The night before the NYRR Mini 10K (the oldest women's only race worldwide), I wasn't sure on what to wear. Since the recovery of the Half felt a little bit off, I wasn't concerned about racing, but more so wanted to represent girls and women of color in the sport. I set aside a pair of black shorts and a black singlet. I don't know about you, but how small or big a race, the night of, I can barely sleep, so there I was, in bed awake almost all night, but when I did wake up, I just knew I had to change my outfit. You might think: why is she even talking about this, but read on if you're curious.
Sometime last year, during the summer time, I was told that I wasn't fast enough to wear a crop top when racing. This conversation with that person lasted for an hour. I was upset, mad, frustrated. Not that we as women are already very much preoccupied with what society and the media tell us what is desirable, accepted and what is perceived as successful, the conversation left me feeling that I wasn't enough. Not good enough. Not fast enough. And yes, I am conscious of the fact that I am no where near a professional athlete, but letting someone else define what I can and cannot wear, was not good.
The morning of the race, I knew what I wanted to wear: a crop top. Not to go to yoga, or climbing, not to go for a training run, not to go out, but to show up at the starting line in Central Park and race. Since I ran a decent time at the Brooklyn Half Marathon previously, the race organization moved me a few waves up; to my surprise, I ended up standing right behind this year's Boston Marathon Champion Des Linden, all time Champion Mary Keitany, badass women runners Diane Nukuri, Aliphine Tuliamuk, Molly Huddle, and friends from the running community such as Angela Ortiz (NBR) and Rebeka Stowe (Nike NYC).
It was exhilarating and yes, it made me nervous to stand up there, to start off with the strong elite and sub-elite runners, but at the same time, during the race, I felt the feeling of relief overcoming me. I was full of joy, finally being able to run as a full version of me. The way I want to dress and feel. With my mascara, my jewelry, my body. There was nobody telling me differently, because I was already doing it. In it. In this race, with whatever I wanted to wear, whatever I wanted this race to be. It was amazing to run that morning as so many people came out to cheer us strangers on. I thought about all the beautiful women who came out as their own full versions of themselves, dressed however they wanted and liked and doing 'their thing'.
After completing, I stood by the finish line for a while to watch all the women in all kinds of bodies, sizes and shapes finish the race with the biggest smiles and it made me so happy. To see their proud faces. With their own strong bodies. That moment belonged to them.
And every moment in your own body should belong to you alone.
This is just a small reminder: do not let anyone kill your vibe. Do you, always. Your body belongs to you and you can do whatever you want with it. You can wear whatever you want. And nobody should make you feel small, or not enough, because you are enough and perfect as you are! You are on your own journey, in your own lane, so continue to grow and shine.
Happy Monday friends and big love to you!
P.S.: Here is a short essay I wrote on feeling comfortable running in a sports bra if you'd like to read more on this topic.