5 Things Lady Gaga Taught Me About Running

Ladi Gaga standing with me on the road.

Despite all that unsightly flab poking out over her waistband, by overwhelming consensus Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl halftime performance was AH-MA-ZING, a feather in the spangled lucite pointy cap on top of her decade-long career. Stefani Germanotta has entertained us with strong, powerful lyrics, excellent dance beats,  mesmerizing and thought-provoking costumes, all while standing up for the LGBTQ community and sexual assault survivors. Beyond that, though, she’s taught me several things about running too!

1. No body is perfect.

No runner’s, no model’s, no Gaga’s. One of the first posts that I ever remember reading on Salty Running was Clove’s Salty Challenge: to love your body for what it does rather than what it looks like. Not only did she challenge us to do that, she challenged us, no matter what we looked like, to run shirtless!

When it comes to showing my belly, I admit the thought makes me wince. I fixate on that bit of belly fat I can never seem to get rid of. It’s proof of my imperfection, a sign of my weakness, failure.

But Gaga is imperfect too and not only is she imperfect, she flaunts her imperfection. If anyone is obsessively fixated on the details of her costume it’s Gaga, yet on the stage her layer of belly fat pooched out over her waistband ever so conspicuously. She stands with us, the imperfect humans that we are. I see it as a challenge to embrace my imperfections, whether my belly, or any part of me. I will intentionally rock my beautifully flawed runner bod and be proud of it for allowing me to do what I love.

If you can believe it, there is so much more Mother Monster has taught me.

2. Baby, we’re born this way.

As women athletes most of us will feel at least a little out of place in our non-running lives. There have been so many times over the years I’ve tried to appease the non-runners in my life. I downplayed how much I run, how many races I’ve finished, and how well I’ve performed. I’ve been told I’m weird, unladylike, crazy, stupid, or selfish for wanting to run marathons and ultras. But I was born healthy, strong, and ambitious. If someone doesn’t like it, that’s his problem.

3. Running is for everyone.

You don’t look like a runner.” Who’s heard that one before? Runners come in all shapes and sizes from all over the world, from different religions, genders and identities. Running is a sport for anyone who wants to be a runner. And just like all the other little monsters I’ve met, runners welcome anyone.

4. Whether I have a great race or a shitty one, I am the same person inside.

You might have heard Gaga say this about wearing makeup versus not wearing makeup, but the concept applies to us as runners. Our value as people is not determined by our appearance, our sexuality, our race times, or our abilities. It’s determined by us. We decide! And even during the worst races, even if I give in to the voices telling me to quit or walk or slow down or that I suck, I am the same me who crushed all those workouts on my way to the race and felt like a boss.

5. Passion is a seed.

Long before her first platinum record or sold out show, Gaga knew she had potential for greatness. But she also knew, and this might be even more important, that potential alone is not enough. She knew she had to work her tail off consistently for many years while staring down rejection and failure. She took a long game approach to achieving her big dream goals and thanks to her influence, I do too.

Are you a Lady Gaga fan? 

Trail and 100 mile ultra runner who still loves a good road marathon every now and then. Lifetime Northeast Ohio resident that dreams of the mountains out west, but loves CLE too much. Sometimes a vegan, sometimes does yoga, always loves a good craft beer and post race donuts.

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  1. Love it! Next time I get snarky or “well meaning” (lol) comments about my running I’ll just launch into Born This Way.

  2. Delightfully refreshing and empowering! Thank you for writing about this. The more we speak out, the more we will shift the unrealistic, and unimportant, expectations. Gaga is my hero!

  3. Love it! I think Gaga totally rocked it. I hated that everyone fixated on her belly fat. It looked like skin to me?! She made me as a woman feel more powerful! Plus, her music is great for running 🙂

  4. I’ve never been an “OMG GAGA” fan, but with that said I do like a lot of her songs for working out or when I’m in an impromptu dance party mood. I Thought her performance at the superbowl was really well done- and definitely won’t complain about her being an activist for women, minorities and many other things. It’s great to see someone with so much influence using it for a bigger purpose than just her own fame/music!