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Femme Community

“Femme Community”; A Forum for All Female Athletes

All athletes are not created equal. We are the sum total of our experience, training, desire, genetics, even geography. De Soto Sport Femme Apparel is designed with a mind for every female athlete’s celebrated differences, as well as their shared, multisport enthusiasm. Likewise, this Femme Community blog is where we may congregate to embrace our differences, share our experiences, gain support and give voice to our passion.

As the name suggests, we are a community. What you will find here are tips, tales and matters of importance to female endurance athletes. But, more, you will connect with likeminded women, sharing their own stories and concerns. Navigate the site to your heart’s content, and know you are invited to participate. Ask questions. Leave comments. Join in the exchange of ideas. Find the support you crave, while offering it to others.

By joining the Femme Community you will be kept up on activities, events and, sure, specials and product offerings. But you do not come here for pressure or a sales presentation. You come here for advice. You come here for guidance. You come here for nutritional and training assistance. You will get informed. You will hopefully be entertained. And above all, and I cannot stress this enough, you will find support. You have found us.

Now become a supported member of the Femme Community. Bookmark us. Register your email for convenient, updated blog posts. Or, simply commit us to memory and return at your leisure when in search of empathy, camaraderie and affirmation. Welcome to the family. Feel free to try something on.

To join our Femme Community and to receive special news and offers, sign up here:

21 July 2014: 3 Tips for Picking a Training Partner: Is your training buddy a help or a hindrance? Improve your workouts, and race results, with these running compatibility cues.

by CFO/Attorney/Mother/Triathlete, Tracy M. De Soto

Training with a partner is an invaluable way to increase motivation and keep you on track. A running buddy to pique your competitive spirit, heap on the guilt or entertain you on your long runs can be the difference between success and a succession of missed workouts. However, training with the wrong partner, someone with rather a different level of ability or set of goals, can be more harmful than going it alone. Test your current partner within the following important compatibility factors.

1. Find Someone with a Similar Approach to Conditioning.

To train together successfully you and your partner don’t have to be clones. You don’t have to have the same background or even be in the same shape. A triathlete and a weekend ambler, though, are not ideal running companions. So that you don’t spend your entire workout either bored or under duress, partner with someone who shares your training philosophy.

Got a half-ironman approaching? Partner with someone in a similar circumstance. Shared goals often reveal a similar mindset. If you can agree on workout distance, frequency and intensity, you free yourselves to enjoy what is designed to be a mutually beneficial experience.

2. Set a Realistic Mutual Pace

From walking to water aerobics, a desire keep up with or even impress your peers is a powerful motivator. Runners can be particularly competitive, but need to protect against overdoing it. You want a partner who challenges you, and vice versa, but within reason. If you are an eleven-minute miler when it comes to running and your partner runs regular sub sixes, you aren’t doing yourselves any favors. Compromise is healthy for friendships, though you don’t want to sacrifice your own workout. Your splits may generally improve, and your partner could learn a thing or two about moderation, though the gap between your comfort zones may be too wide.

3. Consider all the elements

Does your partner love the things you loathe? Does one of you thrive on hills and trails, while the other prefers a track? Is only one of you an early riser? I couldn't stand to do an 8 p.m. workout these days! Your personal preferences can have as much impact on a run as a sprained ankle. In opinions, as with conditioning, you don’t have to be in lockstep with your partner. But the more similar you are, the more easily you will mesh and enjoy your training. Temperature, topography, scenery, time of day—talk through your preferences before committing to training together.

Triathlon - swimming, biking and running - are one of the world's most popular pursuits. There are droves of triathletes out there whose ability and enthusiasm match your own. Finding one of them will significantly improve your training, outlook and results.

12 July 2014: Why Do I Tri?
by Femmebassador, Pat Puchaski

I just returned home from a Half-Ironman 70.3 called "TOUGHMAN" where I drew a smiley face on my pink swim cap and wrote in bold, black marker letters "TOUGH GIRL"! I had left for Indiana with a heavy heart due to the fact my father has end stage prostate cancer and two of my closest friends have terminal cancer...one in her brain and the other in her breasts that has spread throughout her body during the past 15 years. Being a 10 year cancer survivor myself, my plan was to spend the day enjoying the countryside, meditating, and talking with God about HIS plans for my life.

How was my cancer even detected at Stage 0 when there was not even a lump? The cells of my tumor were "high grade" which as an elementary teacher usually means it is a good thing...definitely NOT the case with breast cancer! I had postponed my mammogram in 2004 because I was training for KONA IM World Championships while teaching full time. Interestingly, IF I had gone in for the mammogram at the one year suggested appointment, my 6 mm tumor would not have even shown up! Following an amazing experience in KONA where I placed 10th in my AG, I woke up one December morning and KNEW I needed a mammogram! I've been told since that time that when an athlete is preparing for Ironman, he/she becomes so "in tune" with his/her body we know when something has changed. At the appt. I was extremely anxious and told the Tech. to just go to the next step..I KNEW I had breast cancer. When I told her there was no lump but I knew the precise location, she laughed and went ahead with the mammogram. There was a small shadow so another film was taken. The Radiologist told me she was sure it was a cyst and to come back in 6 months for another mammogram. I went home and called my Sports Med. Physician who knew my history and the fact that my mother and her sister, my Aunt, both died of cancer....one from brain, the other from breast that had metastasized to the lung. He immediately wrote a prescription for a needle biopsy which came back positive for breast cancer. A miracle occurred in that 5 mm of the 6 mm tumor was removed during that biopsy. At the time of the lumpectomy, the Surgeon found the 1 mm tumor which was encapsulated in the muscle, something she had never seen previously! She asked what I did besides teaching and I told her about my passion for triathlon. She told me that if I had waited the 6 months to have another mammogram, my "life as I know and love it would have been over" because I would have needed a mastectomy and chemo. instead of lumpectomy and radiation. Her exact words were, "Don't ever stop...it saved your life!" This was the 3rd time I had been told TRIATHLON SAVED MY LIFE!

The second time I had been told that triathlon training saved my life was when I was bike training for KONA in 2004 and was hit by a teenaged driver who ran a red light! He turned directly in front of me and I didn't have a chance to escape being hit with such force that I dented the door of his car, flipped off my bike landing on my back and hitting my head on the road. The result was a 5 day concussion, broken teeth, and multiple contusions. At the ER, following head to toe x-rays, the Dr. asked me, "What do you do outside of teaching?" He told me that training for IM was the only reason I did not have broken bones at the age of 55! He was shocked and told me never to stop training! The first time I was told triathlon would enable me to have a HEALTHY life was when tests revealed I had a "sponge kidney"...basically a birth defect that can lead to polycystic kidney disease and exercise is extremely important! The only admonition was to NOT become dehydrated and that still needs a lot of work!

"Why are we triathletes?" SO MANY REASONS! When I trained for my 1st triathlon it was because my husband had a heart attack and refused to go to rehab. at OSU! A friend told me that IF I went along, she was sure he would go and my response was that "I didn't want to workout!" Well, she was right and the Trainer assigned to me was a Certified Triathlon Coach...the only one in Ohio 15 years ago! He told me he could have me ready for my first triathlon in 8 weeks and I laughed! I had never run a mile in my life, was riding my daughter's 10 speed Huffy, and had been a synchronized swimmer in college:) I also responded that he was the age of my son, and I was not sure I should listen to him. We have laughed many times since our first meeting! He now works with Olympians, and I have completed 6 full IM including 2 KONA finishes and over a hundred triathlons/duathlons of all distances. I have competed at national and World Championships as well as running races from 5K to marathons including Boston 3 times. My energy level soared, and I used triathlon stories in my classroom for language arts lessons as well as bike geometry for math lessons. I started a girls' running club at my elementary school and covered reading/math Course of Study objectives related to running that improved scores on the Ohio Achievement Tests. I was invited to be the Keynote Speaker at Ohio University's "Celebrate Women" Conference and have been invited to Sport Psychology classes for presentations. I can keep up with my 4 grandchildren and tell them about the AMAZING and INSPIRING athletes I have met during my 15 years as a triathlete: Team Dick/Rick Hoyt, 84 year old Sister Madonna Buder, double amputee Scott Rigsby who rode beside me in Kona after I was in a bike crash, Marine Clayton Treska who was diagnosed with terminal cancer and went on to cross the Finish Line in Kona. There are so many others who have blessed my life and I wake up each morning with gratitude in my heart! To say that triathlon changed my life is an understatement!

30 June 2014: Summer Time is the Time to Relax...What?!?
Take a Break from Excessive Training and Competition to Avoid Needless Injury and Setback

by CFO/Attorney/Mother/Triathlete, Tracy M. De Soto

Summer is, positively, peak triathlon season. If the number of summer events does not bear this out, then just look at the all the runners, cyclists and swimmers with whom you now share your preferred training grounds. The increased frequency of races and workouts naturally increases the potential for fatigue and injury. In summer, triathletes of every level need to take special care not to overdo it.

Anyone who trains for a triathlon is, by definition, a serious athlete. To realistically undertake such an endeavor classifies you as such. You know your body. You know what you are doing. This is no guarantee against misfortune, as even the most experienced competitors can attest. One significant cause of injury is simple excess.

Warm water, sunshine, lithe bodies parading past your office; the motivating factors increase exponentially this time of year. Add to that the greater number of events you simply can’t miss, and chances are you’re not taking, or even considering, necessary time off.

So what is the proper recipe? Moderation. Not what an extreme athlete wants to hear, sure, but no one’s suggesting you take the summer off. You don’t really even have to cut back. The problem here, again, is how one tends to overload their schedule in the summer. Sure, your three or four favorite events happen in July and August. But should you try to participate in all of them? Consider the courses and distances involved, and the amount and level of training each requires. As a serious athlete who knows your body, long-term success comes from knowing how far to push yourself, then committing to stay within those limits.

Yes, talk of limitations is like kryptonite for the endurance athlete. But know, every heroic tale of back-to-back-to-back Ironman races comes with an equally tragic example of Achilles tendon surgery. Be active, yes. Be aggressive even. But be smart. Be honest with yourself and your health, and allow yourself a break, a little pleasure and a little time for rest.

21 May 2014: The Brain Power of Exercise

by CFO/Attorney/Mother/Triathlete, Tracy M. De Soto

Why are we triathletes? Well, for one - most of us are driven individuals. I think very few people, if any, can say that triathletes are lazy, lack motivation in life (though we certainly can for a workout, particularly your weakest of the three disciplines or your long run or ride), or lack discipline. But for what purpose do you tri?

I'll be honest, as a mother of two young children, I am not racing these days. Yet, I still train. I train, almost as though I were racing. I have my workout schedule and I generally stick to it (albeit a sick child.) As a "silent" triathlete, I still enjoy the predictability of my workouts, the fitness from keeping my workouts, and I still enjoy each discipline. I enjoy that there ARE three disciplines and I'm doing the same thing every single day, yet they are all cardio workouts and my heart is working. I also like that each workout is for a purpose because when we are training for three sports. After all, there cannot be a workout without a purpose, right? I like that each sport works different muscles and impacts my body in various ways.

Most of us train with a heart rate monitor or at least have our mileage tracked on our rides or runs and certainly, we know our meters in the pool. Again, a symptom of a triathlete. We are driven, and we like results. We like to make a PR. We like to see that negative split. We like to feel the pain of the sore muscles or the hurt in our lungs. We are triathletes.

But what about the other side? What about the mind? Most of us live in the "chaos" of modern day society. I whole-heartedly acknowledge that technology makes the world a better place. I absolutely do! I couldn't have the life that I do without computers, wireless networks, 4G and smartphones! But I also recognize that constantly being "on" to technology, to our ever-increasingly busy lives with more stimuli than ever before, demands a break. My training, though religiously disciplined though not racing, is a way for me to just focus on my heart rate, my breathing, my turnover, my stroke, my cadence. It's just me and the beach sand being flipped under my shoe, m my torso turning in the lane, my high elbow or my sidis spinning faster or more methodically to make the top of the climb. There is a calmness that sets in. A peace. Even a comfortable predictability about training. Though it is may be difficult to make the 6 a.m. masters workout or to do the long run in the heat, there is a comfort in our routine and in our choice. Why am I a triathlete? For the love of it.

30 April 2014: Warm Weather Workouts: Staying Cool is No Sweat

by CFO/Attorney/Mother/Triathlete, Tracy M. De Soto

Winter has given way to spring across the nation, delivering 20-degree temperature increases virtually overnight. Summer scorching is not far off. In fact, in Southern California, with the warm Santa Ana winds blowing, we are experiencing temperatures over 90 degrees right now! Exercise anytime between April and November and you are going to get hot. You are going to get sweaty. If you put off your workouts, holding out for perfect conditions, you are going to lose your fitness and as triathletes, we simply don't wait. Seasonal heat cannot interfere with your exercise program any more than the cold. The key to success lies in motivation and preparation. We’ve got tips involving both.

Hydration, necessary when you engage in any physical activity, is vitally important when the weather, and your body, heat up. Fluids, particularly water, should be consumed before, while and after you exercise. The level of intake should match your level of exertion. Seems obvious, though there are many who overlook hydrating, then wonder why their performance suffers. The Human Performance Resource Center (HPRC) recommends drinking 20 fl oz up to two hours before strenuous exercise to properly balance your system. Continue to drink water and carbohydrate (sugar) and electrolyte (salt) replacing fluids through and following your workout or race. Drink in moderation. Overconsumption and under consumption can be equally detrimental. Take in small amounts frequently to maintain equilibrium and promote a balanced performance. (HRPC, “Staying hydrated during exercise”, Oct. 2013)

The equipment that accompanies your inclement or even a perfect weather workout is as important as, and will have significant bearing upon, your mental state. And there is no doubt, how you feel effects how you perform. Well, what you wear is going to effect how you feel. Nothing beats a properly fitting pair of shoes, unless of course it’s a jersey, shorts, top or cap that literally facilitates cooling. Skeptical of clothing designed to whisk moisture away from the body, our Skin Cooler apparel works with the athlete and the elements. Trademarked Skin Cooler fabric radiates wetness from perspiration and precipitation through special channels in the garment so you do not experience cumbersome, or simply uncomfortable, pockets of saturation. Moisture is distributed evenly throughout the fabric where it just waits to lend relief. The slightest breeze, even that generated by the simple movement of your body, works to cool you off. Go further, feel better.

The best gear looks as good as it works. Skin Cooler’s reflective composition means white or black, you won’t overheat. You also want to be aware t-shirts, jerseys and other tops, while protective, do not completely block harmful UV rays. If you are going to undergo prolonged exposure to the sun, and you are, safeguard your skin with some trusted sunscreen, even under your clothing. Don’t forget, slathering yourself with lotions full of chemicals is worse for your skin than the burn you’re hoping to prevent. Titanium dioxide or zinc oxide is all you want, and all you need. See below.

Prepping for the Ironman or getting in a few laps around the track, a change in the weather, for the worse or hotter, does not have to derail your training. With proper preparation, and some sporty cooling gear, as a part of your routine, you can maintain your workouts, and your sunny disposition, in the fiercest of conditions. Now go get 'em.

10 April 2014: Sunlight and Sunscreen

by CFO/Attorney/Mother/Triathlete, Tracy M. De Soto

Sunscreen, Sunscreen and more sunscreen! I see it everywhere - especially living in Southern California. Kids cannot step outside of the indoors without being slathered with chemical-induced sunscreens because the sun is evil, right? I realize I will receive some backlash from this one, but I think it's important to think about, ponder yourself for a moment or two....

In a world without sunscreen from year's past, when our ancestors lived, what did they do? Did they stay inside like hermits between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.? I doubt it because there was work that had to be done during the key hours of the day - farming, for instance demanded work during those hours, in fact, isn't that from where daylight savings came? Sure, we could say we have evolved to these conditions but actually we evolved outdoors. Sun exposure, regular sun exposure, was required then and in fact, even today our body requires it.

Now, I'm not saying go get on your bike and stay out there for seven hours without sunscreen. Of course, you could get on your bike for seven hours, or 400 miles, with our 400-mile bike short, right? But regular sunlight exposure is still important for optimal health. In fact, even newborns are now given Vitamin D drops because we are told to keep babies and all children out of the sun. Well, if we have regular limited sunlight exposure, our body produces Vitamin D, which acts more as a hormone than a vitamin and is necessary for bone mineralization, it also improves insulin sensitivity and increases fat loss, it's required for testosterone production, prevents tooth decay, boosts our immune system and reduces inflammation.

So how much sunlight is good? Well, to get the effects of what I refer to above you only need about 30 minutes a day. But Vitamin D is only made from UVB (the evil burning rays), not the UVA. So - go out for a short 30 minute run and allow yourself to basque just a bit in the sun. Sunscreen will block the UVB rays so it doesn't count with sunscreen.

Now, since most of us are in the sunlight for more than 30 minutes, first think about something to physically block the rays. Obviously when we are running, we can wear a run cap but we can also cover our arms and shoulders with Cool Wings and our legs with Leg Coolers.

But what about when we are swimming (without a wetsuit)? If it's 30 minutes, go for it! If it's more, then you will likely want to wear sunscreen. When purchasing your sunscreen, look at the "block" so to speak, in your sunscreen. What is blocking those rays? You only want sunblock that has one of two ingredients: titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. All the others: oxybenzone, oxinoxate, anything methyl.., propyl..., butyl..., ethyl..., trieth.., dieth...are all chemicals. Anything you put on your skin will be absorbed by your body. That's why we say babies under 6 months shouldn't use sunscreen and children should be using natural sunscreen (my personal favorite: Thinksport). I realize this is all unconventional, but when 70% of the population is Vitamin D deficient and we stay out of the sun to avoid cancer, it's important to consider what we slather all over our body and what may actually cause problems, instead of merely fixing them.

27 February 2014: Part 2 of 2 Nutrition Series: Carbohydrates and the Female Athlete,

by Femmebassador, Kathleen Rafaat, Sports Nutrition Counseler, Team La Jolla Multi Sports Coach.

Part 2: How to Plan Your Carbohydrate Intake

If you look at training as a cycle, triathletes usually break the year down into four distinctive cycles, beginning with the Base Cycle. This is time you are laying down your foundation to develop aerobic endurance and muscular strength. It is filled with moderate intensity and high volume. If you look at the year as a whole, your carbohydrate volume should follow your training volume. So it makes sense to match up what you consume in the hours before, during and after training with the loss of fuel that happens during your training session. Once you become fatigued, you have no choice but to slow down or stop. Let’s work on how to stop that from happening!

In a perfect world, it is best to fuel your body 3-4 hours before you train but most of us have busy lives and it is difficult to eat that early. Let’s start with 1-2 hours before a training session that lasts for 75 minutes. An example is a 140-pound female triathlete. She will need between 2.5-3g/lb. of carbs for a low intensity training = 1,400 calories of carbohydrates.

Keeping in mind that you are eating 1-2 hours before your training session, it is better to limit your intake of carbohydrates to 1 gram per pound of body weight. So the 140-pound athlete could take in a max of 140 grams of carbs. Two hours before a whole grain bagel, 1 T peanut butter, banana and endurance sports drink would give you around that amount. If closer to an hour, using a liquid carb meal or energy bar is great since it is quickly and easily digested. Choose wisely and look for organic versions with the least amount of ingredients.

During your workout, you will need to ingest around 30-40 grams per hour if training longer than 2 hours. Start drinking as soon as you begin your exercise and continue to drink at frequent intervals throughout your workout. Gels, sports drink, banana, bars, are all good and should be used during your training to see which one works best for you. Remember to check your race website to see what they use, and practice what is on the course, in case your “special” combo is lost or dropped during the race!

After your training, make sure you are replenishing energy stores at a rate of about .75 grams per pound of body weight, during the first 15-30 minutes and for the next four to six hours. That is equal to 100 grams of carbohydrates for 140-pound athlete. This way you can maximize your glycogen stores and feel great for your next day of training!

17 February 2014: Compression: What You Need to Know

by CFO/Attorney/Mother/Triathlete, Tracy M. De Soto

As athletes, we are concerned with so many things, but often one of them is how we can perform at our highest level. We are constantly looking for what will keep us comfortable, but also, what will help to get us to the finish line, while still feeling strong and healthy, or at least not in pain.

The recent trend in compression was evident when sales jumped 170 percent from 2008 to 2010. A compressive garment should increase blood flow and hence oxygen to the muscles, thus better performance, or perhaps in turn, better endurance. This isn’t limited to the sports apparel industry either. Over the past decade, we have seen a surge in “shapewear,” which women love because it holds in the unwanted bulges or creases.

While, we too, make compression socks, shorts and even tops, it is important to be mindful, especially as a woman, some of the problems associated with wearing compression in the wrong areas. This is particularly true when competing in long endurance events, like a half ironman, ironman, marathon or even half marathon.

One of the common problems is a waistband that can compress on your colon, stomach and intestines. This can be a particular problem on the bike, when we may sometimes encounter gastrointestinal issues. The intestines need to move food along, but if they become compressed, digestion is slowed and sometimes backed up.

An additional problem of compressive gear can be that it causes shallow breathing. As an athlete, we know this is the last thing a person wants. Sometimes, it’s all we can get, but oxygen is our first fuel source and we need to be able to breathe!

Because Femme is made of women designers and we test the gear out, along with our femmebassadors, we have made our compression and non-compressive gear as friendly as possible to women. Our Femme gear provides support for your stomach, while not allowing a tightening around your abdomen region to halt digestion altogether. In our 400 Mile Bike Short, we have created a mesh center panel that allows for expansion of the inner organs, while creating a body of leg and gluteal region. In our Femme Run Short, we have made a friendly Carrera band, that allows for expansion as well, and the placement of the drawcord, should you desire to use it, is lower, well below the abdomen.

An additional problem with compression gear is bacterial infections. De Soto Femme fabrics provide maximum breathability for air flow. Additionally, all of our shammies or pads, are microbial and antibacterial. This will help aid is helping to ward of bacterial or fungal infections.

One thing you can be certain of is that we are women, making clothing for women, who experience the same frustrations, annoyances, issues or celebrations as you. De Soto Femme is thinking of things that women athletes are, or at least should, be aware of. We've got your covered, literally, in the best possible way.

15 February 2014: Part 1 of 2 Nutrition Series: Carbohydrates and the Female Athlete,

by Femmebassador, Kathleen Rafaat, Sports Nutrition Counseler, Team La Jolla Multi Sports Coach.

Part 1: What is a Carbohydrate?

As a female, we have been taught to be careful, almost fearful, of carbohydrates. When you become an athlete, the fear becomes a stumbling block if you do not approach it as a way to maintain physical strength and stamina in your daily workouts and races.

Understanding carbohydrates and how to use them is one of the most important tools in your workout routine. If you are a triathlete, your workouts are based on cycles and each cycle requires a different amount and timing, of those carbohydrates. It can get complicated, but let’s look at the simple side of what carbohydrates do for your body and how you can use them to your benefit.

Carbohydrates are found in all food and are made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. There are simple carbs, or sugars, which include glucose (blood sugar), fructose (fruit sugar) and galactose. There are also two-molecule carbs that include sucrose (table sugar), lactose (milk sugar) and maltose (malt sugar). Complex carbohydrates, or starches, contain large 300 to 1,000 molecule compound and contain nothing but glucose molecules. It takes these compounds longer than simple sugars to come apart in the digestive system.

The nutritional advantages that complex carbohydrates have over simple sugars as a source of energy, derive not only from the rate at which their glucose is absorbed, but also from the amount of fiber they add to the diet and from the other nutrients present in the major sources of starch (grains, beans, tubers). However, an increasing amount of evidence indicates that distinguishing which carbohydrates are good for you is more complicated than this simple dichotomy suggests.

What is also important when differentiating between various types of carbohydrates is how rapidly a particular carbohydrate will get metabolized into sugar and impact blood sugar (glucose) levels, otherwise known as the Glycemic Index.

Part 2: See above!

6 February 2014: Why We Do What We Do

by CFO/Attorney/Mother/Triathlete, Tracy M. De Soto

After being in touch with many women endurance athletes throughout the year, we were inspired as women to fit all women endurance athletes. Don't get me wrong. We are not there yet. But we aspire.

We have found that many other apparel brands require a certain physique. A certain size. Or a certain shape. De Soto Femme decided that we wanted to be a "hard-core" triathlete brand, that cared about women of all sizes and women of all levels. We understand that everyone starts somewhere. Some of us may have always been an endurance athelte and have always been in shape. Others of us may have been that same athlete, but became pregnant or injured and needed to pull overselves back into the shape that we desired. Others may have decided to join endurance sports later in life. We, at De Soto Femme, embrace all women.

Trust that when you join our Femme Community, you will not be judged and you will not be made to feel inferior or silly. We will not tell you that the deconstruction of our apparel is due to your body structure. We may help size you, but it will be from other women. And I can promise you, that we care. We want to ignite that passion in you for endurance sports, for fitness, for health! We want to make you comfortable and allow you to not think about the clothing you're wearing. If you do, we have failed.

Please note that above, I said we are not there yet. We recognize that WE NEED YOU! We need your feedback and questions and issues to make us work harder. For you. For women. For female athletes.

27 January 2014: What is the Femme Community?

by CFO/Attorney/Mother/Triathlete, Tracy M. De Soto

After launching the Femmebassador program in 2013, I found myself connecting with our Femmebassadors, and they reaching out to me. I enjoyed the camaraderie of other women, just as they did. It's not that we can't find other women with whom to speak, share thoughts, feelings, current events and politics, but it's also comforting to be able to connect with those whom do similar sport and training. Why? Well, we, as women tend to experience some of the same pains, trials, joys or sorrows. We are all trying to find life-work balance and that balance includes trying to get in daily workouts (I know, we can't always get them in, but we certainly try!) And training for three sports certainly presents its own challenges, right?

I was inspired to start this blog because a Femmebassador informed me of the #megsmiles hashtag due to the terrible accident of a mother of three hit by a drunk driver while she was out running. Training. Just like you. Just like me. You may not be a mother but immediately, I thought of my two young sons. Motherless sons. And my heart sank and I felt physical pain for her children and her husband.

I find comfort and feel stronger knowing that women around the country and even globe rallied behind this horrific event and joined forces and went out and ran. Why? Because that's what we do. We run. And run. And run. Not from something (well, maybe occasionally) but rather to celebrate life, to support each other and to express ourselves. But this community, built of mere "strangers" is so beautiful. You see, we are not strangers. We are a community. We are strong. We are women.

To join our Femme Community and to receive special news and offers, sign up here:

For more information, email femme@desotosport.com