As Beyonce was said, "who RUN the world? Girls!" We couldn't agree more! However, it is hard for girls to run the world when they are not feeling safe when doing what they love...running. Especially, after seeing incidents like Eliza Fletcher's kidnap and murder.
A few weeks ago we spoke with runner, psychologist, and ambassador, Gwen Rileyabout her psychological insight on the tragedy.Today, we talked to Elizabeth Morales, or as you may know her: Lizzy or @lizzyontherun! Lizzy is an athlete, professional, and adventurous runner (check out her racing in some of the most beautiful places in the country to see what we mean)!
But of course, she is also a Zensah Ambassador and one of our campaign models (it's no secret we love to showcase our ambassadors)! Read on to get to know what limitless looks like (like Lizzy!), and get some tips on how women can stay safe and feel limitless when running alone!
ZS: Describe yourself in two sentences:
EM:Describing myself can be so hard for me because I feel like there are so many layers to who I really am. I don’t like to identify as a label because I’m more than someone’s daughter and more than my career. To start, I am a practical woman with a great sense of adventure for the outdoors.
ZS: What is one thing you'd like people to know about you?
EM:I think it’s important to share that I do not have it all figured out, no one really does. I have to remind myself constantly that I’m doing the best that I can with what I have in this moment. I'm constantly learning and adapting.
ZS: How did you get into running? Why do you run?
EM: Running has always been a substantial part of my life. At about 13-14 years old I joined the track team wanting to be a runner like my Father. Ironically, I was a sprinter back then and participated in the 100 meter hurdles and the 300 meter hurdles. Fast forward to young adulthood, running was a way to relieve anxiety and stress plus a relatively cheap way to stay in shape during college. It wasn’t until my 30th birthday where endurance running came into my life. I wanted to celebrate in a healthy way, so I registered for my first half marathon with team in training. Team in training is a chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society where you can train with a mentor and small group of people in your area, while also raising money for a good cause. This cause hits close to home because my mother is a leukemia survivor, she became my reason why. I ran my first half marathon, first full marathon and my second full marathon with them. Here we are 6 years later and I can't imagine my life without endurance running. It's become an essential part of my life to keep my anxiety levels down, my head clear, and serves as a reminder that I am capable of doing hard things.
ZS: As a women runner, what is your POV on the terrifying kidnap and murder of Eliza?
EM:The death of Eliza Fletcher was an important reminder to not take my safety for granted. Unfortunately I wasn't surprised by the attack of a female runner. Even so, I was still very upset about it, I think a better word for it would be disheartened. I think that as a woman we have to take precautions that we might not necessarily agree with. We want to believe that people aren't out to get us and that they are inherently good. I want to believe that I can run at any time of the day, I want to believe that I'm ok running alone and that I don't need to bring some kind of weapon with me, but that simply isn't true. Since then, I have had this underlying anxiety in regards to running alone and running in the dark. It's mostly infuriating because I don't want the fear of getting attacked or even murdered to steal the joy from me. Running adds so much to my life in so many ways and I can't let fear get in the way of that.
It's quite unfair how even afterwards people were questioning the time she was running and what she was wearing. I even had to explain to my coworkers that running at 4am while training for a race is not unusual. In fact it's the norm. We are running long miles and want to beat the heat. As women we take the time to plan out our routes or sometimes even second guess what we are wearing as to not draw any extra unwanted attention toward us. Although it's imperative to learn from these horrific events, it's also equally important to not let fear cripple you. There's a lot of bad happening in the world but there's also a lot of good. Focus on the good and the things that bring you joy. If running brings you joy, you can't let fear hold you back.
ZS: We saw the community of runners come together to #runforeliza or #finishtherunforeliza, how do you think community plays a role during these tragedies?
EM:The running community is such a beautiful thing. To see both men and women running for Eliza was meaningful. Our community plays a role during tragic events like this by offering a way to spread awareness. To hopefully let the families of these victims know that we are running to not only show support for them but to also send condolences for their loss. Finishing the run for Eliza is a way to empower the women of our community as well. We don't want to spread fear but we do want to remind others to just be safe.
ZS: How to ensure runners safety, is there anything in particular that you do? Do you wear or carry anything specific?
EM:Safety looks like different things for different people. What makes me feel comfortable is carrying mace and a small weapon. I want to be able to get away from an attacker. Most of the time I don't run with headphones so I can remain aware of my surroundings. If I do wear them, I only wear one so I can still hear what's around me. If I’m running in the dark, I definitely want to wear my light vest so cars can see me and a headlamp so I can see my surroundings. I share my location with my mom and my best friend. Every time I run alone I tell at least one of them where I will be and I let them know when I get home. Another useful tool is to enable your emergency contacts on your Garmin (if you have a Garmin). In the event of an emergency, you would press and hold down the power button, it will vibrate 3 times and ask if you want to call your emergency contacts. Carrying your phone could be helpful in the same way by pressing a certain button sequence to also call emergency contacts.
ZS: Zensah’s motto is #withoutlimitz meaning we want you to feel limitless in everything you do. We have a campaign called “Limitless Looks Like This” because limitlessness can look different for every person. Limitless might look like finding balance, reaching goals, acing the race you have coming up, or manifesting your future. What does limitless look like for you?
EM: Limitless for me looks like finding a healthy work- life balance. I have a lot on my plate right now, from my full time job, to being on call for that job, and taking two classes. Trying to fit training in there can be quite the challenge and sometimes that can be so overwhelming. It's easy to over work yourself when you are trying to keep up with others, especially looking on social media. I catch myself comparing myself to others, to people who have the time to train twice a day and who aren’t in school. I have to recognize that everyone’s life is different and they may have more free time than I do.
Being #withoutlimitz means doing my best everyday and doing what works for me.
ZS: What are your Zensah must-have products? Why?
EM:My must have Zensah products are most definitely the compression sleeves, they help my calves stay cramp free on my runs. I'm also obsessed with the new biker shorts. They are so soft and comfortable, I can use them to workout or run.