Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.
In a race, the rabbit is the one who sets the pace. The rabbit is the one who leads the way, the one that all other runners rely on and key off of. On the surface, it seems that the rabbit’s job is simple: run the correct splits and bring the race through in the agreed upon time. But in reality, there is so much more going on, so much more that the rabbit needs to consider.
The rabbit needs to be comfortable. If they aren’t smooth and relaxed, the runners behind them won’t be either. The rabbit needs to be efficient. They need to be in complete control, on the rail wasting as little energy as possible. And, they need to be confident. They need to trust that they are strong and fit. They need to know that they are capable of the task that’s been appointed to them.
I have been an unabashed front runner and pace pusher my entire life. Going to the front and grinding it out, controlling things and running my race – that is the only race tactic that has ever truly felt right to me. The competitive fire that burns hot within me simply cannot be contained by a slow and tactical race.
It needs to get out. I need to get out – out of the pack, out of the pushing and jostling, out of the dice roll that is the sit and kick.
In the front I am comfortable. In the front I am efficient. In the front I am confident.
In the front I am free.
That I am now sponsored by a running apparel company called rabbit, a company which embodies the above traits in both theory and reality, is either a remarkable coincidence or an incredible act of fate.
But aside from the uncanny connection between the brand name rabbit and my inherent racing style, there are so many other things that drew me to rabbit.
Their story was probably the biggest factor. The women who started the company, Jill Deering and Monica DeVreese, looked at what running apparel was being offered in their community in Santa Barbara, CA, and decided that it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t comfortable. It didn’t fit their needs. It wasn’t helping them to achieve their running goals. They decided that they wanted and deserved more, so they went out and started their own running apparel company from the ground up. They saw a need, and they filled it. They did things their way, regardless of how difficult an undertaking it was going to be. They dared to blaze their own trail.
Their story reminded me of my own journey the summer after my senior year. I viewed the professional running offer I was initially given as inadequate – specifically that it would not allow me to have a job in engineering – so I went out and followed my own path. I choose to take the road less traveled, the road of pursing both full-time engineering as well as elite long-distance running. It wasn’t any easy choice, and I’ll admit it isn’t always a smooth ride, but I know deep down it was the one I was meant to make.
Learning of the journey these two woman took, and seeing firsthand the success that they have achieved, was nothing short of inspiring. They are the type of people I want to work with – people who aren’t afraid to dream big and chase after their goals. And rabbit is the type of organization that I want to represent.
The next biggest factor in my decision was the quality of their gear. As much as I love their story and what they stand for, it all would have been a moot point if the final product they produced didn’t actually address the issues they struggled with in the first place.
I am happy to say that each and every rabbit product not only achieves the standard to which athletic, and more specifically running, apparel is held, but exceeds every expectation I previously had.
We all know there are hundreds of athletic apparel brands out there – it seems every other day I see someone wearing a tank top with a logo I’ve never seen before – but what we don’t see a lot of are athletic apparel brands designed specifically for runners. Because big athletic apparel manufacturers are trying to capture multiple parts of the market – those who do yoga, those into crossfit, those who simply like the way they look and feel in athletic clothes (which is totally valid, by the way) – they’ve ended up having to sacrifice some of the functionality that is crucial to the gear runners wear.
Take tank tops with long, flared, flowing bottoms, for example. Do they look super cute and stylish? Absolutely. I could wear most of them for a night out on the town and no one would bat an eye. But, do they billow out when I run and catch the wind like a sail, mimicking the effect of one of those sprint-training parachutes? Yes. Yes they do. To top it off, tanks like these usually have those fancy cross-crossed straps, the ones that cause me to initially put my head through an armhole 99% of the time.
Cute? Yes. Funtional? No!
My Rabbit gear doesn’t cause me these struggles. On the contrary, my rabbit gear is incredibly easy and convenient to use. Wearing rabbit allows me to focus on my training rather than the enormous amount of drag I’m producing, the uncomfortable build-up of sweat along my back or the embarrassing ride-up of my shorts.
Rabbit gear is simple and sleek. It’s lightweight and breathable (with its very own, rabbitMESH!). There is no annoying clinging or painful chaffing, no scrunching of fabric into your crotch two steps into the run. The fabric is so soft and comfortable that, when I’m wearing it, the only time I truly ‘feel’ it is when someone comments on how much they like it or asks me where I got it. The tanks have that sweet racerback cut, and the shorts come in three different styles – “Legs” (left), “Catch Me If You Can” (center), and ‘Hopper” (right) – which allows everyone to find a pair that makes them feel strong and beautiful when they run.
In short, rabbit clothing is the real deal. It is both functional and stylish, addressing the needs of runners of all levels, from recreational to elite.
To top things all off, every single single article of rabbit clothing is made in the United States, specifically in Los Angeles, CA. The location where rabbit products are manufactured is a place that both Jill and Monica frequently visit. It is a place in which they have no problem being photographed, a place which they are proud to say is the origin of each piece of rabbit gear that gets sent out into the running world.
I am certainly no expert in running apparel manufacturing, or any other sort of manufacturing for that matter, but I honestly cannot remember the last time I saw a photograph of an apparel company owner proudly standing in their brand’s factory for all the world to see. The fact that I can see both Jill (left) and Monica (right) pictured above in the rabbit manufacturing building gives me huge confidence that the tanks and shorts and shirts I wear and love were made the right way.
Being a part of the rabbit community is truly more than I ever could have hoped for. For two years I have worked and waited for the right opportunity to come along, the kind of opportunity that would inspire and excite me to do more and be more without having to sacrifice all that I already am.
With the officially signing of my rabbit contract, I can proudly say that opportunity has come.
I cannot wait for the fall 2016 season to officially begin and see what the future holds for me, the rabbit organization, and all my fellow front-runners, pace-setters, and big-dreamers.