New Girls’ Club #oiselleteam

One of the first things my boyfriend (now husband) bought me was a shirt that said: “A woman’s place is on top.” While some girls may take this the wrong way, and find this a chauvinistic, sexist, or insulting maneuver from a dude they just started dating, I found it admirable. You see, the shirt was referencing the author of the book Breaking Trail, Arlene Blum, who is a mountaineer and trailblazer in more ways than just finding her way to the tops of 14,000 footers. This book was a farewell gift from my roommate and running buddy, Katie, when I left Montana. And, this book has been an inspiration to me, especially during the first few years of my PhD (and as I started training and racing marathons)- and to this day. It really drives home to me the fulfillment, the strength, and the power that comes with choosing your own route, breaking your own trail, leading your own life.


Some big news came a few weeks ago in the world of Track and Field when Kara Goucher announced she would be joining the flock and recently signed with Oiselle. As a member of the flock, I was obviously excited, and admittedly somewhat surprised. But hearing Kara’s story, her rationale to set flight with Oiselle and leave Nike’s support of over a decade, made total and utter sense. And when Sally (Bergesen, CEO of Oiselle) dropped this one, I couldn’t stop nodding:

“We wanted to make room for powerful women on the start line of our company. After all, while we hate to admit, we’re familiar with the stereotypes…i.e., that things get messy when you have too many strong B’s at the top. And that women often tear each other down, right when we should be building each other up. One reason we find it hard to deal with the old boys’ club is that we aren’t very good at putting together the new girls’ club. I’d like to prove that theory wrong. I want to continue building the new girls’ club – where strong yet different personalities can complement rather than compete.” – Sally Bergesen,

You see, whether its business, or racing, or academia, this stereotype- that women compete and tear each other down- persists. And perhaps its more than a stereotype, as hypercompetitiveness and “catty” behavior is a contended evolutionary trait. But why? I don’t have the resources to answer that question, but I do know that- anecdotally- I’ve experienced this. I’ve been a victim on numerous occasions. But what is worse: I’ve been the assailant. Oh, how I’d love to be able to say that I’ve never felt jealous of other women in similar positions, that I’ve never said something condescending about what another woman was wearing (albeit not to their face…), or performed a side-by-side comparison of another woman’s measurable accomplishments with my own (whether it were race results, papers published, or acclaim from mentors). And why? For what benefit? To make me feel better? If anything, this behavior has made me feel worse. Whatever metrics I utilized sometimes summed to me “on top”- but often, I’d find out that the other woman (or man) was better, however measurable, or stronger, or faster. And the downward spiral would progress until I felt resentment and discomfort in my own skin. And that’s ridiculous.

Fortunately, my approach in assessing myself (and others), and my accomplishments (and the accomplishments of others), has dramatically improved when I don’t pull up a side-by-side comparison. True, it’s incredibly hard to NOT pull this trick. And many aspects of life are evaluated in list-form side-by-side comparisons. Say four people are being interviewed for a single tenure-track position. Each of their strengths and weaknesses are being assessed by a committee. Or, perhaps a hundred grants are being reviewed by a committee and there’s only enough money to fund five, maybe six. This weekend, twenty elite women are toeing the line at a 5K and only one woman can win the $1,000 prize purse. Does that mean that those “losers,” the ones who won’t get that single tenure track job at this one university or win the grant or win the race are worse candidates than the others? Absolutely not. They made it there. They toed the line. Their grant was reviewed. Maybe they just missed the cut off score for funding. Maybe they came in dead last in the race. Whatever the case may be, they were there. They put themselves out there to be judged and to be assessed. By knowing humility and confidence (and when to use it), they show strength and perseverance. And it doesn’t matter what race you’re running or field you study, those there are great traits.

And lastly: It’s ok to be competitive. Competitiveness is a trait in many of us that motivates, inspiring us to do better and be better. Interestingly, comparing our own accomplishments to that of others is incredibly easy. It’s lists and side-by-side comparisons that show A is better than B. 2 is greater than 1. But guess what? Every list is always incomplete. The committee hiring for a tenure track faculty doesn’t care what your 5K PR time is. The granting agency doesn’t care how many friends you have on Facebook. Your competitors in the race this weekend give two shits if you have to prepare for upcoming job interviews*. So maybe… maybe it’s not fair to compare side-by-side. Assume your list isn’t complete; assume “their” list isn’t, either.

*unless your competitors are your friends. Then, they probably care.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month- Get involved!

Last October, my friend and teammie, Sonja, went all-in and shaved her head to honor a friend that was diagnosed with breast cancer. I know the importance of raising breast cancer awareness, because both my grandmother and great grandmother were diagnosed. It is a sneaky, scary disease, that even mammograms cannot always detect (in fact, screening mammograms can miss up to 20% of breast cancer tumors!). The younger you are, the more at risk of false negative detection. So, knowing the facts of breast health and raising awareness of the disease, even its risk toward younger women, is important.

Check out how some folks are helping to raise breast cancer awareness:

In February, 26.2 with Donna is held in Jacksonville, Florida. It’s a marathon, half marathon, and relay dubbed The National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer. I’ve been wanting to do this particular marathon, so hopefully 2011 will be the year! Who wants to join me?

I LOVE the Don’t Slack- Check Your Rack shirt that my buddy John wears to work. The SWE group at Michigan Tech used to sell “I Heart Boobs” shirts too, as a fundraiser for breast cancer research and awareness. Now if that doesn’t get your attention…

lucy: A women’s activewear brand, lucy® supports the belief that fitness is an essential part of the fight against breast cancer. Exercise can enhance well-being and improve quality of life for young women with breast cancer. They recently got on board with Young Survivor’s Coalition’s Tour de Pink, a charity cycling event to honor survivors, raise awareness, and support programs for young women with the disease. For the month of October, lucy is raising awareness by  offering the “Kick It” and “Pink Race” graphic tees encouraging women to spread awareness in their own communities.

Sarah Stanley Inspired is giving away Moving Comfort’s Support Your Girls shirts on her site. Even cooler? Moving Comfort is donating $5 from every SYG shirt sold to Bright Pink, a national non-profit organization that provides education and support to young women who are at high risk for breast and ovarian cancer. Top that off with a little more coolness- I found out that there is a Bright Pink chapter in the city I’m movin’ to in just a few weeks!

Race for the Cure isn’t just raising breast cancer awareness in the month of October, but rather- all year ’round!  If you don’t race, you can still walk or jog a 5K! The majority of the proceeds for the race stay in the community where the races are held, and a good chunk of the money goes toward funding grants for breast cancer research.

What other ways help raise breast cancer awareness?

Chicago Tri- Sherpa Steez

This past weekend was yet another whirlwind, but I was lucky enough to meet up with my Trakker teammie Michelle in Chicago. She was in from Colorado to race the Lifetime Fitness Chicago Tri, and I was en route to Madison for an interview. I filled in as her midwest tri sherpa, and was it ever a good time.

Although I quite enjoy the sunrises over Lake Superior and the quiet, rather than hustle-and-bustle, that the UP offers, I did really enjoy my time in the windy city. However, if I ever go there again, remind me not to bring my car. I got in a little later than I wanted to on Saturday night thanks to rush hour (on a Saturday, at 6pm) traffic. We headed to dinner around the block and got nestled into bed at a decent hour.

Michelle was racing elite, which meant she was one of the first waves to get going in the Olympic distance event. Fortunately, that meant she wasn’t taking off at 6am, before the sun even came up. Unfortunately, that meant she had to get to the race before the sprint tri started so that she could get her stuff set up in transition before it closed at 5:45am. She was able to get things in order, hopefully under minimal stress, although I wish I had brought along a bike pump for her. We found a good viewing spot on top of a grassy knoll and watched the sprint athletes race out on the swim and in on the run.

Eventually, it was time for her to head in herself, so I found a good spot in line with the swim exit and waited. I started to get excited. I can only imagine how Michelle felt…

After grabbing the most horrid gluten-free breakfast I could find near the race start (Fritos and Coke) I made my way back to the lakeshore to watch the tailend of the sprint group finish up.

One thing I was so in awe about at the Chicago triathlon was that there were so many athletes. At least 8,000 athletes. Not just elite athletes that can put it down in the swim-bike-run, but also pro athletes. Even though I have raced two Rev3s this year and have had my share of the pro-exposure, I am still in awe if ever I see a pro triathlete in my vicinity. But along with these crazy fast athletes came the beginner triathletes. Athletes who may have never swam more than three times before the race. Had no idea how to sight for buoys, swim front crawl, or keep their face in the water. But they were out there, givin’er, on Sunday morning. Sure, some of them got passed by the first (and second) elite waves of the Olympic, even though the elites had a significantly longer swim and started later. But they didn’t seem to care, they were out there having a good time, doing something they would have perhaps never done before if the Triathlon hadn’t come to their city.

Fordy Ford got out on her bike and I did’t get a good chance to see her until she came back in. She was rockin’ though, and she racked her bike up quickly and swapped out her shoes. Off she went, speedster out of T2.

The finish area was several blocks away from transition, and it worked out so that by the time I made it over there (crossing traffic, getting water, and going pee) the elites were already starting to come in. I guess a 10K doesn’t really take that long, so I found a spot on the grass and waited for the women to come in. I started counting blue bibs, and the lead woman came in with a huge lead. Before I knew it, I saw the Green Machine heading toward me.

After she crossed the finish, we meandered around the finish expo, which was great by the way. Eventually, we headed back to transition to get her bike, put it in my car, and head to awards. Although Michelle could get her splits after the race, she wasn’t sure where she had finished, although I was certain it was a top 20 finish and she was thinking it might have even been top ten. She ended up winning her age group and finishing 12th woman overall on the elite/AG side, with a time of 2:21:52. Not bad considering her swim was wetsuit-less (and everyone else had one on..), the bike was bumpy (but she still hammered out nearly 23mph) and the day was hot and humid.

Michelle did a good job of batting her eyes at the consierge and got a late checkout, so we made our way back there to shower and pack up, and then hit up Pizzeria Uno (the original!) on my way out of town. I did a good job of not appearing jealous of her deep dish original pizza, and gnawed on my greens.


Let me preface this post by stating:

#1: I am very super emphatically excited to be a bridesmaid in my friend, Katie’s, wedding. Not only do I get to see her (I haven’t seen her since I ran Whidbey in 2008), but I get to see all sorts of my Montanan collegemates!

#2: I absolutely love Katie and Rob’s wedding colors and I got to pick out my own style of dress! EXCITE!

Now, the bad news:

I have a huge side boob! The pleats somehow missed getting pleated, and the dress is frilly where it shouldn’t be. I am not a master-craftwoman at using the iron, either (do we even have an iron?). I guess I should have it steamed? Dry-cleaned? Altered? Something?

My boobs are not that big!!!! And I don’t want them to give that illusion! HELP!

At least the dress came early (it wasn’t supposed to be here until August 1st) and I have time to figure out how to pleat it juuuust right.

As a side note, I am usually a size 4, but my behemoth lungs take up a bit more real estate (the price you pay for a larger VO2max I suppose). One consequence of this: Dresses are usually tight around the rib cage (and roomy in the boob area). I bought this dress in a size 6, and its a little … constricting. Hopefully come wedding day I can fit into it, because I doubt any seamstress can take it out.

What I’ve been doing for 10 days away from Blogland

I admit it. It’s been a while. It’s been a whirlwind, ridiculous, awesome (and busy) ten days. There’ve been weddings, races, weekends, and wine.

The craziness began with an 11hour drive and a wedding downstate. Baberaham stood up in his great friend’s wedding. We were able to enjoy some time with his family and some drives in his dad’s 1954 TF MG.

The wedding was outdoors at a camp/resort near Fenton, Michigan. The weather was perfect, the bride looked beautiful, and the bride and groom came out to some Dio (Holy Diver to be exact). B looked absolutely handsome in his tuxedo. The only downside was that I accidentally turned off the fuel pump off while trying to turn on the heat (stinkin’ unlabeled toggle switches under the dash!).

After the wedding, B and I headed up north. He dropped me off in Marquette for our girls’ getaway at the Blueberry Ridge Bed and Breakfast. With Marg’s upcoming wedding and ever-piling-stress, the gals from Team Mega Tough thought it would be a good idea to haul her away for a few nights of wine and cheese and chick time. We had delicious breakfasts, awesome runs, and excellent chats. We even did some blueberry picking and took a trip to Grand Island for a long run.

After the girls’ getaway, it was back to Houghton for some work (me) and some wedding preparations.

With bridal showers and barbecues, I was a little less than ready for the 10mile race I do every July- the Hancock Canal Run. My training hasn’t been stellar as of late, and I have been sore, slow, and unhappy. I wasn’t planning on any specific pace, holding onto the hope for a 7:15 (which I was second-guessing and self-doubting all the way up to the morning of). Luckily, Jess was there and stuck it out with me, and we cruised through the first 8 miles at a super-steady 6:50 pace. Sweeeet. I finished in the low 1:09’s, with Jess just a few seconds in front of me, and I was ecstatic to have hit a Canal Run personal record and to not just squeak under the 70min mark. I definitely wasn’t expecting a PR, but I was happy to grab it. I ended up third in my AG with Jess taking 2nd.

After the race, we showered and got our awards, and then headed up to the Jam Pot for some sweets. It was soon time to head to the park for Marg’s wedding, and I was the family photography organizer. Being the bossy gal that I am, we got through the photos without a hitch and started the ceremony on time! Woot.

With TMT in full effect, we rocked out the night with some great food, great friends, and great dancing. I couldn’t have asked for a better week, and I saw so many people and got to catch up with some amazing friends that I haven’t seen in a while (and some that I have). It’s amazing to me how flawless reunions can be, and we’re already planning our next one.

In Motion- lucy style

I’ve never really thought of myself as a fashionable runner. I train in whatever is clean, and when I previously lived in an apartment that didn’t have a laundry facility, that would mean I was training in whatever was clean. Since Baberaham and I have moved to a house and I bought a washer and dryer, I get to cycle through my running clothes more frequently (and am notably less stinky because of it).

And since we’ve moved, I have started to put more thought into what I wear when I am training. And being more color-coordinating-conscious has become a part of my garment-selecting process. For example, I like to run in my Saucony meadow-colored Empress shirt and matching Run Lux shorts, but rarely reach for my bright yellow shorts from college and a mismatching tee.

So, obviously, I’ve become more and more into the gear from Lucy activewear. The really sweet PR folks sent me some apparel to preview before their June release, and I am loving it.

But what I really love, most of all, about this stuff is the comfort of the fabric and fit. The new print, In Motion (azure), is super-stellar too!

The new Propel line, which has just been released, has some really flashy looks. The In Motion block patterning on the Propel Tank camouflages my tube-shaped torso, and gives me a more feminine look. It even comes in a berry-color too! Sure, I really shouldn’t care about what I look like when I run, but what really impresses me about the lucy clothes is that I don’t have to wear them just-to-run. They are nice enough to wear anywhere, and I have been known to wear my spandex to work (and even out to the movies with B).

What’s even more impressive, is that the Propel tank is fitted just-so that, for a small-busted gal like myself, I can get away without wearing a bra. Seriously. There isn’t a built-in bra (which is often hit-or-miss with tank tops), but its fitted and seamed just right to provide support and comfort without any extra underwear. I dig that. Granted, when I wear the top for running only, I wear a sports bra out of habit…

I also dig the coordination of the tops and bottoms. I have a legit running outfit when I get some lucy stuff. The Color Blocked Propel Knee pants have a wide waistband that matched the tank, so I don’t have to worry about low-rise belly popping out when I am jogging along. The seams on the capris are both functional and fashionable, and the colors are bright but not obnoxious. The drawstrings are not chinsy, and won’t get eaten by my dryer after round one. Plus, reflective piping keeps me a little more visible by the cars at dawn or dusk.

The tank top has a slit in the back that aids in venting, and the capris have a stash pocket for keys, goo, or my ID. The capris don’t ride nor are they low rise, and I am not worried about looking good when I am running through downtown, I just run.

In one word, lucy clothes are FUN. They are well constructed and modest, and absolutely functional.

Check out lucy’s new summer line here.

lucy activewear- review

I finally own a washer and dryer. I bought them used off craigslist when we found out our new place had hookups. Let me preface this by saying that I love living in the Upper Peninsula. Among other things, housing is cheap and used stuff is practically given away. So I now am able to wash (and dry! although I hang dry all my running gear) my clothes more frequently, no longer have a clothes pile of stench brewing in my bedroom, and can run more regularly in my favorite clothes.

Luckily for my wardrobe I had stocked up on running clothes prior to owning a washer and dryer. In the days when I had trek it to the laundromat with five hundred pounds of denim, lycra, and wool, I managed to buy enough running clothes to run in something clean for approximately two weeks. Yes, I have at least ten pairs of shorts, four pairs of capris, and too many running tops to count. My rate-limiting-factor, at least during the pre-washambrian era, was underwear. My stints between laundroramas were about five weeks, though. Do the math… I definitely re-wore my favorite items (particularly my Saucony Run Lux shorts and Empress top that take refuge in my locker at the gym) more than I would like to mention. But, all is fair in love and war (and that statement has nothing to do with anything I am talking about)- and with the arrival of Dame Washer and Sir Dryer, I could breathe a sigh of relief (and send the shorts I still have from high school off to Goodwill).

A few weeks ago, I received an email from lucy activewear asking if I’d like to review some of their new products for the spring. New running clothes? For free? That are stylish? What girl could say no (even this girl that has so many running clothes they are pouring out of their cubby)? The bag of goods arrived promptly after I agreed to “give ’em a shot”- and off we went for a jog or two. Or maybe ten… since it’s been over a month since I got the package! I have definitely had a chance to run, wash, repeat with all the items that came in the minimal-packaging from the west coast.

Note for my dude readers: Not all is lost by reading this review. If you’re shopping for your mom for Mother’s Day or your girlfriend because you did something wrong, you might want to read ahead.

Here’s a little info on the stuff I got, and what I think about it-

High Hurdle Capri Skirt– These are actually somewhat hidden on lucy’s website. My first impression of a capri-with-a-skirt-over-it was: “Oy”. I (no offense intended) first associated this item with ‘something a running mom might wear’- not that such a thing is bad for me to wear, but I definitely am one to prefer sports-bra-and-low-rise-shorts running. I have gotten into wearing running skirts as of late, though, and I do like a select few pairs of capris, so I thought- what the heck. I’d at least give them a try.

The fit was quite welcoming, and I was warming up to the capri quickly. I found myself wearing the “skirpris” to work on the weekends. I felt confident wearing them, too- I felt like I was showing off my legs without actually showing too much of my legs. And the skirt was key- no way in heck I’d be wearing capri tights to work and having everyone stare at my seriously-tight-pants (wondering why I didn’t have undie-lines… or whatever they may be wondering). A sweetly located (and seriously huge) pocket on the left leg makes this a great bottom to wear in a race too (stash the gels, yo!):

I definitely pull these skirpris out on cooler mornings and evenings. Having a bit more coverage helps me get through my workouts a bit easier. Plus, I feel alright about running through town, not worrying about whether my old capris wore a hole right through the butt seam (um… don’t ask). Kudos for lucy for having a very well ventilated skirpri, that didn’t give me any weird rubbing or hot spots. The pocket is big enough to fit my digital camera (Lumix DMC-TS1). The material is lucy truetek, which is an extra durable, moisture-wicking micro-fiber jersey with high compression.

My only issue with the skirt-capri is that it rides down. I know this is probably an atypical problem- most people have issues with stuff riding up. But since I like to run commando in my running duds, I like my duds to be, well, snug. These weren’t so much. The longer I ran, the more the movement of my knees pulled the capri-part-of-the-ensemble down, and away from being snug. I never felt like the waistband was going to drop below any region that I didn’t want exposed, but I got a little annoyed by having to tug on the waistband to get them more-snuggable. Perhaps lucy knows about this issue, and that’s why the skirpris are hidden on the website?

Propel Jacket – This jacket is the cat’s meow. I wear this jacket all the time (not just when I am walk/running like the website says its ‘intended for’). It fits absolutely perfect for me, which isn’t always easy because I’m not the most femininely shaped gal out there. My shoulders are broad, my rib cage is big, but my chest is small, and my waist is lacking any shape besides flat (which I don’t consider a bad thing). I got the jacket in Grass, size small, and it looks goooood. What is my obsession with green?! 🙂

The full-length zipper on this jacket is lined with reflective fabric, which makes me a smidge safer when running at dawn and dusk. The material used for the jacket is lucy tech, which is a “heavier” (and I use that term loosely) fabric that seems to be able to withstand just about anything. The jacket really is lightweight, even though the feel of the material would make you think it should weigh a lot. Does that make any sense?

The pockets are streamlined to be hidden, but I can run with my keys in my pocket without them bouncing around a whole lot. The arm length (and this is where a lot of people are really picky about their running jackets)- are PERFECT. They are long enough to cover my hand, if I so choose, and they have a “thumb loop” which is actually a thumb-less mitten. The end of the sleeve covers my entire hand minus my thumb. Amazing. And again, the length is perfect, it doesn’t make me feel like I am stretching the jacket at all to put the mitten on, and putting my thumb through the loop is natural. If I don’t want to wear it with my thumb through the loop, the length of the sleeves are just long enough that they don’t annoy me to push them up a bit.

I wear this jacket practically everywhere. To work, to run, on the plane, at a friend’s, everywhere. And I sometimes don’t notice when I had worn it the day before and spat on myself and then wear it to a friend’s for dinner. Or maybe I do, and just don’t care enough to be separated from it long enough for it to get washed. Ok, maybe that’s a little too over the top.

Qualms with this jacket? Nada. There are no tags to bother me, the zipper doesn’t rub my chin, and the fabric is stretchy and smooth (and a great color). Love it.

Quick-Zip Tank– My first thought when pulling the QuickZip out of the bag was: “Padding? Really?” I took the bra-lining-padding out (very easily, I might add), and tried the top on. It fit – as did the other things – perfectly. I liked the “sneaky cleavage” that the top offered. It looks like there are two different pieces, and the bottom layer is peakin’ through the top, but its really all one piece. The mesh bra is smooth and not abrasive, and wicks moisture really well. The material is mostly moisture-wicking lucy tech- with a coolmax and mesh lined shelf bra.The print is cool, too- digitized print- from a distance, it looks like a pattern (maybe islander? maybe artsy?) but up close its just a bunch of squares. The length and the fit are very flattering. I like that the top comes below my hips, and it compliments the skirpris well. It isn’t super-tight below the ribs, which is also nice when I am feeling like I ate too much pizza the night before. And the support-area isn’t so tight that it makes me feel like I am getting the air squeezed out of me, but its tight enough to keep me from being uncomfortable. I like to call that “Just-tight-enough.” I definitely don’t need to wear another bra under it, the shelf bra is plenty for this 34A gal.

I think this will be a great training top for riding my bike this summer. If I didn’t already have an amazingly flashy-and-fast race top, and it had a pocket in the back- I’d consider it. I’ve worn this top on several rides under my jersey, and I haven’t noticed any issues with under-arm rubbing. I haven’t taken it out on any long runs yet, though… Maybe this weekend!

Propel Run Skort– This might very well be one of the best running skirt I’ve found. It fits so snug, doesn’t move around at all, and the liner shorts are like spandex race bottoms that are a bit longer to prevent my thighs from starting a fire by friction (13.5inch inseam!). There are pockets on both the right and left sides of the shorts under the skirt, and the right one is inverted (which is perfect for carrying gel wrappers or – in my case – an inhaler). The inverted one is actually to make this skirt usable for tennis too, but since I don’t play tennis… I will just use it for my inhaler. The left one is big enough to fit an entire EFS Liquid Shot bottle in it, which I found amazing.

The first time I tried out the skirt was the day it arrived- and it just so happened to be hill-repeat-day on Ingot Street. I trolley-la’d over to the Fairgrounds feeling pretty prim and proper. I mean, the skirt has ruffles for cripes sake! I had no idea. But, the snug fit and lightweight material made me forget quickly that I was wearing a skirt. The skirt material never hindered my stride, and I was able to rock some pretty serious sprints with it. It’s made out of something called lucy truetek™, which wicks moisture and has UPF 50. Can you tell? My skin is still see-through.

I like this skirt so much, that I ran the Salt Lake City Marathon in it. True, I didn’t have my Saucony race kit yet, but the skort was pretty flashy. I am proud to say that my inner thighs came out totally unscathed. Sweet! So light, so fast.

I didn’t even need to use them, but the Propel skirt comes with drawstrings in case the waistband needs to be tightened. Like I said, I didn’t have the skirt move on me whatsoever, so I just tuck the drawstrings inside the skirt. The material for all the lucy items that I received is smooth, wicking, and incredibly comfortable. I was hesitant to dive into their products, so I am incredibly grateful that they were willing to send me some of their new products to try out. To my relief, the stuff has held up thus far well in the washer. I even had to wash the jacket twice before wearing it, because the not-so-new washing machine didn’t quite get all the detergent off (and speckles of detergent made it look like I spat all over myself about six times. Maybe I did?). I even throw the stuff in the dryer too, set to low heat, and nothing seems to be affected. Elasticity is maintained in the skirt, the jacket still fits perfect, and the seams are all still tightly sewn up.

Their line is definitely driven with the female athlete in mind, and their product spans all levels, from entry-level jogger to yoga instructor. Although most of their items are affordable, I’m not too geeked about paying nearly $40 for a seamless racerback bra. But! I can vouch that $44 spent on the Propel Skirt is totally worth it! And 88 bucks isn’t too bad for a jacket like the Propel Jacket, considering that last year I bought a Sugoi Helium jacket (retails at $100) that is like wearing a garbage bag.

For the cost-conscious gal, has a lot of items that are on clearance, including casual wear! They stock tunics! And the tunics are cute! Who’da thought.

AND! Get this: lucy activewear sells other stuff, not just clothes, including hydration belts! You can get the Nathan Quick Draw in the same shipment as your next bra. That’s pretty cool.

All in all, I think lucy makes a great product that can actually withstand the rough lifestyle of a competitive athlete (and still look cute). The flat-seams that all the items I received have keep the pieces fitted, but also help it have a longer life.

Disclaimer: lucy activewear sent me these items free of charge to review on my blog. I did not receive any money for this review, and I am reviewing their products honestly.

Why so few?

AAUW, formerly known as the American Association of University Women, recently released a report titled: Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

AAUW was selected by the National Science Foundation to conduct the study outlined in the report, digging deep into the reasons and implications of the lack of women in the STEM fields. The report describes several ways in which schools (from grade school through university), communities, families, and the workplace can create a better environment to disrupt negative stereotypes associated with women in science and math.

One really cool thing (among a lot of other really cool things) was the entire chapter dedicated to spatial skills. The spatial-skills training research of Sheryl Sorby, a professor at Michigan Tech, was featured in the report. Sorby, who literally wrote the book on learning spatial visualization, identified methods for improving retention, particularly of female students, who learn these skills.  Many engineering students see spatial visualization as the walk-in-the-door, take-the-test-determinant of whether or not they’ll be a good engineer. They do not necessarily realize that spatial visualization is not innate, it is learned. Sorby says:

Most engineering faculty have highly developed 3-D spatial skills and may not understand that others can struggle with a topic they find so easy. Furthermore, they may not believe that spatial skills can be improved through practice, falsely believing that this particular skill is one that a person is either “born with” or not. They don’t understand that they probably developed these skills over many years.

The report goes on to describe a plethora of other important points related to female success and retention in STEM fields. It offers a thorough list of recommendations at the end of each chapter and at the end of the report as well.

Some cool highlights of the report:

  • Although women are the majority of college students, they are far less likely than their male peers to plan to major in a STEM field (page 5 of report)
  • Women’s representation among tenured faculty is lower than one would expect based on the supply of female science and engineering doctoral degree recipients in recent decades (Kulis et al, 2002, from page 17 of report)
  • Expose girls to successful female role models in math and science (recommendation, from page 42 of report)
  • Encourage students to have a more flexible or growth mindset about intelligence (figure below, from recommendation, from page 42 of report)
  • Teachers and professors can reduce reliance on stereotypes by making performance standards and expectations clear (recommendation, from page 50 of report)
  • Make a female-friendly department by sponsoring a women-in-science group (recommendation, from page 65 of report)
  • Conduct departmental reviews to assess the climate for female faculty (recommendation, from page 72 of report)
  • Spread the word about girls’ and womens’ achievements in math and science (recommendation, from page 90 of report)

    A growth mindset promotes persistence in STEM (from page 34 of report)

I encourage everyone to head over to AAUW’s website and download a copy of it.

Come see how good I look

City Light crew sock. One of four pairs of socks I own that I am not allowed to use for running (under my own discretion).

Zoolander is probably one of my favorite movies. Ok, it’s a little dumb. And it might be one of two movies that I find Ben Stiller entertaining and annoying at the same time. But dumb is good. It’s a movie where I don’t have to think, I can just laugh and cling on to the catchy phrases for weeks to come.

So, “what’s the dealio, yo?” Well, yesterday, when I got a boatload of new-clothes goodies in the mail, I decided to play “Come see how good I look!”. I will admit that spending several hundred dollars on new clothes is probably not in the best interest of a grad student. But, when you live several hundred miles away from a mall and the only shopping you do is for groceries and the occasional bike part, a splurge every once in a while probably balances out (I can honestly say that I haven’t been in the door of a Macy’s in over four years). After my ride yesterday afternoon, and a quick shower, I tried on everything outta the box (as any girl should when delivery of new clothes occurs). Since I was in such desperate need of some nice, casual clothes, I didn’t feel so bad about making room in my drawer by pulling out ratty old race shirts. I have  committed to donating approximately three thousand pounds of race shirts, sweaters and jeans from high school, and shirts that I have and have never worn (except to try on) to Goodwill when Baberaham and I move out of our apartment. So, as soon as the 2010 Spring/Summer line came out at Icebreaker, I was all over it. Good news, the clothes (all eight items) came in a box the size of a shoebox. Way to be environmentally conscious, IB!

It’s that damn Icebreaker, and it’s so hot right now! Icebreaker.

Amazon Scoop, Butterfly Line (Superfine 150 Print)

Along with throwing another GT item in my training-clothes drawer (I got the GT Dash long sleeve, in thistle; absolutely gorgeous color), I also decided I needed some jazzy short sleeve casual shirts.  I really like the feel of the Superfine 150 tops, and I am now actually afraid that I won’t be able to wear a “normal” cotton shirt again. The tops fit through the waist, and are even a little on the long side. The Amazon Scoop neck is a little wider (more like a boatneck) than deep (no cleavage here!). It might fit differently for more (ahem) well-endowed-in-the-chest women.

Tech Tee Lite, Sunrise (Superfine 150 Print)

The Tech Tee Lite is more like an athletic fit, and it has a really rad pattern across the back. I really like the tight-fitting of the sleeves. I don’t have to worry about raising my arm and my armpits showing (I loathe cap-sleeves), nor do I have to worry about readjusting the shirt because the sleeves are too tight. I wouldn’t put myself in the scrawny-arm category, so I am quite satisfied with the fit of these sleeves.

Next thing, after trying it all on, was to go to to see where my new wears came from. Such a sweet feature! Practically all the Icebreaker gear come with a tag on the inside with a “BAACode”- where you can plug in the code online and see where the wool that made your apparel came from.

My Amazon scoop top came from one of three sheep stations on the South Island.

Abbie is an ambiturner.

She looked left!

Abbie approved, and she couldn’t help but snuggle up next to me in my new shirt (and show me her Zoolander skills). For those of you who have never met Abs, you should know that she is not the most social of butterflies and usually avoids sitting near me at any cost (but for some reason she really enjoys the company of Baberaham who takes pleasure in making her life miserable). Nonetheless, having her approach me in my new soft shirt must have been a seal of approval.

Lastly, I got my first long-sleeve dress shirt, merino wool Meridian in Fiesta. The color is quite pink, and it matches the colors online. In fact, all the tops are practically the same shade as that online. No disappointing “Well I thought it was more pink than that!”- Not that I really want more pink (I’m not so much a pink-girl). But I really like the color. It’s earthy and the top fits nearly perfect. Again, its long through the waist. The sleeves are long and the edges and seams are very delicate. The top is a little see-through, so I will definitely have to throw a camisole under it.

The longsleeve Meridian in Fiesta makes for a nice, professional v-neck top.

I'm really worried that merino wool undies will spoil me ...

I also got my first pair of merino wool undies, the Nature bikini. It came in a box with a really awesome photo of New Zealand. Man, I miss that place.

Here’s to having a little piece of New Zealand with me every day. On my feet, my bum, or my torso. Woohoo! Seriously, there has to be more to life than looking really, really, ridiculously good looking.

Check out The Frayed Laces Grad-Student-Athlete-Chica Roundtable

The blogosphere is quite entertaining sometimes. It really surprises me how small a world it really is, and it’s really encouraging to find “others like me” in a world that I once thought was so big.

I started this thing as a means to connect with my family in a well-rounded package. I could post photos and words and “my day today was (blank)”- and it satisfied my mom, my dad, my grandparents, etc. Eventually, the internet worked its magic and some folks I didn’t know in person started following my blog. I started to find people that liked to run, liked to bike, liked to learn, liked to teach. I found grad students, engineers, professionals, athletes, and the like. I even found my teammates before they were my teammates (Jamie and Sonja in particular)

In the mix, and I’m not exactly sure how, I found Frayed Laces. She is a grad student (like me), a runner (like me), and a fairly-newbie triathlete (ok, I think you get the point). No, we’re not the same person. She’s definitely not on a gluten free diet, and she lives in Hawaii. And she studies different stuff (but she does junky on the Matlab every once in a while).

Recently, she put the word out on the interwebs about a grad student/gal discussion she wanted to host. She sent me an email and I was quick to respond. The topic– Balancing Graduate School and Training: A Female Perspective.

Who could pass that up? Check out our dialogue on her blog at Frayed Laces. Here’s hoping I didn’t say anything incriminating, because I know my advisor reads this (ohh, interwebs).