was actually the university mailman and a veteran of 15 Boston Marathons. He was excited to see a woman—the first—come out to run, and took slowpoke me under his training wing. To cajole me through tough evening sessions like this, Arnie told and retold stories of famous Bostons. I loved listening to them—until this night when I snapped and said, "Oh, let's quit talking about the Boston Marathon and run the damn thing!"

"No woman can run the Boston Marathon," Arnie fired back"


On the Road to Find Out

By: Rachel Toor

"On New Year’s Day, Alice Davis goes for a run. Her first ever. It’s painful and embarrassing, but so was getting denied by the only college she cares about. Alice knows she has to stop sitting around and complaining to her best friend, Jenni, and her pet rat, Walter, about what a loser she is. But what she doesn’t know is that by taking those first steps out the door, she is setting off down a road filled with new challenges—including vicious side stitches, chafing in unmentionable places, and race-paced first love—and strengthening herself to endure when the going suddenly gets tougher than she ever imagined."

Running for Mortals

By: Jenny Hadfield and John Bingham

"You don't have to run competitively to reap the rewards running offers. What you do need is the courage to start. That is the "Penguin mantra" that has enabled John Bingham to inspire thousands of men and women to take up running for fitness and sheer enjoyment.

Now, in Running for Mortals, the Penguin teams up with wife, coach, and coauthor Jenny Hadfield to lay out strategies for novice runners that will help them safely and effortlessly integrate their new sport into their busy schedules. Backed by Runner's World, America's leading authority on running, the authors provide tips for:

    Getting started
    Sticking to a routine
    Eating for energy
    Hydration training for speed and endurance
    Injury prevention

You don't need to run fast or win races to be considered a runner. All it takes is a little courage and the will to start. Let Running for Mortals show you how."

Here's how to enter:

1- Sign up below.

2- Follow Skirt Sports on Instagram

3- Post your "Running Life" pic using the hashtag #skirtgiveaway and #skirtsports

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Heart Breaker = Life Saver!

Posted by Noelle Wilson on 12/19/2014 12:12:00 PM | 0 Comments Run

I wasn't really prepared as well as I should have been for the Tunnel Hill 50 miler in Vienna, Illinois. My training had been completely inadequate – only two 20 milers and minimal weekly mileage in the 6 months leading up to the November race. On top of low miles, I was completely stressed out with moving from my home of 11 years into a small condo. Still, I was looking forward to the race and spending the weekend with my girlfriends.

We had originally signed up for Tunnel Hill based on the average mild temperatures in mid-November. The race director promised lows in the 40's and highs in the mid 60's – perfect for my group of ultra running friends from the Pacific Northwest. I figured with such nice weather I could walk the whole thing and still have a good time. I had my race outfit all picked out: Skirt Sports Gym Girl in Snake Charmer and a Personali-Tee with a black Tough Girl pullover when it started to cool down.

Two days before our flight, the weather took a strange turn: Something the media was calling the "Polar Vortex". Forecast now called for lows in the single digits and highs near 20. I was going to be miserable! I frantically searched for my moving box containing my winter running clothes and there it was…. the HEARTBREAKER! My very favorite skirt from last winter! I loved it for its thick leggings and short, sassy skirt – it was my "go to" weekend skirt. I just happened to have ordered a second one in the new Arya print that would be perfect for a late autumn race.

I arrived at the start line in my Heartbreaker, a thin wool pullover and another favorite, the Skirt Breaker jacket (in X-Ray Gray). I was cozy as can be while others shivered. The race started and my Skirt Sports gear performed exactly as I had come to expect. My legs and bum were warm and the Skirt Breaker jacket added just enough protection from the cold breeze in those early morning hours. As the sun rose, I was able to stash my light weight jacket into my pack and run the daylight hours without a worry. No chafing, no tugging, no excess material getting in my way. And the compliments! Oh my! Nothing makes a 50+ year old runners day like having the volunteers and other racers tell you that you were the cutest on the course!

The best (or worst) was yet to come, however. When the sun went down, the clouds rolled in and with them sleet began to fall. I once again put on my Skirt Breaker jacket, dug out my creme BBF Beanie and continued to churn out the miles at a steady pace. Others around me began to cramp-up and shuffle …. I expected my legs would do the same… but it never happened. My Heartbreaker kept my legs warm even when wet and the light compression helped support my undertrained muscles. Runners were having trouble with hypothermia (one of my friends even passed out) but not me. In those final cold, wet, late night miles I decided to rename my Heartbreaker. From now on, I’m calling this skirt the LifeSaver!

As you can tell I’m totally in love with the Heartbreaker Skirt – so much that I now own one in each color (did I mention they look great with boots and a sweater for everyday wear?!?!)

Conquering Setbacks: My Life with RA

Posted by Noelle Wilson on 12/19/2014 11:02:00 AM | 0 Comments Celebrate, Run

I started to run about 18 years ago, at 30 years old. That is when it all fell into place and became a very enjoyable activity for me. I loved it because it helped me overcome a social smoking habit and a binge/purge eating disorder problem. I had a young son, so I didn’t race much, but I did when I could and ran much as I could.

After I had been running for about 3 or 4 years, I began to experience a lot of pain in my feet and my knees. I ran less and even changed jobs within my department so I wouldn’t be on my feet all day long. It was then that I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).  RA is an autoimmune type of arthritis where your immune system attacks your joints. I was devastated to say the least. I tried several medications, and at times I was able to run a little. But then I would have a flare up and the medications would quit working. I even quit my job out of fear that I wouldn’t be able to continue to do the job of a deputy sheriff for the long term. Soon after, I was given a new medication and it was like a miracle! No sooner was I running, and then was declared in remission! I met a running group and started running long distances; half marathons and a couple of full marathons as well!

One day last year the rug was pulled out from under my feet. I went for a routine lab test and was told I was severely neutropenic which meant, for some reason, I had no immune system. I was told to quit swimming and running any sort of distance until the cause could be determined. I had to undergo a bone marrow biopsy and many more labs to see if it was cancer. From the low lab test results, running fast or long was impossible and just running a 5k was so hard. I had already signed up for my first Half Ironman, and feared I couldn’t do it. The lab results turned out to be a weird and rare thing that happens sometimes, even after years of RA remission. I struggled through running the half marathons I had signed up for, resigned to never feeling quite like I had for the past 10 years. One day, my labs finally just went back to normal! I was able to do the Half Ironman I had signed up for in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. I hadn't trained well for it and knew I would definitely suffer, but I was relieved to be cleared to do it.

These past few months, I have been afraid every time I feel a little “off” that I will be back to where I had been. I've been disappointed with my race times, but I realize that things could be far worse than slower times.
Last week, while I ran my 8th half marathon of the year I felt disappointed in myself for slowing down in the last 3 miles. Then I remembered that exactly a year ago, I had the bone marrow biopsy and couldn’t run a half at all. That flashback made me feel incredibly grateful for my good health to be back. I know that I can overcome anything as long as I have my supportive running girls, my family and determination!