My blog pseudonym is not just a fun wordplay on my name (Robyn). In fact, the origins of the “Birdie” nickname date back to when I was a scrawny and awkward freshman in high school.
I had just made the basketball team after a nerve wracking three days of tryouts. Almost immediately on the first day of practice, I was bestowed the nickname “Birdie” by the older gals. It stuck like glue, and from then on—in all the sports I played—I was rarely called by my actual name. Some old friends still call me Birdie, and thus it became the inspiration behind my blog title.
Back in my high school days, the only place I really felt completely comfortable and like myself was on the court (and the softball field and the track). Being a three-sport athlete was how I matured in those years, and to this day I’m grateful for all the lessons I learned and friends I made along the way. No surprise— I still associate the “Birdie” name with all those experiences that built me up, helped me feel strong, and fueled my athletic endeavors. Birdie was my athletic alter-ego in a way; the person I became when I was given the chance to train and compete. I’ve carried this title into my current life as a runner (see: blog URL, header, twitter handle, etc.), and it’s become a happy reminder of the days when my ambitions as an athlete really started to blossom.
It is no wonder, then, why the cute clothes with birds on them first caught my eye in Seattle running stores. I soon discovered the brains behind the fabrics were a small, local group of women, operating under the all-too-appropriate name, Oiselle. As a former François student, I knew this meant “bird” in French—and was tickled by the triple-threat combo of the running, the French femininity, and the bird icon.
Being a Seattle runner, it didn’t take long before the internet (namely Twitter) connected the dots, and I quickly began to learn what this company was all about. That initial jolt of giddiness soon turned into an insane level of respect, admiration, and inspiration for all the great things this company was bringing to women’s running. Of course, the clothing speaks for itself; comfort, looks, performance, fit— it really has it all. I constantly find myself either “saving” my Oiselle clothes for long runs or key workouts (look good feel good, right?), or avoiding wearing my Oiselle gear as I love to wear it for everyday use. It’s a great problem to have and speaks to the expertise put into the design.
However, while fashion is all well and good, the thing that ultimately struck me about Oiselle was their advocacy for female runners. From the professional track stars to the novice age-groupers, Oiselle seemed to be rooting for women in all levels of running. Their passion helped me to recognize the potential in my own running—that it could be a sport, a lifestyle, and not just a “way to stay in shape.”
Running, to me, has become a means of building my external and internal strength as an athlete and as a woman. As it turned out, I discovered that this was exactly the ethos of Oiselle’s racing team— a group of women who support Oiselle’s mission and subsequently represent all the goodness that exists in women’s running. I had to be a part of it.
Patience was necessary when I first expressed interest in being on the team. Not only were there several Seattle gals interested in Oiselle, but there were hundreds of runners all over the country vying for a spot themselves. Oiselle was intent on maintaining a sisterhood within their team, understandably, and while I was anxious to be a part of it all—I could respect that this camaraderie was imperative in Oiselle’s overall mission. I supported their mission, so how could I not support this decision?
So I waited, but my interest never waned. After a few nudges to try once more, I gave it another shot, and I’m so proud to announce that I am now one of the newest members of Oiselle’s Volée Racing Team!
I cannot begin to explain how excited I am about this opportunity. I’m honored and ecstatic for this development in my career as a runner, and it feels like the beginning of something very good. The idea of contributing to a team again—especially a team of such strong women and runners—is so exhilarating, and I haven’t been able to shake the feeling that this is exactly what I need. I intend to wholeheartedly represent the brand and it’s mission while reaching toward my own running goals, and I look forward to cheering on and learning from all the other incredible women involved.
I never really considered that, as an adult, I could feel like that same enthusiastic and motivated athlete that I did back in my Birdie days. I figured that those days of competition and being a part of a team were behind me, and I could silently play the part by being an amateur runner.
Suddenly, it feels like that first day of practice again. It’s exciting, humbling, a little scary, and perhaps more than anything—motivating. The Birdie has turned into a Bird, and it seems there are endless, open skies ahead.