Super Woman is Real! Meet the Women Redefining What Little Girls Want to Be When They Grow Up (plus a give-away!)

posted by Morgan Sjogren, a Women Talk Sports blogger
Thursday, February 14, 2013 at 9:00am EST

About Morgan Sjogren:

Morgan is a freelance writer, competitive distance runner and certified Yoga teacher who has a passion for the internal world as much as the external. She is a Senior Account Manager for SMACK! Media....more

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Note: Read to bottom of this post to learn how to enter for the give-away. Believe I Am is giving a Training Journal and Betty Designs is giving a wrist band, beenie and water bottle kit!

As an NCAA All-American coxswain for the Princeton Women’s Rowing Team, Elisette Carlson, Founder of SMACK! Media, looked towards a future of possibilities. Alongside lofty career goals and the desire to start a family, she was also determined to keep sports as a part of her life because according to Elisette, “I loved the way I felt when I was participating in a sport, being active or competing.”

The current post-Title IX generation of young women are privy to unlimited athletic possibilities as well as an entire sector of career opportunities ranging from professional athletes to high powered careers in the sports industry to athletic inspired entrepreneurial ventures. This is a new generation of role models who have taken their athletic experience from the field and applied it to their career ambitions. Specifically, these women continue to participate in the sports they are passionate about beyond their college years and simultaneously start a family. Young girls no longer face limits in the opportunities they can seek, rather, they are more often faced with the daunting task of deciding how much they can take on. Do I want to play sports? What will my career be? Do I want to be a Mom as well? Can I do it all?

As a child, Kristin Mayer, Founder and Designer of Betty Designs, couldnever sit still, expect for when she was able to draw. Her early inclinations towards art and movement led to a successful design career and equally solid results as a podium age group triathlete. Kristin still recalls her first triathlon, “That feeling of accomplishment is something I'll never forget and that's what hooked me. I had no idea I could push myself like that.” Her newfound ability to challenge herself along with building relationships amongst the triathlon community’s top agents led to the perfect niche for this single mom’s skills-- designing custom triathlon apparel, swimsuits and cycle kits for some of the world’s best triathletes. Kristin’s individual custom-designed race uniforms soon developed into a full line of cycling, triathlon and swim apparel that expressed Kristin’s feelings and inspiration when it came to racing. Her line of apparel and accessories, Betty Designs stands apart from others on the market with bold, bright and edgy designs that are more runway than bicycling billboard and also scream “I can be beautiful and badass at the same time!”

Taken from Believe I am blogWhen Co-Founder of Believe I Am, Roisin McGettigan, was eleven years old she already had a clear vision of what she wanted to be when she grew up—an Olympian. Not only did she see herself competing on the world’s biggest stage at such a young age, she also understood and felt, “ready to commit to training there and then.” After achieving her goal and competing in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing (Steeplechase, Ireland), the timing for Roisin to make the switch from athletics to starting a family and launching Believe I Am came naturally. Roisin said, “My desire to start a family began to outweigh my desire to run personal bests.” One month before she became pregnant with her daughter Hope, Roisin put her time and energy into developing and launching Believe I Am with Lauren Fleshman, Co-founder of Believe I Am, Similar to experiencing childbirth, labor and the rigorous schedule of training for the Olympics, Roisin realized that creating the company’s flagship product, training journals hand crafted and designed for women runners, was especially tough. However, similar to her other pursuits, she found that, “It’s really easy to work hard and get things done when you care about something.”

Elisette feels that “sports and competition teaches one that there are no limits and that you can do anything you want if you apply yourself to it.” As a coxswain, Elisette’s role was, “about leadership and about learning how to succeed and win by working with a team and extracting the best out of every team member to produce the best results.” “Ultimately,” Elisette comments that “sports inspired me to compete professionally in a field that I was passionate about (Marketing and PR) and was a major catalyst towards my taking the leap to launch SMACK! Media,” right in between the birth of her two sons, Andrew and Luke. Elisette’s team work ethic and enthusiasm has built a crew of 7 women who are leading the way in Public Relation(ships) and Marketing in the sports, fitness and health sectors.

Lauren feels the carry over from sport to business comes from the individual mindset of the athlete. “Running has given me a strong sense of ownership over my life,” Lauren said. “It is a microcosm of life, with its own pulse, its own goals, its own momentum. Business is no different, so you can apply the same attitude and skills to it that running teaches you.” Lauren has taken a different route than many professional athletes, specifically runners, by launching both Picky Bars and Believe I Am in 2010, in the midst of a highly successful running career that includes 2 U.S. National Titles (5,000 meters) and a 7th place finish at the World Championships (Daegu, 2011). Lauren recently partnered with a women’s apparel company called Oiselle that was founded by a competitive runner and mother, Sally Bergesen. Lauren continues, “Oiselle was an inspiration for me throughout that time, informing my ideas about what it means to be a successful, authentic and growing business.” Today Lauren’s partnership with Oiselle, in lieu of the traditional “shoe sponsorship” for runners, marks a historic shift in the way female (and all) athletes are involved in and can support themselves in sports and as players on and off of the field.

All four women unanimously agree that sports have taken on the additional role of stress release while balancing motherhood with entrepreneurship. For Kristin, “the training is MY time. For me. I think it's important that moms have something they do for themselves at some point in the day. I also come up with a lot of design ideas when I'm out training.” Roisin also looks to running for inspiration, “it’s where my creative ideas are born.” For women whose lives revolved around athletics for so many years, continuing to participate in the sport they love is an essential way to remain balanced. As Elisette puts this, “Running is paramount. Without exercise, without sweat, without running, I'm not myself.” Lauren also stresses the importance of time for yourself: “Running is always the epicenter for me. People may find that offensive, that marriage or a child or God or something else should be the epicenter. But running is at the very core of my spirit, and the origin of everything in my life and all relationships is from my spirit. If not running one day, than some other form of me-time, like music or painting, or walking.”

Organization, self-care and positive outlook are essential traits of these “Super Women,” again traits they likely developed as they balanced playing sports with school, work and friends. For Kristin each day “is full of little compartments of time,” setting aside blocks specifically for work, or training and especially for quality time with her son Gavin. Elisette agrees that, “Scheduling and having a plan is key. You must lay out a game plan, just as you would a race plan. By having a plan and a flexible approach you can be prepared for anything that comes your way. Sure there will be times when a workout might be derailed or the schedule won't go as planned,” Elisette continues, “but I do my best to try to stick to it and work as efficiently as possible when I'm in the office.”

The consensus amongst these women, who cannot be singularly defined as entrepreneurs, mothers or athletes, is that sports have given all aspects of their life an incredibly rewarding perspective and balance. When asked about advice they give to younger women looking at their goals and future, their responses began emphatically in the same way, “Yes you can do it all!”

Whether you are a mother, an entrepreneur, a college student or an athlete, below are the top tips these “Super Women” offer to anyone looking to juggle their passions, career goals, friendships and relationships with their family:


1. Organization and flexibility are key. Sometimes something in the schedule has to give due to life and/or work. Kristin says it took her a long time to realize this, but she has since reaped the benefits of letting little things go and not “sweating the small stuff.”

2. Stay positive. Elisette encourages women to “try not to criticize yourself if things don’t go perfectly as planned, you can't make every school event, you miss a workout, etc. Simply make the most out of the situation at hand.”

3. Get connected. Find friends in business. Find friends who are moms. Find friends who are into fitness. Trust Roisin--you'll need them. “Sisterhoods are real,” she says, “in this day and age where we all don’t have our family and extended family around to help out, it’s essential to have this support, shared wisdom and friendship at hand.”

4. You can do anything, but you can’t do everything. Lauren says her biggest breakthrough came with getting comfortable outsourcing things. “Anything time-consuming that I don't enjoy doing, I pay someone to do now. Clean my house, take care of the yard, wash the car, etc. Obviously you don't save as much money as you would doing those things yourself, but it lowers my stress, makes me more productive at the things I enjoy doing and raises the quality of my work. In the end, that will create more financial opportunities than if I were a stress ball who doesn't sleep and starts to resent my work rather than love it.”

5. Never let sports go. “If it's been a part of your life for years, it is a part of your soul. Consider participation in sports as good spiritual hygiene. Maintaining the spirit of a female athlete will make everything else you do in life amplified, illuminated.”—Lauren Fleshman

Give away rules: To enter to win a Believe I Am Training Journal and Betty Designs wrist band, beenie and water bottle kit, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post.  This comment could be about what it takes to be a Superwoman, Superwomen in your own life or even how you will apply the above 5 tips. There will be only one entry per participant. The cut-off for entries is 12:00 am (midnight) on February 28, 2013. The winner will be chosen at random and announced soon after. 

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There are 37 comments on this post. Join the discussion!

dailysweat says:

I always want to do SO much in a year: run marathons, race cyclocross, do my first 70.3, PR in the 5k, climb mountains, be an awesome girlfriend, etc. but it's true, you can't fit EVERYTHING in. This year, I'm really trying to focus on what I REALLY want to do, so I can train well and perform at my highest capability. Quality over quantity!

Thursday, February 14, 2013 at 1:45pm EST

lizard says:

I'm no Superwoman, but with my first baby due this June I'm standing in line to register for an Ironman for 2014. Life will become a balance, but I need something to define who I am beyond a mother. I'm looking forward to the new challenge!

Thursday, February 14, 2013 at 2:25pm EST

atankersley says:

I believe that every woman can be a Superwoman by living life to the fullest, embracing challenges, and loving wholeheartedly.

Thursday, February 14, 2013 at 2:32pm EST

NancyeR says:

I recommend #3 "Get Connected" to everyone who asks for advice. In college I worked for our women's soccer and lacrosse teams. I have kept in touch with the AAD for the sports, the coaches and some of the players. A few years later those connections led to a job in an athletic department that also covered graduate school. While I was there I did an internship for another sports organization which led to my current job with an Olympic sport. Connections and keeping in touch with people is so important.

Thursday, February 14, 2013 at 2:41pm EST

lalaladybug says:

This posting was very refreashing! I started to walk/run in January 2012 and although it was an emotional and physical struggle I completed my first two 5K this past fall/winter. I still consider myself a newbie and find so much inspiration seeing runners, especially women who are in a sense "able to do it all". My goals and enjoyment for running are completely for me and my benefit, but I know they are bringing me to a better level of health which when I do start to have a family in a few years, will be positive benefits. I don't really see myself as a true runner as of yet, but I know I will get there and feel like a Superwoman!! Thank you for your inspiration! :)

Thursday, February 14, 2013 at 5:39pm EST

RitzyRo says:

I am a new to running and will be completing my first half next week at Princess Half at Disney. I have met new female running friends of all ages through FB groups and joining GOTR organization. Running has helped me in so many ways, personally and physically. Having graduated from an all women's college, I find strong women so inspiring- Superwoman, Lauren and Ro...they all make me believe I can achieve my fitness goals no matter what age you are. Not to mention the sense of sisterhood and support..it's just amazing the things your body can do. Everyday I wake up feeling stronger than ever. We are ALL Superwoman, just need to harness that potential and believe you can do it. :)

Friday, February 15, 2013 at 5:27am EST

aprildlirpa says:

It's amazing how reading what you "know" can remind you what you don't practice. We really do get stronger when we acknowledge, care for, share with, and support one another. Sport can be one of the best opportunities for anyone--especially women--to discover these things. So glad to have found others who seek out these

Friday, February 15, 2013 at 1:04pm EST

rwatson says:

I love to hear about women turning their passions into careers. It is incredibly inspiring and makes me want to work harder to achieve my goal of a career in the sports industry. I think one of the hardest lessons I%u2019ve had to learn in endurance sports is that you can%u2019t do it all, all the time. Life happens; careers, relationships, family, and sometimes you have to let certain races or workouts go. The sooner you quit dwelling on that missed workout, the better off you%u2019re going to be. Instead, focus on your next session and how you can achieve those intervals, etc. Sport is full of ups and downs; the quicker you can adapt and go with the flow, the more successful you will be. Sometimes you may have to cut a run down to 30 minutes instead of an hour; any sweat is better than no sweat. Endurance sports are full of amazingly talented women; get to know them. Social media has opened a huge door that has enabled us to connect with not only our direct competition, but also the professionals. How cool is it that you can tweet, email, or facebook with a professional athlete and she will respond directly? Awesome! My advice to women already involved in sports; be an advocate for exercise and physical activities, you never know how a little encouragement may help to change someone%u2019s life.

Friday, February 15, 2013 at 1:17pm EST

colleens1117 says:

This is a fantastic article about some amazing women in sport. Great reminders for all women whether they are a Mother or not. Striving to be the best we can be for ourselves and those around us.

Friday, February 15, 2013 at 1:21pm EST

akeple says:

#5 - never let it go... took me a long time to learn that, but once I did, I have never been happier. Health and fitness are now my top priority, and because of that everything else in my life is absolutely amazing!

Friday, February 15, 2013 at 1:37pm EST

LA17 says:

Great article! Working out with my girlfriends is key - we support each other through so much! Those are my favorite workouts.

Friday, February 15, 2013 at 1:50pm EST

Leslie2013 says:

Great article! I truly enjoy reading how successful women do what they do and try to pick up some tips to apply to myself. Thank you

Friday, February 15, 2013 at 1:52pm EST

lesliemoneil says:

Superwoman%u2026 As a mom of two boys I often feel heroic (with an imaginary cape) sprinting around my house up and down stairs. Laundry to lunches, hugs to correlated consequences it is all a balance with a tremendous amount of agility, selflessness, sacrifice and most of all powered with a deep tear wrenching love. My running shoes (or surf board!) are the hammock for me as a WOMAN to continue my journey, find peace, sort feelings, set goals, solve problems (yes, like what in the *and^#% will I make for dinner!) and most of all clear my mind. Superwoman %u2013 Mom - Woman- Athlete Thank you for this article%u2026You inspired me.

Friday, February 15, 2013 at 3:40pm EST

lands says:

I am always inspired by the superwomen in my life. Women who balance all of life's challenges, who strive to better themselves and who never shy away from helping others. These women are emotionally and physically strong. I can't imagine life without them.

Friday, February 15, 2013 at 6:18pm EST

sallyaston says:

I live in a house full of boys....I am not sure that I am superwomen....but I do have some super powers, including: finder of lost things, healer of boo-boos, cleaner of bathrooms, paying bills with next to no money, creating food that everyone likes, craft creator, homework helper...depending on the day...and I am also a Triathlete, daughter, teacher and friend.

Friday, February 15, 2013 at 7:07pm EST

katie f says:

I like #3 get connected! The other day, a friend sent me a picture of two old women, and the caption said: Reminder: Your girlfriends will probably outlive your husband. So find good ones! We all need a few great (preferably running) friends in life!

Friday, February 15, 2013 at 8:23pm EST

MCho31 says:

I'm dealing with an ankle injury, and have had different injuries for the last five months that I've been with my new team, and it's been a hard time trying to juggle training, rehab, and school work. A superwoman for me is one of our captains who has been an example of how to handle everything. She had her sixth knee surgery a couple months ago and has only played in 2/4 years at university due to ACL injuries.
She has had to manage time, rehab, school work, and the overal stress and impact that such major injuries have on oneself being an athlete.

Friday, February 15, 2013 at 8:59pm EST

Mrscollins says:

What a great post! I never thought of myself as a superwoman until I started running and connecting with women athletes. When I started running it was to merely finish a 5K by running the whole time. From there I went on to run a marathon and a 50K...I inspired my sister to run a marathon and got some friends running. These days I connect with women on Facebook and twitter who eat clean, lift weights, and inspire others.
These connections make me realize that every word I put out there creates new thought, new ideas, and that some people look to me for advice And motivation. But, I am also human and need my own motivation and drive from others. I can get overloaded and need to be told to slow down and sometimes that is through seeing others who are forced to slow down.
Connections have changed my life, inspired me, made me feel better about myself, and have enabled me to try new things and help others...creating so many superwomen!

Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 1:24pm EST

Catalyst says:

The best way to become a Superwoman is to Commit. Decide to be a better you and Commit to the steps forward. Commit to the knowledge others are giving you. Commit to the lifestyle best suited to get you the next level. Commit to the push, strive and aches. Commit to the belief IT can be done. Commit to yourself.

Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:34pm EST

janicek says:

I have returned to running in order to rediscover and redefine my sense of self...badly battered by a loss of self-esteem and children who have become all too accustomed to a mom willing to give up her time and efforts to support theirs... when I am alone on a run, the only demand on my time and abilities is what I MYSELF demand. My universe expands, the clock becomes irrelevant, and I once again begin to notice all the little pleasures that nature provides... a feather caught in a tattered spider web, the feel of scattered snow flakes on my face, or just the measured cadence of my own footfalls on a gravel road.

Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:35pm EST

WeeBri says:

The above tips are great! Cannot say enough about staying realistically positive or forward focused. You might not get everything you want this time, but look forward to the steps that will get you there next time!

Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:35pm EST

helenphipps says:

What a GREAT article! I love it when women are supportive of other women and this hits on important points to remember when we are trying to juggle our goals and our responsibilities. I have a full time job, am a pro triathlete, and am managing to complete a full time PhD program in bioomedical science. I learned quickly that I can't do it all - something had to give - but I always kept sports in my life.

Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:37pm EST

Pipsqueak says:

Impossible is just a word-we as woman are amazing in what we can achieve in 24h....if we are organised and believe that what WE want is worthy of us. We need a strong support network around us, who are not offended when we say no.

Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 7:38pm EST

cmadison says:

LOVE #4 - I really must remember that I can't do everything!

Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 8:30pm EST

Carlyrd says:

I'm still learning how to be flexible - I stress out if I can't fit everything in or in the way I have decided my training should go. I guess it goes along with #4, that I can't do everything. Sometimes so,etching has to give.

Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 8:59pm EST

TriCoachDawn says:

#4 is something I need to work on. I try to fit so much in to my days - school, running, writing, cooking - that it gets overwhelming at times. I've finally gotten better about asking my husband for help, but it's a work in progress.

Sunday, February 17, 2013 at 9:20pm EST

libbyamack says:

I think being a superwoman means finding the things that make your heart sing and running with them. For me, it means balancing a career about which I am passionate, a triathlon lifestyle, time with friends both in and out of the sport, and a passion for singing. I recently feel like I had found this superwoman place while at a tri camp surrounded by a dozen other positive, driven, active women who all genuinely care for one another and live dynamic and diverse lives. I had found my balance amongst these fellow superwomen.

Sunday, February 17, 2013 at 10:04pm EST

krystyna47 says:

Being a superwoman is about challenging yourself daily in all respects, mentally and physically.

Monday, February 18, 2013 at 2:57am EST

jkanzaki says:

Being a Superwoman comes from being grounded and in tune with your heart desires. Once you have established this, the rest really does fall into place as you follow your true passions...and this natural manifestation of creativity through sport and life makes you nothing less than a super WOMAN. The amazing thing is, everyone of us has a "superwoman" inside...it's all about letting her show herself!

Monday, February 18, 2013 at 4:18am EST

mgglasgow says:

Training for my first half and really enjoying the "me" time that comes with running - it truly does help the rest of my day when I get to run.

Friday, February 22, 2013 at 9:58am EST

kacie tri-ing says:

I think that being superwoman comes from REACHING to see how far we can go in this thing called life. This year, I am racing the longest I have ever gone (race across america in a two person team), and I can't wait to see what the limits to my mind/body/soul are. I love hearing stories about women who are squeezing the most they can out of life!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 10:32am EST

brittbreaux says:

I love this post! I'm currently married and we are planning on having a family in the next few years, and frankly it scares me a little that it will take away from my time as an athlete, so seeing this post is very positive and inspiring for me. I think having a support network (#3) and keeping athletics in my life (#5) will be important. Thanks for showcasing these role models.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 11:48am EST

pamye says:

Sporty Superwoman for life!! Live it, dream it, sweat it!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 3:51pm EST

Nan says:

When I started running I didn't even know the history of women and running, now I run because I can, and am forever thankful for the female runners who have paved the way for all of us.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 10:06pm EST

spokes-woman says:

I like the point, "You can do anything, but you can't do everything." Learning to give myself a break was one of the best lessons of adulthood. I'm a working mom with a full-time job, a 5-year-old, a husband who is also a competitive athlete, and a 600-member women's cycling group I founded to host women's clinics and build courage, confidence, and community, two wheels at a time. (See: Tip #1) The reality of it is that I always feel like I'm coming up short of 100% in at least one area. The younger me would dwell on that shortcoming, but the 37-year-old me has learned that it's the sum of all efforts that matters, the balance. The most rewarding part? Through my group (magiccitycyclechix.com), getting other women to discover their inner superwoman.

Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 7:40am EST

pattyc says:

The way I like to see it is... I might not be superwoman, but if I can be the best version of me (a la super-ME), then I'm happy with that!

Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 2:09pm EST

Last says:

I know the contest is over, but being a superwoman means getting up EVERY TIME you are knocked down. Since 1999, I have been pushed down over and over. I had been diagnosed with Hashimoto's disease, personally survived 9/11 firsthand, got married, mom diagnosed with cancer, mom died, had a baby while home was being destroyed by Hurricane Francis, and so on. But, every time, I analyzed the reasons for these events and my responses. Every time I learned how to be stronger and more resourceful. Every time, I thought of my family and how I needed to keep keepin' on. I tested my mind, my body and my spirit. I have been a personal trainer, nutritionist and coach for over 25 years and now I had to be my own client. I had to get back to my competitive roots. I had to dig deep to challenge myself to step up. I tried new events....triathlons and duas; I began Stand up paddleboarding, I went back to performing in the theater. I became a huge philanthropist volunteering my time within my community. With each endeavor, I gained new insight into the human condition, into life and into what motivates me. I am definitely both an intrinsic person...meaning I motivate from within as well as an extrinsic, find motivation from the outside world. And to know that is why I get up every time and will continue to do so. The biggest lesson that I have learned is that being a superwoman means knowing when you are doing too much as well. And with that, I have learned when to streamline my time and focus my skills and interests. Being a superwoman is never being afraid to ask for help when you need it. And is allowing yourself to continue to learn. I wasn't instantly like this, over time these traits evolve as you grow from each happening. This to me, embodies a superwoman...it's not the "perfect" image portrayed to the world. It's the inner strength as well as the outer...that allows a woman to be Super!

Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 11:34am EST

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