The last time I ran competitively was in high school. Winning the freshman mile for the track team in just under six minutes was pretty much the peak of my running career. Basketball was my sport. While on scholarship at San Francisco State University, we had to do bi-monthly mile run tests in the offseason. While my teammates loathed our trainer’s tactic for keeping our butts in gear, I relished the opportunity the transport myself back to the thrill (and the fear) of gutting out four fast laps (relatively fast for a basketball player, anyway).
Since then, my running has become, well, more social — I’m more of a jog around Green Lake and go for a beer kind of gal. In an ambitious week, I might put in 10 miles total. I admire all the diehard runners I see out at the crack of dawn in their reflective gear, and marathoners buzzing about their training, but I haven’t felt compelled to approach my own running in the way I once attacked my workouts.
Then I met Oiselle. When I first heard about the women’s running apparel company and their team of runners, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Even though we train tons of speedy people, the day-to-day of what they do and the sport in general is a bit mysterious — running just doesn’t get as much attention as most sports. Put it this way, when I coached the first Jasyoga for Runners class at Oiselle HQ, I’d never heard of Lauren Fleshman, a huge name in running who is now a Oiselle sponsored pro and biz partner. Woops! (I’ve since joined the masses who are crushing on her.)
Something shifted after that first class. The HQ crew’s energy and passion for their sport reminded me why I set out to teach yoga to athletes six years ago — I loved my sport (hoops) so much and yoga changed my game in such a profound way that I wanted to share this tool with other athletes, not to turn them into yogis, but to help them optimize and sustain their athletic experience and passion.
When Oiselle Pro Runner Kate Grace came to town last month to throw down in her 3000m indoor debut, I was seriously bummed that I wasn’t able to see the action live. I sat in a yoga workshop totally distracted, glued to my Twitter feed as I waited to learn about her amazing 2nd place, 8.55 finish. Honestly, I never pegged myself as a track and field fan, but now I’m hooked... and I suspect I’m not the only person who feels this way.
So here’s my prediction: these clever birds are going to do for running what lululemon did for yoga — make it cool. Not that the sport isn’t already cool, but it’s definitely not getting the attention it deserves. Keep your eyes on Oiselle, because they’re not just changing women’s running apparel, they’re paving the way for broader changes in the sport — from providing more community and inspiration (their amazing network includes Picky Bars and Believe I Am, also both co-owned by Fleshman), to taking on USATF about their bogus singlet compliance rules. It just doesn’t get much more authentic — or cool — than that.
I’m thrilled that Oiselle has embraced Jasyoga and feel privileged to be a part of what they’re doing in some small way. Said CEO Sally Bergesen, “Yoga isn’t just another workout — it’s a real game changer.”
To hear runners say things like this about yoga gives me goosebumps in the same way I felt winning my high school mile. And to see runners tweeting pictures of their newfound fave poses is like gold (legs up the wall — BOOM!). I’m reminded that, like yoga, running is for everyone — whether you’re fast, slow, run marathons, or just bust a move every now and then. As much as Jasyoga is all about balance, and I try to practice what I preach by striking a balance between effort and ease, sometimes you have to lace up, go fast, and take chances. So relish your running, optimize it with yoga designed with you in mind, and spread your wings just a little bit wider. This is what Oiselle is helping me learn to do.
To those of you who are wondering, Oiselle (Pronounced: wa-zell, a French word for bird) alludes to freedom, flight, and damn good women's running apparel. Check out our new fave running gear — which doubles as our new fave yoga gear — at www.oiselle.com!