“A rising tide lifts all boats”


This is something I’ve been thinking a lot about this year. Part of what makes Littlewing Athletics such a unique and special group is that we all bring different skills and experiences into the mix. With such a wide range of disciplines and distance specialties (spanning from the 800m to marathon on both road and trail) there is always something to be gained from the group when we show up for each other both at practice and beyond.

This summer, I was in the thick of my marathon build up. I was asking my body and mind to do things it had never done before. I had to trust myself, my coach, my team, and most importantly the process. The collaborative effort behind what ultimately led to my race in Minnesota is something I do not take for granted. There were a lot of people who checked in, showed up, and led by example for me this year - all of which amplifies my ability to continue believing in and showing up for myself.

  • Mel took me under her wing early on and as a veteran of this sport she has been a fantastic mentor. Following Mel as she raced in Europe this summer stoked my fire. Getting race recaps and witnessing the ups and downs that come along with peak season fitness and late season racing was hugely valuable for me as I navigated my own training back home. Her ability to stay focused and grounded while traveling and racing far from home is something I aspire to develop. Mel’s career majorly leveled up in 2019, and she did it with an open heart and mind.
  • Seeing Rebecca have such an incredible breakthrough season still gives me chills. This woman will not be knocked down. She has the ability to line up against her competitors with unwavering confidence and a primal desire to compete up to the very last step across the line. Like whoa. Don’t count her out. I am giddy thinking about what is in store for her come 2020.
  • Maddie is quite possibly the most dedicated and focused athlete I have ever met. Her commitment to the process and to her health has put her in the position to take advantage of some pretty exciting opportunities next year. She was also quite possibly the most stoked of anyone for my fall marathon and her belief and excitement for my race was hugely valuable for my own confidence this year. Also, she’s a fellow pocket jogger fan clubber for life.
  • Holy Collier Lawrence Batman. This comeback queen has such a story to tell, and I am anxiously awaiting to see what this next chapter has in store for her. Collier’s journey in sport is a rally cry for pursuing what matters most in life. Watching her evolve her own tool box has been an incredible example of all the things I have to look forward to with my relationship with running. Her ability to show up for everyone else while quietly doing her own work makes it impossible not to cheer for her.
  • Sadi’s unbridled excitement as she enters this new phase of post-collegiate running brings me so much joy. There is so much for her to discover this next year and I feel so fortunate to be in her corner. I am really looking forward to getting to know her even better and fingers crossed some of her incredible speed wears off on me as well!
  • I think we all want to be like Lauren Fleshman when we grow up. So much love and respect for this woman, and one million thank yous for how she has been such a rich resource of wisdom and support to everyone on this team. Her commitment to the integrity and wellbeing of our whole selves is a gamechanger.

There are two other incredible women I’m adding to this list. This summer and fall, I had the privilege to collaborate and train with two world class triathletes that also call Bend, OR home. Heather Jackson and Linsey Corbin are LEGENDS. I definitely had some nerves about belonging when they showed interest in jumping into some of my workouts and training runnings. These are two women that I could have never dreamed I’d get to learn from. Heather and Linsey are two of the most dedicated, humble, and experienced professionals athletes in their sport; and they do so with such a perfect balance of grit and grace and true love for the work required. And, damn, do they show up ready to work.

I am grateful to them both for being so available and generous in sharing their respective training approaches and the depth of championship experience they bring to the sport. (Sidenote: more than once they asked if we could push our workout time back by half an hour or so because they were finishing up at the pool and needed time to get to the track. Translation: they were doing an entire workout before what was my biggest session of the week. A session I had thought about and rearranged sleep schedules, etc. for and they would just roll up post 80min swim with some electrolytes and be all like “what’s next?” Next level mind blowing.)

The narrative we’re told of how we should engage and feel about others who are pursuing similar passions, particularly as women, often leads to feelings of competitiveness and comparison against one another. Why can’t the default be to celebrate each other instead? When we create space for our collective goals and achievements there is a greater overall benefit to the group and task at hand. The collaborative space Littlewing created this year allowed for a deeper appreciation and investment in each other that emboldened us all. Success breeds success, and this collaboration has that in spades.

I’ve been dealing with a very poorly timed and freak accident injury the last two months (avulsion fracture on my big right toe). At times it has felt like the cruelest of jokes. It has been an exercise in patience and perspective and I have relearned that success can look like many different things. So regardless of your current pursuit, consider collaboration over competition and keep showing up.

January 07, 2020 — Alisoune Lee

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