Gina Lucrezi Trail Sisters

Gina Lucrezi: Empowering Women Trail Runners

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About this episode:
In this week’s episode, we interview ultrarunner and Trail Sisters founder, Gina Lucrezi, and talk with her about the Trail Sisters trail running community and growing female participation in the sport through inspiration, education, and empowerment.

Guest Bio – Gina Lucrezi:
Gina has always been stubborn and bold, so when it came to advocating for women’s rights and equality in the outdoors, she was bound to make some changes. Gina founded the online journal and community Trail Sisters, with the goal to help create opportunities and grow participation in women’s trail running. Gina is also an avid trail runner. She currently holds the Women’s FKT on Mt.Whitney’s standard route, is a USATF Trail 10k Champion, 2012 Team USA 1st place World Long Distance Champion, and 2x Winner of the Leadville Silver Rush 50 mile held at 10k + feet. Off the trail, she’s most likely developing more projects for Trail Sisters with her husband Justin, or playing with her Airedale Erza.

About Trail Sisters:
Trail Sisters is a women’s trail running community and online journal. In addition to the journal, they host women’s discussion panels, award the Trail Sisters Adventure Grants, host Women’s Run With Her Trail Running Retreats and more. Learn more about Trail Sisters here: https://www.trailsisters.net/about/

Read More About Gina Lucrezi And Trail Sisters:

https://www.trailsisters.net/

https://www.instagram.com/trail_sisters/

https://www.facebook.com/trailsisters1/

https://www.strava.com/clubs/trail-sisters-251925

Episode Highlights:

  • Trail Sisters community
  • Growing female participation in the sport
  • Motherhood and ultrarunning
  • Trail Sisters race standards for race directors

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform.

 

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Thanks To This Week’s Sponsor:

This episode of the TrainRight Podcast is brought to you by Muir Energy.

Hello, this is Ian, founder and CEO of Muir Energy. Muir Energy makes completely clean real food energy gels and hydration for endurance athletes. I’m an ultra distance hiker, and developed MUIR to address my nutrition needs as a clean, simple, real food eater, with an aversion to fake ingredients. Born in the High Sierra and handmade in San Diego, Muir Energy products are audaciously simple, and our flavors are simply audacious. Gram for gram, MUIR Energy provides more flavor and nutrition (quality calories, healthy fats, and proteins, vitamins and minerals) than any other product in our space, while keeping athletes’ stomachs happy.To learn more, including where to buy our products, please visit our website: www.muirenergy.com. Use discount code ctspodcast15 (all lower case) for 15% off.” – Ian Muir McNally


 

Episode Transcription:

 

Hillary Allen:

Hi everyone, welcome to the TrainRight podcast. We’re about to speak with Gina Lucrezi. She’s a good friend of mine. I’ll actually share with you the story of how we meet, which is quite hilarious. I’d actually forgotten about it until she shared this lovely story, so I hope you guys enjoy that. But why I wanted to talk with Gina today was to discuss with her about Trail Sisters. This kind of, ‘brain child,’ as she puts it. This thing she created because she saw a need for the voices of, basically half the participants in the trail running community, the women participants. She saw a need for their voices to be heard and so she started this, basically online journal for, that she called Trail Sisters.

Hillary Allen:

We have some really interesting conversations about some various topics and the sport of trail running, and we also talk about gender equality, which I think is a topic that can transcend to only trail running, but all sports in general. So I hope you guys enjoy our conversation. Well Hey guys, and welcome to the train, right podcast this week. I have a special guest, my good friend, Gina Lucrezi, how are you?

Gina Lucrezi:

I’m doing great. Thanks so much. I’m honored to be on the podcast today and it’s great to see you.

Hillary Allen:

Yeah virtually, I know, I’m in France, you’re in Buena Vista I have to like do all these [crosstalk 00:01:50]-

Gina Lucrezi:

Yeah.

Hillary Allen:

… things from afar. Well I’ve already had some listeners know who you are, I’ve done a little bit of a bio, but I just want to take it back. How did we meet? Do you remember?

Gina Lucrezi:

Jeez, I think…

Hillary Allen:

I think it was a Leadville.

Gina Lucrezi:

Leadville, or was that Hard Rock? It was either Leadville or Hard Rock, I can’t remember.

Hillary Allen:

Oh.

Gina Lucrezi:

Yes.

Hillary Allen:

Oh my God, we have a story. You can tell the Hard Rock story.

Gina Lucrezi:

Yeah, I mean we may have met at Leadville, but I remember, for some reason Hard Rock stands out in my mind specifically for that story I guess. But we were watching the race and it was, I think it was the start of the race, wasn’t it?

Hillary Allen:

No.

Gina Lucrezi:

It was either the start or the end. Was it in the end?

Hillary Allen:

I think it was the end of the race and it was like the notorious race, where like Anna Frost and Darcy. This is a perfect segue into today’s topic, because like strong women battling it out at Hard Rock. Like Darcy, Darcy Picue and Anna Frost were like going back and forth, like… There is that thing at the end of the race, like the final river crossing.

Gina Lucrezi:

Right, and so we were hauling us in the car to get there. We got there, and we got out of the car and we’re running up the road to see who’s going to cross the river, and next thing turn around I’m like, “Hillary is not with us, wait, what happened?” I don’t know, you tripped over some like chauce that had fallen off the side of the hill there, because it’s so rocky. You had that huge gash coming out of your knee.

Hillary Allen:

Oh my God, I remember that. I was so pissed, like literally… Oh my God, this is like pre accident. All of this thing with me, literally was on the road, and I think there was only one rock and I hit it, and I think I fell on that same rock and like just gashed open my knee. Oh my God, Justin, your boyfriend at the time now your husband. I got this, Justin, right?

Gina Lucrezi:

Yeah.

Hillary Allen:

Yeah, I remember he was totally survival mode. He was probably like fire man carry me into the fucking gymnisium. Oh my God. I did, then I remembered, I was in the gymnasium I was crying, I was covering my face, and I was just like, “There’s all of these people are here, they’ve done hard rocking.” I’m like, “I tripped on the side of the road and I need stitches.” I was so embarrassed.

Gina Lucrezi:

You remember, you were like contemplating, “Should I go in, should I not?” And we’re like, “Yes, you should do it.” It’s a decent gash.

Hillary Allen:

It’s pretty, you don’t have to go to hospital.

Gina Lucrezi:

Yes, [crosstalk 00:04:25]. Yes.

Hillary Allen:

And literally I sat down, and this guy who was like a nurse, so I’ll just like, “Yo,” he’s like, “Let me go run up and get my stitch care for my hotel room.” I’m like, “Is this legitimate?”

Gina Lucrezi:

Yeah. But I do remember this, because you were… I know you were gearing you up, I think it was for speed go. But then you went out and you crushed the speed go, I was like, “Holy shoot, she just did that with stitches in her knee.” [crosstalk 00:04:55].

Hillary Allen:

No, I literally… Yeah, I still had the stitches to my knee, there’s no scar now, it healed up fine. But I literally did speed go with stitches in my knee, and I think it’s the course record that year, which has now been broken, but still.

Gina Lucrezi:

Yeah, but you did. I remember thinking that’s like, “Holy crap.”

Hillary Allen:

Oh my Gosh, this is hilarious. Yes, this is how our friendship began. It was like budding friendship, saving me over some [inaudible 00:05:19] that I did. Oh my Gosh.

Gina Lucrezi:

Oh my God. That was fun though, it was cool.

Hillary Allen:

I’ve literally forgotten about that story, holy crap, that’s so funny. But then, I think actually… and then from there, I mean I know you’re a good friend, Ashley Arnold and-

Gina Lucrezi:

Yeah.

Hillary Allen:

…. I don’t know when you started up. So the reason why I wanted to have you on the show is just because you’ve created Trail Sisters, it’s an online community. But first how I found out about it, it was basically a resource for women and people in the trial running community, and how the bunch of blogs, like information for people to go. I was one of the original writers for it, it was so much fun and it’s just exploded from there. So yeah, I guess I just want you to introduce the topic of, what is Trail Sisters, and then we’ll take it from there.

Gina Lucrezi:

Sure. Yeah, it was like I’m a little brain child back in like, or I should say it’s a passion project. So launched April 11th of 2016, but I had reached out to seven people and you were one of those seven, and explained the idea. And the original I thought process, the whole thing was like, “Hey,” you know, like from where I was sitting, I had worked in the industry whether it was behind the scenes for like trail running brands. I’d worked for some trail running publications and things like that. Then I was doing contract work, I had been a team manager and I was running professionally, so I was like, “Hey-“

Hillary Allen:

Not to mention that, so you’re a good business liaison woman unlike our house, but then also like you are a crusher mountain runner, so let’s not forget about that.

Gina Lucrezi:

Oh, thanks. Not so much anymore, but-

Hillary Allen:

No.

Gina Lucrezi:

But-

Hillary Allen:

It’s good you’ve got lots of other things going on, but still it’s there.

Gina Lucrezi:

Yeah. Yeah, hopefully next year I’ll come back a little bit. But yeah, from where I was sitting with all that stuff, I had noticed this huge last lack of encouragement and lack of female voice in the sport. And it kind of drove me bonkers and I figured instead of just getting upset about it, I should try to do something. A lot of times people, they see things they don’t like and we like to complain and that’s totally cool, but do something about it. Don’t just sit there and talk about how you don’t like something, make a change. So I was like, “Well, how can we do them?” I’m like, “Oh, the best way to do that is to use our voices.”

Gina Lucrezi:

So then I had the brainchild, whatever, whatever you want to call it. A passion project to like, why don’t we do an online journal, get some friends that I know, hopefully they’d be interested in writing a few articles. Then hopefully just see what happens, if it takes off great, if it doesn’t, well, at least we literally tried. So yeah, so I reached out to you guys and I think everybody wrote about a years worth of the content, which was great. I think it was one per month or so.

Gina Lucrezi:

Then quickly after the first few months, so we’d promote them on social media to help bring people to the site. The next thing you know, there was more people asking, “Hey, can I be contributor, can I share my story?” And that turned into, well the online journal, and then it morphed into its own community, where now we do three articles per week and whatnot. But we have all kinds of other things going on, but it’s made up of so many different voices and experiences in that broad spectrum. Is that I think one of the best pieces about it, or one of the coolest things that Trail Sisters can offer, because it’s not just one type of person explaining something, it’s all of us. Yeah, so that’s kind of how the whole thing started. And, yeah-

Hillary Allen:

No, I mean, as another professional woman in the sport of trail running, this is a project that was… it just sparked my interest right away. So I was pretty honored to be someone who was writing, contributing to this community virtually, and to see it grow. But I want you to explain a little bit why you think actually this was needed, because I think a lot of other people especially in the world of professional athletics, they look at a sport like trail running and they think, “Oh wow, this is so inclusive. Everyone is so happy, everyone’s friends. You can start on the same starting line with these elite athletes, and you all run together and your friends. How could a sport like this have some inequality with it?” So yeah, why did you see that there was some sort of a need?

Gina Lucrezi:

Yeah, sure. I guess maybe exactly that, I think some people do see it as like, “Hey,” you know this, and a lot of trail runners actually we’ll talk about like, “This is great, we are inclusive. We’ll take anybody that’s happy.” And everybody’s huggy and loving, and yes, that is not incorrect. But at the same time if you look hard enough and you really look, there’s a lot of cracks within there. Sure there are women in the sport, but how many women, not as many as you know, definitely not the same as road running. And it doesn’t have to be comparable as sport to sport, but when you look at products and you’re like, “Well, geez, there’s like, well, here’s 10 pairs of shoe from one brand for guys and there’s like three pairs for women, or there’s this huge lack, or just difference.

Gina Lucrezi:

And when you look at a lot of media, who are they talking to. Who are the stories about? Are they speaking to the male demographic, are they speaking to the female demographic, are they speaking to both? When you see just imagery, look at a lot of race sites, what imagery do you see? Do you mainly see male racers or do you see female? Not that it has to be one or the other, but having maybe a variance of both is more helpful. So I found it really important to create a space where we only had the female voice. The content could be good for everybody, but I really wanted to celebrate the female voice and essentially help grow that awareness and representation of look, all these women are interested, this can be for you too.

Gina Lucrezi:

Then every article and essentially our whole motto is to inspire, educate and empower. And when you have those three things that really helps to grow, I believe a camaraderie and also a confidence. And with all those things tied together, I mean we can see more opportunities pop up and participation rise, but it was really about just creating another platform where women have some space to show that, “Hey, we belong here too, and we have something to say about it.” So hopefully that answers your question.

Hillary Allen:

I love that. Yeah, one of an early article I think we talked about it early on, is you were interviewing people about, first of all trying to expose some of those cracks that you were mentioning earlier. Like cracks in discrepancy in representation, like number of women who were actually sponsored by the big brands and how much they’re paid.

Gina Lucrezi:

Oh, yeah.

Hillary Allen:

I think now in the last few years, you definitely see the kind of a rise of this putting a woman there, more in the spotlight because there’s this idea that if you see more women, especially a brand like the North face. Like you’ve seen more women explorers that will encourage the next generation of ascetic scores. So I think there’s more attention of like, “Look, we already have all these people out there, these women out there doing these sports, but now we’re trying to put them more in the limelight.” But I also think there’s kind of a lack, I look at things very scientifically as do you.

Gina Lucrezi:

Yeah.

Hillary Allen:

[crosstalk 00:13:31]. We really wanted to get the numbers and they’re pretty hard, because like talking about especially contracts, and payments, and number of women in the sports, maybe… those are some data points that are a little bit hard to get, but you were trying to write an article that expose those discrepancies.

Gina Lucrezi:

Right.

Hillary Allen:

How did that turn out? Because I think there’s a lot of mixed feelings about it.

Gina Lucrezi:

Oh, yeah, yeah. No, that was tricky, that was really tricky, that was few years ago. But yeah, the whole goal was to find out the discrepancy between, it was focused more obviously on the leap, but the payment between men and women on sponsored [crosstalk 00:14:10].

Hillary Allen:

I think that trickles down-

Gina Lucrezi:

It does.

Hillary Allen:

Right, if you have a discrepancy, I think one of the… I remember mentioning to you some of the races that I compete in internationally, they would pay like top 10 for men, but they’d only pay maybe top five for women. Or even like recognize women coming up to the podium at the end of the race, when really if you look at the lead field, they were just as deep. Like there were still 20 men leads and 20 female leads, but they’d only recognize the top five for women and top 10 for men. That was like one example.

Gina Lucrezi:

Right. Oh, completely. Yeah, so I sent out… I mean, so I know who I sent the surveys to, but I don’t know who responded because it was anonymous obviously. And I had all these different questions, and… so it seemed to be the biggest percent, it was like a 20% or 15, between 15 and 20% difference in what men were paid to women. This was years ago, but it’s in the article, but I think it was… the majority of women that answer the survey, like I said, I don’t know who answered what, and so it can be… I’m not a professional statistician, so I didn’t do this properly, anybody that’s in that field probably be like, “You totally didn’t do it right.” But whatever.

Gina Lucrezi:

I have a good litmus test here of, like a scale if you will. So most men were paid maybe about 15K most women were paid 5K and below. So there was that much of a discrepancy if you would, so like 10, 15% difference. Then one of the most interesting takeaways I thought though, I asked the question about, if you could choose what you thought you were valued at, what would it be? Or something around that. And most of the responses I got that were in the mail survey, we’re more than what they were getting paid. With the women they were, well, it was less or about where they were out at.

Gina Lucrezi:

I found it so interesting it’s like, well it appeared to me that the men weren’t afraid to ask for more or just to go for it, but for the females, they were more hesitant or timid to maybe to ask for what they really thought. If they really thought that they were getting what they were asking for, but it wasn’t… you know, it was just interesting and I was like, “Ugh, we need to change that mentality and feel like we are just as valuable.” And that’s where I mentioned confidence earlier, I think it’s a lot of that, just believing in yourself.

Hillary Allen:

And that’s exactly where I think… So I mean, conversations like these, like what we’re having now, and an example of the discrepancy in pay and with prize money and recognition, these are just examples. This is kind of like bring awareness, right? But I think exactly like you said, the main difference with that last question on the survey, is creating an environment where it encourages an atmosphere of confidence. In order to do that you need to have certain platforms to do this.

Hillary Allen:

And I think you saw this early on is like that maybe women as a whole in this like Trialing community, they needed kind of a platform to do this. And to emphasize like when I was writing articles for Trial Sisters, this content was applicable for everyone. It’s really good content, but because it was specifically women voices I think provided a safe, like… I don’t like the word safe. But just a good atmosphere and a good platform for people to be encouraged, and be like, “Oh yeah. Okay, my ideas are valid, I thought the exact same thing what she thought. Okay, I’m not that different.”

Gina Lucrezi:

Exactly. Yeah, and so that’s the fun of it. It’s like anybody can contribute, well, any female can contribute. That’s the one thing I do keep, the content can be read by anybody, obviously, but because I really want to hold that space as special for women. Because, if you look in magazines or you look in media publications or just a lot of places, even in the industry, it’s really outnumbered by the male perspective or male positions. And hey, this isn’t a him verse her thing at all, this is just helping to boost that female perspective in certain ways, so that we can create a better space for everybody.

Gina Lucrezi:

Not just one or the other, I mean, heck, when you work together you get so much further in life. But if you’re constantly feeling like one sides, well obviously not as equal or just not as respected as the other, it’s really hard to get anything accomplished because there’s resentment or feelings of doubt, or the lack of confidence. And it stinks to walk through life feeling that way. So, you know…

Hillary Allen:

Yeah. What you were saying is like one side makes the other better. I mean, because we’re all a big community, and I completely 100% agree with that. As a coach myself, there’s this whole idea, you see it in the branding for maybe, for ads for a marketing campaign. It’s like the ‘shrink it and pink it.’

Gina Lucrezi:

Yes.

Hillary Allen:

… I hate these. I don’t like the color pink, that’s like… But maybe a woman’s body is different, so like shrink it and pink it doesn’t work for like a pack. But then also in the world of sports physiology, it’s like there’s this whole, do you know who Stacy Sims is?

Gina Lucrezi:

Yes, at least I know the name. Yeah.

Hillary Allen:

She has [crosstalk 00:19:59], but basically she’s quoted a very famous quote, she’s like, “Women are not little men.”

Gina Lucrezi:

Oh, right, yeah.

Hillary Allen:

It’s even in the… like how we attack like physiology. Basically these studies for athletic performance, if you look at the fine print and like the sample size of athletes that they’re using, it’s predominantly men. Because, I mean women are maybe a little bit harder to study because of their changing hormones and we have to figure that out, but-

Gina Lucrezi:

Yeah.

Hillary Allen:

The samples are actually men, it’s like how we’re training is actually kind of… it’s not exactly right. But at the same time, I think if we kind of put more attention on women, it actually can increase like the overall performance of the sport of running as a whole. So it’s kind of like both. I mean, I think we’re like all inclusive community anyways, because a lot of my training partners are men. Some of my biggest influencers, role models and coaches, I mean, my coach is a guy Adam same here.

Gina Lucrezi:

Yeah.

Hillary Allen:

Yeah. I think like what you said it’s not to be exclusive, but it’s just a way to encourage and to just have a platform for people to share what’s going on with them. Yeah, because I mean, I think there’s power in storytelling also.

Gina Lucrezi:

Completely. And it’s… Excuse me. Yeah, it’s like I choke here. No, it’s completely… education’s huge, right? You can’t fix a problem if you don’t know how to fix it, and how do you learn how to fix something? Is you have to educate yourself. So that’s where with the site and everything, I have out of the three foundations we have, which inspiration, education, empowerment. Education is my favorite because you can do anything in the world and your life, whatever, if you just educate yourself on how to do it. So by gathering so many stories in so many different viewpoints, man, we can become so much stronger and more confident in everything we do. But it’s just a matter of wanting to take the time to learn that, or take the time to share those things, to help others.

Gina Lucrezi:

But it’s interesting to read the different articles that do come on the site and just the different perspectives people have. Sometimes I’m like, “I think I’ve seen it all.” Then there’s always something new that I’m like, “Holy crap, I never even thought of this idea or this thought, or… ” So it’s been a pretty wild ride in terms of, I don’t know, that side of it. But…

Hillary Allen:

I did have a question.

Gina Lucrezi:

Yeah.

Hillary Allen:

But first a comment, basically what was… Well, first the question actually. What was one of your favorite articles, like topics that you’ve had a lot of attention, because I mean I know it goes over everything. So give me an example of, maybe not favorite, like top five or whatever, what are some of the recurring themes you see of articles published.

Gina Lucrezi:

Oh, sure. Yeah, and I should have this in my pocket ready to go, because I get this question, I’m always like, “Crap, I don’t know which one’s my favorite,” because there’s so many that are good. But I think some safety and awareness is usually a pretty big bucket on the site in terms of content. Also we have a decent amount of content circulating around motherhood and pregnancy. Beginner-

Hillary Allen:

That was another topic that I wanted to ask you too, because as far as the low word numbers of participation of females in races, I haven’t actually… As a coach, I’m coaching some woman athletes and literally… I mean, obviously pregnancy takes a long time and some people have really successful pregnancies and they can run throughout them. But even runners getting pregnant, they have to basically stop running or they can’t run as much, or they’re afraid of racing or complications. And so, you have to plan this, it’s like, “Well, if I’m planning to get pregnant this next year, I can’t race around this time.” So they basically have to have a year that’s like blank, and that problem for like an ultrarunning where you’re putting in for lotteries a lot of the year. If you can’t re qualify for like a hundred mile race, what do you do?

Gina Lucrezi:

Right. Well, actually it does speak to that, Western States has done a great job with, and I think they announced this two years ago now, but… Yeah, I think it’s two years ago. But they gave a three year deferral for women that were pregnant and had gotten to the lottery, because it is just that. You’re right, some people are lucky, I don’t even know if it’s luck or just their bodies are able to bounce back, and that’s great. A lot of other women, not so much, and that’s normal and that’s okay. You’re not doing anything wrong, it’s just, hey, you just produced that little thing in your body, cut yourself some slack.

Hillary Allen:

And also the hip situation, hips are pretty important for running and there’s this thing called science that your hips actually change when you have a child, so there’s that to consider.

Gina Lucrezi:

Yeah. And so it’s… I don’t know. I was really grateful when I saw them come out with that, and I know some other races have adopted that as well now. But it’s not just like-

Hillary Allen:

Yeah, can you summarize it, what is it exactly that they- ?

Gina Lucrezi:

It’s a three year deferral. So if you’re pregnant during… I think if you get chosen through the lottery or you make it into the race, or like you are pregnant during that timeframe, I believe that you have three years you can defer to get back into the race. So you don’t lose it, they allow you to push it back, which is excellent because the fact your body can’t, you know, or most people struggle to get back, and to train for a hundred mile race. I mean, a 5K versus a hundred mile, I mean completely different. So you might be able to go out and do a 5K, I don’t know, once after something, but man to put your body through 100 mile training, you need quite a bit of time. So there is like… I don’t want to say an unfairness, but it’s just phy… well, science would say.

Hillary Allen:

Well, physiology [crosstalk 00:26:37].

Gina Lucrezi:

Yeah, right. So-

Hillary Allen:

Yeah, there’s a difference. And I think the sport of ultrarunning is at the forefront of acknowledging these things, because like you said, it’s not like a 5K. I mean, these races to prepare for them they take years, and so if you’re out of commission for a year, I think a three year deferral is appropriate, because then you have to build back up. You have to regain-

Gina Lucrezi:

Strength.

Hillary Allen:

… obviously endurance, but confidence in that whole thing. I think this shows that the community of ultrarunning, I think it is quite progressive. But it’s like, it’s needed. I think it actually improves the sport as a whole, because if you’re acknowledging basically 50% of the population of their participants, like how does that not better the entire community as a whole if you’re being more inclusive?

Gina Lucrezi:

Right?

Hillary Allen:

So… Yeah.

Gina Lucrezi:

So the two, they kind of go hand in hand, but one of the biggest reasons why you see a lower participation rate in the ultra distances is time and motherhood for women. Those are the biggest hiccups right there. And it does make sense, and usually they do go hand in hand, you know. They’re some awesome dads out there and they work their butts off and they… so it’s not like a him verse her thing, but when your body goes through all this, it’s harder to put in the time and get to where you need to be. Then-

Hillary Allen:

There’s a time when the baby physically needs the mom to survive, but yeah-

Gina Lucrezi:

Seriously.

Hillary Allen:

… to piggyback off of that, like motherhood, parenthood like Holy crap, I coached so many kick ass guys out there who are like balancing family life too.

Gina Lucrezi:

Totally.

Hillary Allen:

So it affects everyone. So I think it’s cool, you can have the stress off of one parent, especially when it comes to like racing and doing things you love. Especially if that’s the glue that binds your family together, like being outdoors. Then plus, breeding the next generation of ultra runners if they see their mom out there kicking butt, doing things like, you know. I mean, there was a photo circulating in the ultrarunning world about some mom in UTMB, literally breastfeeding her child [crosstalk 00:28:56] miles.

Gina Lucrezi:

Oh yeah. Total bad ass, that’s awesome. Because I mean that happens. I know women that will say, “Man, I wish I had the pump, but all these different aid stations for this race.” Or maybe it was only once in whatever distance race it was that they were in. But sometimes they feel like, “Oh, where can I go to hide to do this?” And sure, maybe the percentile of this isn’t as high as something else, but it’s still something that happens and it’s natural for… to be like, “Oh, you’re pregnant” or you could take the whole like, “Oh, you have your period, so maybe these are the times you shouldn’t be running.” Like, I mean, no-

Hillary Allen:

No.

Gina Lucrezi:

… we can still do all of that, but it shouldn’t be weird things or it shouldn’t be a weird thing to talk about, or to [crosstalk 00:29:41] through.

Hillary Allen:

Yeah. This is actually really cool too, because like as a coach, like the women athletes that I coach, it’s not that I’m coaching them differently, it’s just like it’s more data points for me to get. There’s actually this really cool app that I have, that I use with my coach like that I can track when my period is, because it’s science, like there’s different hormone fluctuation. So it’s helped me like, okay, well like if you’re feeling crappy, your hormones are changing right before you actually have your period, so maybe you shouldn’t train as much that week because you’re not actually going to absorb “the training.” So it’s really cool because if we acknowledge these things that like, “No, it’s not him versus her one’s better than the other, it’s basically, okay, they’re different.” Just like Stacy Sims state, women are not small men.

Hillary Allen:

So, okay, what other little data points do I need in order to, A. coach you differently? Or if you’re going to attack this race differently, it’s basically just everyone’s a human being and everyone’s different. So it’s just, what are the little parts that make them unique and then you can kind of, you know… For me it’s as a coaching perspective, how can I best coach them to get their best performance, on the bigger platform for everyone. And not everyone has a coach, but it’s like, if you want to run better and you want to run your best, it’s awesome if you feel a part of a community. If you have a platform to share your voice, if you have these resources to become educated.

Hillary Allen:

And also it’s just like, through this app, it’s so funny, I’ve been a woman’s 31 years and I’m reading through this app things that they have, and I’m just like, “Huh, all right, I’m learning something about myself. It’s kind of cool. So I’m sure there’s men that are reading these articles and they’re like, “Whoa, I did not know these.”

Gina Lucrezi:

Right. I mean, I think that’s just it. Again, tie in the education point, it’s like, it shouldn’t be stuff like in the past you can’t talk about certain things or ewe, period, yucky. Or that means it’s disgusting.

Hillary Allen:

Where do you think it came from? [crosstalk 00:31:51].

Gina Lucrezi:

Yeah, I know. Right, I know.

Hillary Allen:

We need these things.

Gina Lucrezi:

Yeah, I’m like, Oh Gosh. But that’s cultural, or you could take it back, the history style and cultural, and societal norms of what’s appropriate, what’s not appropriate. But it’s breaking those stereo types down, creating a safer… well, bad word. But crating a space where these things are, obviously they’re normal and every woman goes through this. So it shouldn’t ever be anything that we can’t talk about or that we should leave out of the equation of X, Y, and Z. It’s something that, it should have never been left out in the first place. So we’re fighting the uphill battle of making it, “Hey, this just belongs,” versus, like tiptoeing around something.

Gina Lucrezi:

So we started a calendar site, we actually started it I think earlier this year, I forget the actual date. But on the calendar site we have this thing… well, we started this thing called Trial Sisters approved standards and how we came about that, I spoke to different race directors and also some athletes. So this wasn’t just a Gina thought process of what we should do here, it was a group decision. So we came up with five standards that are really important and easy and accessible for essentially any RD to put in place. The whole idea is to do this so that it becomes a more welcoming and equal space for all the participants in their races.

Gina Lucrezi:

So the five standards, so equal podium spots, equal prize money, menstruation products on aid station tables for half marathon distance and above, or I’m sorry, and longer. And when I say that, I mean on the table, not hidden in a duffle bag underneath the table, you should be able to grab and go. It shouldn’t be some random, “Where are they?” You know, it’s normal, put it next to the chafe cream that everybody puts their hand in and puts wherever. I mean that’s not [crosstalk 00:34:05].We don’t make that an odd thing, so tampons and pads shouldn’t be strange either.

Gina Lucrezi:

Then the fourth thing is if you’re providing apparel in the swag bags or the gift bags, you need to provide both men’s specific and women’s specific, not unisex or just men. I don’t care what your participant numbers look like, when we paid that money to be a part of that race and your race t-shirt is included and you get it, and it’s a unisex shirt or it’s a men’s shirt because they didn’t want to take the time to actually get women specific. I’m sorry, but that’s a smack in the face to your female participants. I think those companies are in business all because, so many women get shirts that don’t fit them. “So they’re like, well can I do with my race shirts?” “Oh, we’ll make a quilt.” “No.” Do you know how many… I have so many shirts, I have so many shirts that I can’t wear.

Gina Lucrezi:

And you know what, sorry to ramble on this, but I think it’s important. But some people, that’s their takeaway from their race. That might’ve been their first 50K and they want to wear that race t-shirt because they’re so proud and it was an experience for them that they’ll never forget. But they get this takeaway and here they can’t work because it doesn’t fit because it’s, not even made for a female. I mean, not only is that sad for the participant, but then that race director, they also lose that great visibility of that person wanting to support their race.

Gina Lucrezi:

Then finally, the fifth standard is, race line opportunity. So a lot of times you go to a race website or even in the local newspaper and you see the start line of the race, and it’s usually a bunch of guys on the start line. And that’s cool, dude should be there, but there should also be women. I think, again, going back to awareness and representation, when you see this and you see there’s like, “Ooh, maybe there’s like a token female hiding in the corner of the start line.” You don’t really feel like, “Oh, maybe this isn’t the race I want to do, or maybe the sport isn’t for me. There’s no women doing it,” you know. But it doesn’t present the appearance of being welcoming or inclusive.

Gina Lucrezi:

So the ask is that the race directors either may split the line in half, left side men, right side women, or that they make three to four announcements prior to the start, inviting women to come up into the race and to stand along the men. Or just get up on the front line for the photo and to also have a great time towing the line, and starting to race. It’s a bit of education too for obviously the RD, male participants and the female participants that everybody belongs there. You know, there’s only one male winner, there’s only one female winner, so everybody else in that start line is in the race with everybody else. So what’s the difference? I get it, some races have bottlenecks and you want to sprint out there and get in the whatever. You got so much time to move around in the race, so it shouldn’t be like, “Oh, only these people belong there.” No, everybody belongs there.” So those are [crosstalk 00:37:27] standards.

Hillary Allen:

Yeah, and I like that. And it’s like the small differences that make it feel more inclusive. I think it’s, again, it’s a good reminder to not talk about, I mean maybe people that gey sidelined or, the focus point is like the elites, but really it’s a whole event for everyone that’s running. There are hundreds of people and they start lines and even in Europe there’s thousands. So I mean, I just like to think about it as like the sport as a whole and how can it be inclusive for, and you’re encouraging people to participate in the first place, and to keep going and keep doing it.

Hillary Allen:

Yeah, to go back off that point, we were saying about how to talking about all this other stuff, running is one of the least glamorous sports in the first place. Some of my best friends, they know everything. You go to the bathroom on the trail, it’s like bodily functions and like a hundred mile race. Just people puking left and right, it’s just mayhem like, why not just add everything to it? I mean, nothing’s off limits guys, and girls, it’s like…

Gina Lucrezi:

Yeah. No, you’re absolutely right. Yeah, I don’t like to tiptoe around things. Things happen. That’s how it is and shouldn’t be weird or human, and whether you’re in a race or not, you do that stuff other places too. So it’s not like we have no trace, that’s great, keep that in place. But otherwise like, come on, it shouldn’t keep people away.

Hillary Allen:

Yeah, and man, I think the coolest thing about this is like, I’ll just like tie in one last piece to coaching. One of the coolest things about running is like having a community and finding your tribe. I like that word, of finding the people that you really fit with and really like feel a part of, and I think running has that ability to just like strip it down. You can find runners anywhere and you can just share a few miles and you can talk or you can not talk, it’s just the experience, and I think that’s super important just as a lifestyle. It’s super important in training to have a common goal, whether that is a race or just to get healthier or to get through a week, or starting something new. I mean, like, you know-

Gina Lucrezi:

Completely.

Hillary Allen:

But I think it’s really cool that I think that’s what Trail Sisters is trying to accomplish and I think it makes everything, like, it makes the whole sport of ultrarunning, running, trail running just better as a whole.

Gina Lucrezi:

Yeah. And a fun, I don’t know, I made this shameless plug, but on the site part of… So yeah, there’s content to read. So we have stories every week, right, but there’s so much more. And one of the things tying us into coaching is we actually do have a resource tab and we have, I think there’s well over a hundred female coaches. ………….And Hillary, I’m positive you’re on there, but I’m like… but it’s really cool to, like I said, this is a place to really celebrate what women are doing, and what we’re pushing for, because there aren’t a lot of places just celebrating what we are doing. So I’m like, “Hey, well why not do that? Why not have that here?” So anyhow, just to kind of piggyback on the female coaching side, I think there’s a great perspective that women have, especially coaching other women. So it was a cool little thing to put on there for the website and whatnot. But…

Hillary Allen:

Yeah, and there’s a ton of research, sorry, research. Yeah, that too. But there’s a ton of resources out there, on the site. So what exactly is the site, can you tell us?

Gina Lucrezi:

Oh yeah. Well it’s Trail Sisters.net is the website, and then there’s all kinds of tabs for different things. We talked a little bit about running with people or groups, we started a Trail Sisters local group program last October or so, October of 2018. Since actually it’s now a little past that. So a little over a year right now, we have about 95 groups throughout the USA, there’s a few in Canada and also a few in Europe. Then within these groups there’s about 15,000 numbers or so. So it’s grown quite quickly, it’s a little over a year. But the whole idea of these local groups is so that women could find training partners or just to get more involved with their community, or if they’re curious about the sport in general. But these would be essentially welcoming groups that are no drop, women’s running groups.

Gina Lucrezi:

So if you haven’t done it before you can go meet up with your local trail sisters group and you can go out and they’ll help you along and just develop your experience within this sport if you will. Or just find friends or just have a new community to hang out with, for whatever the reasons are, whether you want to end up racing or whether you’re just doing for exercises. But just having the opportunity to meet with some people that are like minded in a cool a sport, or just being in the outdoors, thought it was something that, you know, there’s not a lot of that either, so why not put that in place. So…

Hillary Allen:

Yeah.

Gina Lucrezi:

Yeah.

Hillary Allen:

Oh that’s awesome. Yeah, I feel like I can talk to you all day. I think this is a great introduction and thank you so much. I hope to have you on the show another time.

Gina Lucrezi:

Thank you.

Hillary Allen:

But is there anything else that you want to like put out there? I mean, I’ll obviously link to you all the social media channels and things for people to get connected and plugged in. But, thank you so much for your time and for being on the show, and I’m excited too for people who will take a listen.

Gina Lucrezi:

Oh, thank you. No, I really appreciate it and I appreciate what you’re doing for women in the sport as well personally, and then obviously with the podcast. So thanks for being an inspiration to both men and women out in the trail, so keep that up. And when you’re over here in the States, or if you’re in Colorado sometime come visit me in Buena Vista.

Hillary Allen:

Of course, I will. Yay, okay. Well, thanks so much for being on the show and-

Gina Lucrezi:

Yeah.

Hillary Allen:

Yeah, and… Yeah, we’ll talk soon.

 


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