Some of you may know Nicole DeBoom as the creator of the running skirt: She won an Ironman triathlon sporting a skirt. She’s since grown skirts into her beloved company, Skirt Sports. Nicole is nearly six months pregnant with her first baby—we’re so happy for her and her hubby, professional triathlete Tim DeBoom.
Why I ran then.
When I was in 6th grade, I ran because cross-country was the only sport that 6th graders were allowed to do. In high school, I ran the 800 meters so I could contribute to our 2-mile relay team. In college, I ran for a variety of reasons: to cross-train for my swimming career; for general vanity (I liked how my legs looked when I ran!); and so I could continue my glorious weekend partying ways without gaining too much weight since swimming isn’t really known for keeping the ladies lean!
After college, I ran whenever I had time to fit in a workout. Some days, I would come home at night from a temp job, throw on a heavy winter jacket with a strap-on reflective vest (just like crossing guards wear!), and go for a nighttime run in the dead of winter in Chicago. I think that’s when I officially fell in love with running; I think that’s when running became a lifestyle to me.
For a while, I ran for a living. I spent six years as a professional triathlete. I thought it was the coolest job I would ever have (I didn’t know that Skirt Sports was just around the corner!). Yes, there were days I didn’t love running, that I simply went out there and got the job done. But for every bad day, I had another that was off the charts. It was during those years when I learned how to push my limits. Running taught me more about my body than anything else I’ve ever done.
Why I run now.
I run because it’s accessible. I throw on my shoes and hit the roads. It’s that easy. No clunky bicycle to lug around the country (for $200 round trip). No hassle to find a public pool with lap swim availability. No expensive health club fees. Just me and the pavement.
I run because it clears my mind. I have my best ideas while running. I also have some of my worst ideas! It was during a run that I had the most life-changing idea of my life so far--I had the idea for Skirt Sports, smack dab in the middle of a dreary mid-winter training run.
Today I run because I’m pregnant with my first baby and my body is like a foreign object. Running keeps me in tune with it. I run much slower (20 pounds will do that to you!). I need more water (dehydration is a big no-no!). I am not a great conversationalist (can’t breathe!). I need to stop more frequently (bladder calls!). But I can still run. In fact, I feel best when I’m out there shuffling along.
I like to think I’m getting my Baby Girl accustomed to the life of an endorphin junkie. No pressure, she will be free to explore her world on her own terms. My only true hope for her is she finds something as wonderful and meaningful to her as running is to me. And when she finds it, she will feel right at home.
I run to give back to other women (and Baby Girls!), in the hope that they too will find strength, power, and confidence from such a simple act as putting one foot in front of the other.
I run because it’s part of me.