sometimes running isn't pretty - and that's okay



Maybe it’s because I need to run fast vicariously, but I always ask our athletes to send us photos from their races. Their efforts inspire and motivate me – and I want to be loud and proud with their accomplishments. A couple of days ago, Oiselle athlete Jen Bigham (Rochester, NY) sent us this pic from the Brighton 5K, where she won (17:12) and PR’d (by 17 seconds). My reaction to the photo was immediate. I love it. Yes, in part because she ran fast and looks fit (um, Jen, can I have your abs?) but also because of the true grit. The obvious pain she had to overcome to meet the challenge. And therein lies one of my biggest running loves: when you train, and toe the line, and get out there to balls-out race, you go to a place that’s not about appearance. It’s not about pretty, or style, or even about gender. It’s about going down, down, down to the very depths of your abilities and finding out what’s there. And that in the big picture of life, traveling that road a lot – as a competitive runner/racer – makes you a stronger more capable person. And THAT is pretty.


Okay, so now we want to see pics from YOU. We’re building a “Painfest” album on Facebook. I’m kicking things off with my own hurt locker pics from the ’07 Portland Marathon. Talk about meet your maker…Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. (Submit yours on our Facebook or by email


July 08, 2011 — sarah

Tee-licious July!


July is here! And so are Oiselle's newest 50/50 tees. Put that together and you get: Tee-licious July! Every week this month we will unveil new tees. And where better to start than on July 1st with the Start Line Tee.

A celebration of popular race distances, from the 'go fast and hold on tight' 5Ks to the 'wow am I still out here?' Ultras. The ultra line had to wrap around the back, of course.

To be the first to hear about the new tees each week, sign up for the Oiselle newsletter here. We'll never spam you, sell you, or annoy you. I hope. It's always news you want, like sales, expos, and new products. You can unsubscribe at any time.

July 01, 2011 — sarah

Running Group or Moai

Sarah Mac

I've been reading The Blue Zones by Dan Beuttner. The Blue Zones are four regions in the world where a high ratio of the population are living well into their 100s. And not just living, they are Living, capital L. Gardening, biking, wakeboarding, holding their great, great, great, great grandkids. National Geographic first ran on article on the phenomenon. Then Dan and a team of super smarties went out to study further. What were these people doing differently? What could we learn from them?

I'm not too far in the book, but watched a TED talk in which he layed out the nine characteristics that these groups of people have in common. (He calls them the power 9. But I refuse.) You can find them all here at The Blue Zones website. The ones I found interesting were: choose the right tribe, move naturally, know your purpose and be sure to drink. Heh. Not so much the drinking one, but it is interesting to know that two glasses of wine a night are encouraged.

At this point you might feel like I'm about to ask you to sign up for a pyramid scheme selling supplements. But I'm not! Promise. Here's where it comes to running: Sally has been running with the same group of women for 15 years! I am honored to join them on Tuesdays now for 'workout day'. Anyway, as we ran our cool down this last Tuesday I started thinking about The Blues Zones and running. Specifically choosing your tribe. And what an amazing tribe a running group can be. You hold each other accountable to move.. naturally. You have a purpose. And of course you're often hashing out the stresses in your life with your group, hello therapy and, in a way, meditation.

In the book Dan describes tribe in the Okinawan word, Moai. Okinawa is a tiny island (part of Japan) and Moai is the word for the group of people who support each other their whole lives. On TED talks they showed a 100 year old woman hanging with her Moai, a group of women that have been together for nearly a centaury. Through loss and triumph, marriages, babies, death...everything.

Around these parts, it's hard to find time to see your tribe. Or find the right Moai. But as runners we are often lucky to have a Moai built into our lifestyle. Maybe you meet on Sunday morning or Wednesday night. But no matter how big or small or when or where, a running group is invaluable. They aren't just adding miles to your running log, they may just be adding years to your life.

June 30, 2011 — sarah

Here Runs the Bride


The Oiselle running wedding dress has been a topic of great interest. Whether people think it's crazy-cool or just crazy, you can't help but love it. We've made a custom dress for a bride in California. And this original dress has seen it's fair share of finish lines. From the NYC Marathon to last weekend's "Here Runs the Bride" put on by The Healthy Bride. Christi Masi is the owner of The Healthy Bride, offering bootcamps to Seattle brides getting in shape for the big day.

Here Runs the Bride looks like a lot of fun, sadly Sally and I were both out of town, but Rose rocked the dress and represented Oiselle. There was a champagne water stop (actually cider) and post race cupcakes from Cupcake Royale. If you are in Seattle and haven't had a Cupcake Royale treat, please stop reading this blog and go out and get one. Ahhhmazing.

June 22, 2011 — sarah

Team Oiselle!


Last Friday was the Fremont 5K and Briefcase Relay. Sally, Sarah and I ran the 5K, full Oiselle style. Rogas do make you run faster - just a tip for anyone racing this summer. It was really fun to race with a team again, I mean no they didn't score teams or anything, but we all warmed up together. Did stride outs and a team cheer. (The team cheer was just in my head, but it was awesome).

Here we are getting photo bombed by Rose Wetzel as Lady Gaga (who went on to win that night). Because in Seattle and the world over, Gaga wins.

June 17, 2011 — sarah

Larisa's Injury Prevention: Stretch the Hammies


We've been lucky enough to have a company and help of one Larisa Manuel at Oiselle for the past few months. Tomorrow she is on her way to her spiritual city, Portland and we'll miss her stories, laugh and blistering pace on the Friday afternoon run. Larisa is one fast lady, running for the Run Portland team. Check out her career bests and biography at Larisa's Run Portland page.

I asked everyone a few weeks ago what their injury prevention go-to was. Mine is stregthening my hip abductors. Larisa's is keeping her hamstrings stretched. Stretching can be tedious for runners, but we all know how helpful it is. Larisa battled out injury this winter with the help of her physical therapist. Below is the proper form of the hamstring stretch he taught her.

With a flat back engage core and reach forward from hips, go as far as you can and hold for 30 seconds, release and repeat.

On a side note, how cute are the distance shorts on L? Good luck in your next adventures Larisa!

June 09, 2011 — sarah

Power Smoothie!


Today after my early morning fun (yaaaawn) I realized I was out of eggs. I wanted some protein so I whipped up a SUPER DUPER SMOOTHIE! (This is a true story, no one said it would be interesting). I have found a cheap, fabulous (easy) smoothie recipe using ingredients from Trader Joes. My apologies to anyone out of range of TJ's, I truly can't comprehend the tragedy.


1. Trader Joes Super Green Powder

2. Aria Women's Protein Powder (Vanilla)

3. Almond Milk

4. A little bit of coconut milk (I go full fat, yum)

5. Optional - frozen fruit

Seriously SO good. It could qualify as dessert.

May 27, 2011 — sarah

My Go-To Stay Healthy Move


As I've said before, my hips are the weak link in my running form. They are the cause of most of my falls into injury. Strengthening my hip abductors and traverse abdominis muscles (low, low abs - more like pelvic muscles) are my focus. Here's my new 1, 2 punch for both!

Low Side Plank with dropped inner knee. Draw other knee in while keeping hips stable.

While keeping body stable, now kick that leg out and up (can go higher than hip). Bonus points: Always look like someone is tickling you.

You should feel your low, low abs working to stabalize hips. Hips are always stacked (think of fitting your body between two planes of glass - your booty can't be sticking out). The leg that is drawn in and kicked out will feel the burn on the hip abductor (side glutes + higher).

Repeat 12 times each side, 3 sets.

What's your go-to injury protection?

May 20, 2011 — sarah

Let the Races Begin


The spring racing season is now in full swing! So many races last weekend. Just in our little corner of the northwest we had the Tacoma Half, Eugene Full and Half, Pacific University Twilight, Bloomsday...and of course Oiselle had athletes in almost all of them.

Some of Oiselle Elite team showed up at the Pacific University Twilight to lay down these blistering times.
800m - Kayleen McDowell, 2nd - 2:12.48, Ashley Miller, 6th - 2:16.30
1500m - Kayleen McDowell, 3rd - 4:39.36, Ashley Miller, 9th - 4:45.47
5000m - Jessica Harper, 9th - 18:10.95
400m Hurdles - Emily McCutchan, 1st - 1:02.84 LIFETIME BEST
4x400m relay - McCowell, Miller, McCutchan, Harper, 3rd - 4:04.34

Meanwhile Andrija Barker-McCurry and Marci Klimek ran the Eugene Half, both setting LIFETIME BEST times. Andrija took second place with a time of 1:17:36 and Marci took third in 1:18:55! I was lucky enough to run this race (way back behind the speedsters), and see both girls in the finishers area. Both had huge grins after working so hard out there!

Andrija in Eugene Half

On the East Coast we had Allix Lee-Painter killing it in the 3000m Steeplechase at the Payton Jordan Invitational at Stanford. She hooked second place in 10:22:17.

In the Tacoma Half, Sarah Kjorstad ran her fastest 13.1 yet and cruised across the line with a 2nd place finish! Go Sarah!

In the ultra distances, Brandi Bolli rocked a 50K! She was the fourth woman in her age group. Awesome!

It's so exciting to see these girls getting after their dreams, here's to an exciting spring and summer! Did you race this weekend? We'd love to hear about it!

May 05, 2011 — sarah

Oiselle's Tour de Green Lake


Remember that sunny day we had in Seattle a few weeks ago? Sure you do, there was only one. Well, it inspired Sarah and I to do our first Oiselle video. Equipped with nothing more than an iPhone and non- existent video skills, we thought we'd give you a quick tour of Green Lake, our office location.

What you WILL see on this video:
- The grand entry way to Oiselle HQ
- Sally at a cowboy bar
- Sarah and Sally RUNNING to get in front of moms with strollers at Starbucks
- Sarah at the lake
- A risky but no-one-got-injured ride on the merry-go-round
- Spotlights on celebrity retailers Super Jock n' Jill & Gregg's Green Lake Cycle
- A cameo appearance from the Green Lake Hole

What you WON'T find on this video:
- Professional editing
- Smooth transitions
- High quality sound
- Exercise tips



April 15, 2011 — sarah

Tees Two Ways


Earlier this week I was inspired to create a street wear look with a running tee, in the imaginary world of Polyvore. I asked people to share some fashion-transition inspirations of their own. Above Jen Bigham shows us how it's done! Love that even the headband made the transition. Free up some space in your gym bag and wear your running tee to the office. :)

Rebecca created a rock and roll style with the Oiselle Birds Tee on Polyvore. Hellooooo leather pants.

Vanessa Bruno silk cardigan
$380 -

IRO skinny pants
564 GBP -

Suede booty
324 GBP -

Catherine actually tweeted us this picture of her wearing the Stripey Tank as street wear awhile ago. She has the coveted job of shopping for a living. She is the buyer for Fleet Feet Chicago. You can check her out on Twitter (@CatherineMoloz)
Of course I couldn't leave well enough alone, and created another outfit in imaginary dress up land (aka Polyvore). I have been invisioning the Iris Sport Top under a burn out tank... this outfit is a little Miami, but I think Seattle might just be ready for some color. I'm trying to forget I ever saw that Vivienne Westwood clutch. I want it a little too much.

Alexander Wang racer back top
98 GBP -

Vivienne Westwood studded handbag
$500 -

Sports bra
April 08, 2011 — sarah

Imaginary, Extrodinary: Dress up a Tee

As runners we’re often planning our next workout or meal more than our next outfit. Working at Oiselle I’ve become a tee shirt and jeans kind of girl again. But I do love pairing a casual tee with some thing more dressed up. Like, I have a vintage hot pink/black wool houndstooth pencil shirt. Yes. I know. I love to pair that with a cotton tee and my Jeffery Campbell 99 wedges for a dinner out.

I played in Polyvore a little bit the other day, because I’ve been dreaming of the perfect outfit for the Bird Woman tee. Here’s what I came up with:

Alexander McQueen skirt
725 EUR -

Jeffrey Campbell wedge high heels
$155 -

TopShop metal bracelet
$30 -

T shirt


I told you I was dreaming. In real life I’m shopping thrift not runway… but it’s fun to imagine!

How do you create style with your casual wear? We'd love to see your style visions - create a set in Polyvore using a tee (or tank, bra...) from Oiselle and tell us about it! You can leave a comment or email We'd love to feature it here in our blog, on Facebook and Twitter. Have fun!

April 06, 2011 — sarah