Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Oiselle Love: FLY!

When I first applied to be on the Oiselle team, I saw it as an opportunity to get to know a local brand of running clothes, get some free gear, and do what I could to promote women’s running through some store promotions, social media, and simply talking about their product to other runners. My blog twin Alyssa sent me some information and put me in touch with the team manager. I completed the thorough application and questionnaire and was quickly notified that I had been accepted as part of the team.

For a bit of background, Oiselle (pronounced wa-zell) is a brand of running clothes started by the ever talented, Sally Bergesen, who wanted to find the perfect pair of running shorts. It’s “A French word for bird, it alludes to that feeling of weightlessness that most runners know and love. That sense of flight – when the legs go fast and the heart goes free.” In Sally’s quest, she’s crafted beautiful (not your typical adjective for sweaty running clothes) apparel. But more importantly, she’s built a company, a running team, and the “Oiselle family” that travels in flocks to starting lines, workouts, and most recently the Olympic trials in Eugene.

Being part of the Oiselle team, has given me a new sense of pride as a female runner. Sally and her team have a way of making every “bird” feel special, as though we’re all on the same running plane…or rather, invited to the same track. When the Olympic trials were in Eugene last month, Oiselle hosted a contest called “totally trials” to invite a duo of non-sponsored runners the chance to spend three days at the Trials meeting some of the Oiselle athletes competing and watching American running history unfold. Through the Trials coverage, seeing the pictures from the Oiselle team, and reading the interviews on Flotrack, my heart went out to many of the athletes. From the courage by LaurenFleshman, to the heartbreak of Julie Lucas, and the resilience and total domination by Amy Hastings, I could feel the emotions. I realize I’ll never be this caliber of an athlete on the track. Even the McMillan calculator tells me my 5k time would be minutes off the qualifying standard (and the chances of me signing up for a track meet are slim to none). But I’ve also had my ups and downs in sport, we all have, and this will never change.

Through my connection at Oiselle, I feel like it’s a team and a brand that would support me no matter what. Even after my first DNF earlier this year, I received several sweet messages from teammates and our team manager, Kristin Metcalf. I know I am very fortunate to be one of their “birds,” because it’s a network of strong women with a passion for running. Oiselle crafts ideas by using words like: empower, beautiful, transform, compete. And browsing through the team blog, I liked the way Kristin described Oiselle: “A company founded on the idea that running makes us stronger women and makes us better people because it challenges us and inspires us to push harder and to continue to learn about ourselves.”

In college at Gonzaga, I studied Accounting with a concentration in Entrepreneurial Leadership. The concentration was more of an afterthought after receiving a small scholarship to take part in one of their new academic programs. But throughout my courses, I gained a new respect for people starting their own businesses and learned that secrets to success, like running, include hard work, enthusiasm, perseverance, and some level of crazy (mile repeats in the dark early morning rain, anyone? anyone?). Oiselle was started in 2007 and has beaten the odds of success faced by many small businesses through the passion, care, and dedication from Sally and her team. I see this same sense of pride in athletic brands like SOAS and Betty Designs, who have beautifully designed triathlon kits created by women athletes.

When I wrote this blog post in my head – on a run, might I add – it wasn’t meant to push Oiselle products on any of my readers, though their clothing is great, functional, and stylish. I really just wanted to spread the word about a company who is doing great things by empowering women runners across the globe to stand by the company’s motto: go fast and take chances. I feel like all women runners (and triathletes) have this universal connection. We all know the foot pounding, heart racing, tear welling feeling of (literally) chasing down a dream to reach a goal. Whether it’s pursuing your dreams, starting a business, or running a race, get out there, spread your wings, and fly, ladies, fly!

Pictures from @oiselle website, @oiselle_sally, and Oiselle blog
Bottom center is Kate Grace @katefullofgrace in the 800
Follow the team of flyers at @oiselle_team

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