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