A Bird in Bird-in-Hand

I didn’t do it on purpose — as I had no idea I’d (finally!) be selected for the team when I registered — but it was oh-so-very fitting that I made my Oiselle Volèe Team debut at the Bird-in-Hand Half Marathon this past Saturday.

For those unfamiliar with Oiselle (translation: “bird” in French), it’s a completely awesome women’s running apparel company that’s all about girl/woman power, flying (a.k.a running), and being true to your amazing, bad@s* self. The company’s founder, Sally Bergesen, is one of my role models. She’s an entrepreneur (me, too!), runner (me, too!), and serious marketing/branding genius (I’m working on it!). Think She-Ra in running shoes! The Oiselle Volèe and Haute Volèe (pros) Teams are a group of extraordinary women that not only represent the brand, but also believe running is a life philosophy, not just a sport. Knowing all that, you can get an idea of why I was super psyched — as in I screamed when I got the announcement — to be selected for this team (after two years of trying!), and why BIH was the perfect place to make my debut as a bird.

This was my second appearance at the BIH half, which is a beautiful (and very hilly!) course in Amish Country, Pennsylvania. In 2012, I set a new PR (that lasted until Eugene), so I was excited to get back out there and give this course another go.

Once again, this race did not disappoint.

I kicked off the morning with a strawberry Pop-Tart (Reminder: Must order more Picky Bars!!!), and a starting line meet-up with fellow bird/Oiselle teammate/Lancaster native, Victoria and her friend Kyle. It was a lot of fun to hangout with such cool ladies and definitely got me pumped for the race.

IMG_2813

If that wasn’t enough, I got to do my warm-up with hot air balloons floating around above me. (How freakin’ cool is that?!)

IMG_2829

The weather was pretty much perfect for running – sunny and 50 degrees. So perfect that I had to throw my Oiselle arm warmers at my always-so-supportive husband/race photog extraordinaire at the three-mile mark.

IMG_2836

As the miles flew by, there were equal parts human and farm animal spectators cheering my fellow runners and I up and over the hills.

IMG_2859

 

IMG_2876

 

IMG_2871

Inspired by the animal cheerleaders, I did my own animal impression…of a bird, of course.

IMG_2846

I was feeling pretty good at mile 10, so I decided to kick things up a notch, or as my husband said, “drop the hammer.” This resulted in negative splits for the final 5k – a killer feat for someone with a bad habit of going out too fast and dying at the end of a race.

IMG_2893

I finished the race two minutes faster than the previous year, and clocked my second fastest half time ever! With my full marathon (hey, Akron!) in three weeks, I was definitely happy with this performance.

photo (7)

And this was the reward for my 13.1-mile adventure. It gives new meaning to the term “hardware.” Seriously. I almost toppled over when they handed it to me.

photo (9)

All in all, it was a great day to make my debut as a bird and fly through Bird-in-Hand! I definitely see you again next year, BIH Half!

Butterflies

Swarms of yellow and black butterflies have descended on the park near my house. Today, I counted 23 of them during my short five-mile run. I don’t mind their company. They make it seem as if I’m running through some sort of fairytale land. Their presence is also appropriate since I feel as if I’ve swallowed a few lately. (Figuratively, not literally.) Tomorrow, I will attempt to do something I’ve never done in all the years I’ve been running. I’m not sure whether I’ll make it, or if my body will cooperate, but I’m hoping the butterflies are a good omen.