Happy New Year! · race report · racing · running · traveling · winter

Race Report – Bettina’s New Year’s Eve 8k

In 2017, I started dabbling in running one or the other race, and discovered a wonderful one: the Bilbao – Rekalde San Silvestre 8k, which takes place on New Year’s Eve. My husband is from the Basque Country, so we spend New Year’s there every year. I had so much fun in 2017 that I decided to run it again on the last day of 2018. This time, I roped in two friends to run it with me. Overall, just under 2,500 other runners had the same idea. And it was even better than the year before!

I’ll get into this in a moment, but first, there are a couple of other things I’d like to talk about. The first is the reason I love this race: while there are of course some people who are there for the competition, the vast majority are there for the fun. People run alone, in groups, with their families, or dressed up in all kinds of costumes. My favourite this year were the two guys who came dressed as a trainera (a Basque type of rowing boat). In the head picture of this official blog post you can see them! There’s also a summary video of the race that gives you a good idea of the vibe (you really only need to watch the first half, the second half is more boring, unless you want to see how the winners did):

The second thing I wanted to talk about is slightly less fun: it’s the gender split of the race. There are only two categories, male and female, which is a problem unto itself, but the race this year was no less than three-quarters male. That doesn’t seem like a particularly healthy split to me. In fact, even in comparison to marathons in the US (a statistic I could find quite quickly), it’s quite poor. I’m not totally sure what is going on here. It’s a fairly short race (below 10k), not a very serious one, and cheap (10 euros) so it sends all the right accessibility signals, or so one would think… and yet. I was intrigued, so I looked into the data for Spain (from a few years ago) a bit. Generally, women are quite a bit more sedentary than men. For example, in the 25-44 age bracket, 55% of women never (!) exercise, compared to 41% of men. On the European scale*, Spain sits in a middling position overall regarding physical activity, but the difference by sex (again, the data is binary) is comparatively large. Possible explanations would be entirely speculative at this point – but our work, fit feminist friends, is not done.

For now, let’s focus on why I loved the San Silvestre even more this time than the year before. In 2017, it poured with rain throughout the entire race. This time around, we got spectacular blue skies (see picture below) and a perfect running temperature of just over 10°C. It felt amazing!

Runners gathering for the San Silvestre run in front of the Guggenheim Bilbao museum, with a spectacularly blue sky and curious onlookers.

Also in 2017, I was still getting into running and quite slow, and I suffered due to the hills along the route. But over the past year, I’ve been working on my hills quite a lot, and my overall running speed has increased. We’d decided to run the race in our pack of three, so the (supposedly) slowest in the group was our pacer – and he wasn’t slow at all! We ran pretty much at the speed I currently train at, so we did very well. It gets even better: the reason we did the time we did was that our first kilometre was really slow due to the masses of people at the start. Meaning that overall, I was actually faster than ever, aside from that first bit! And the really amazing thing is that I could have run even faster – but the way we did it was perfect because we stuck together as a team and had a fabulous time. Mission accomplished!

*There is so much interesting data in that Eurostat graph, I’m going to make it its own separate post, promise!

Happy New Year!

Top 10, Part 2: Our most viewed posts in 2018 from 2018

Tracy’s boudoir photo shoot

Why make it all about weight? Can’t it just be a good hair day?

Once upon a time there was a leather jacket (Guest post)

Why we can’t promise a feminist space will be a safe space

Other books we love!

I’m 53 and a half and I’m still menstruating: is this a good thing?

Four worries Sam has about intuitive eating

Nat gets her hearing checked and encounters unfettered sexism

An open letter to Kathleen Wynne (Guest Post)

Guess which body shaming phrase Sam doesn’t ever want to hear again?

Bike with basket resting on a pink wall.
Photo by Chris Barbalis on Unsplash
blog · feminism · fitness · Happy New Year!

2018 in review: blog favorites

As 2018 comes to an end, I want to share with you reflections on some of our favorite blog posts from this year. If you have a favorite, and if you have a topic that you’d like us to write about, please let us know.

Looking back at my own blog posts, I noticed some trends. First, I’ve explored new options for activity, namely compression socks (which for me are here to stay), and interesting swimwear with more coverage, both for sun protection and because I like that. Second, yoga has played a bigger and much more important role in my life this year. It has helped me stay connected to physical activity and my body no matter what– when I had pneumonia, when I had a sprained ankle and then the DVT, I always had yoga. It’s also connected me to other places– I tried out yin yoga in Arizona, and yinki in San Diego.

My fellow bloggers have written so much about so many important issues, it’s hard to pick. Here are a few examples of blog posts I love.

Hands down, my favorite posts to read are Cate’s (fieldpoppy) posts about her active travel all over creation. She’s hiked and climbed in St Lucia, danced with locals at the Nomad games in Kygyzstan, and most recently ridden, pushed and pulled her fully loaded rental bike (complete with yoga mat) in Victoria, Australia. Her reports are honest (sometimes travel is tiring and sucky, with bad food and busy roads) but also motivating me to follow where my own wanderlust leads.

Sam’s posts are about anything and everything in the world of fitness, and I always look forward to learning about something new, silly, cool, worrying, or important. Some of my favorites, though, are about her own processes of dealing with fitness in her own life. I love her post about dealing with exercise while in a new and big job as Dean— seeing how she schedules in workouts has helped me with my own plans. Sam is also frank about what’s happening in her fitness life, which includes injuries, mourning the loss of running, and optimism around new ones (snipe racing, anyone?).

Tracy also writes about lots of topics, taking on bogus nutrition claims (yes, you can be vegan and an athlete– duh…), reporting on her running races and training, and also blogging about body positivity. I loved her boudoir photo shoot post; it helped me recognize the ways I can be more expansive and accepting in my views about beauty, age, and self. Also, Tracy is a strong advocate for the start-small view of habit shifts. We often (especially now, in the heat of resolution fervor) want to throw ourselves into a whole new regimen. But such drastic shifts tend to burn out quickly. Starting small is more sustainable and provides a base for building to bigger goals.

I could go on all day, but I do have PT and then an outdoor walk scheduled. So let me just note some other blog posts I really loved:

We’ve had lots of wonderful guest posts this year. A few you might want to re-check out are:

So, dear readers, what are your favorites– favorite topics, favorite posts, etc.? Also, what would you like to read about in 2019? What’s on your minds as we cross into the new year? Let us know–we’d like to hear from you.

“New Year” on a chalkboard, surrounded by boughs. Photo by Annie Pratt on Unsplash.