Community Recollections on Boldness for International Women’s Day

    Recollections on Boldness for International Women’s Day


    Running a marathon is bold. When I ran my tenth in Los Angeles last November, I felt undeniably bold and fiercely defiant. At 47, after two long years without a live race and three since my last marathon, I took a last-minute opportunity to run the L.A. Marathon without any real training under my fuel belt. Full disclosure, I wouldn’t recommend running a marathon without proper training to anyone. But it was the right thing for me. There was a time when I would have hesitated, and rightly so. I would have obsessed about all that was against me in running a marathon that was across the continent when I was so unprepared. Times have changed in major ways. I’m not missing out on opportunities to live it out loud anymore.

    How’s that for being bold, if not a little crazy?

    Today is International Women’s Day, and this year’s theme calls on us to Be Bold. It invites us to be a part of an inclusive world. In so many ways we have made much progress on the road to equality yet at the same time, there is much more work to be done. From Kathrine Switzer and Silvia Ruegger to Lanni Marchant and Krista DuChene, these women—and so many others—have not only pushed our sport to new levels, but they have all inspired us to be brave and bold in our own ways.

    Sometimes, being bold is about embracing your imperfections. In this imperfect world, we are told, that our goal as women, is to work towards some intangibly perfect way to be. This is one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from running: it’s not about perfection, it never has been. As women, these messages on every level are daunting—if not damaging. Running will force you to recognize and own your shortcomings—then encourage you to getting out there and do it anyway.

    Patience, persistence, and perseverance. These are some of the key ingredients to finding the wherewithal to embracing your boldness. There are days when I know that running onward is where there is joy to be found and I don’t want to miss it just because my training plan isn’t quite where I want it to be. Strength, hope and belief in myself guides me during these uncertain times.

    Running has given me all of this and more.

    Physically and mentally, this sport takes me outside. When I need it most running gives me a focus and purpose—a reason to keep on going. Through career shifts, relationship breakups and all of life’s invariable pivots, running is my constant. Without in-person races, running challenged me to be bold, push past my limits and take that leap of faith when I thought I might not have it in me. Even when I couldn’t run, my body forcing me to take a break from the sport I had come to rely upon, I learned more. Taking it day by day, one moment, one step at a time, running showed me I could pull myself back together, and begin all over again.

    As a woman in her mid-forties, navigating the uncertainty of life—career, parenthood, relationships—it can all be a little overwhelming. Running gives me the extra breathing room, the space I need to get out, then come back with a clear mind, ready to tackle whatever life lays down for the day. When I lace up, I’m not always confident in myself. Whether or not I feel a confident vibe, I know I’m always going to finish (and some days that’s more than enough). Running adds the bandwidth required to make sense of the chaos and make better choices when I need to the most.

    As a parent, having my two daughters seeing me run and race is a reflection of what is possible for them. I don’t look like the typical runner, let alone marathoner. In nearly two decades of consistently racing, I’ve found the courage to keep on putting one foot in front of the other. Through all of life’s stages, no matter the distance, running has been an ongoing reminder that anything is possible, and our lives are irreplaceable.

    On that racecourse in L.A., pounding the pavement along Hollywood Boulevard, well-trained or not, my spirit powered me forward. It was my brash, bold desire to cross that finish line in Century City that had guided me along the toughest miles and carried me across that finish line. In life, as in running, we may not always be as prepared as we want to be, yet we can still keep going. While I have learned that lesson before, I’ve also found there’s much satisfaction in simply doing the very best we can, especially when the odds are against us. Sometimes, that’s more than enough.

    Running isn’t about perfection. It’s about embracing the imperfection and finding the beauty that makes each of us uniquely different. It’s a boldness that comes from within each one of us. Next time you’re lacing up, consider the ways in which you can be a little bolder. Take the risk. Make the change. Embrace the challenge. Even if you don’t think you have what it takes, you will find yourself becoming bolder, braver, and stronger along the way.

    Anna Lee Boschetto is an iRun contributor. An avid avid runner and traveler, she recently ran her 10th marathon in Los Angeles and enjoyed every moment.


    1. Thanks for breaking the bias that a) women are too frail to run the marathon distance, b) you’re never too told to race

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