Work Hard, Blot: Lipstick And The Fifth-Fastest Indoor Mile Ever

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Dammit people, put down the fatty and pay attention to women's middle distance track. U.S. women are killing it on a global scale. Take Shannon Rowbury, above: Already a two-time Olympian and lotta-time World Championship finalist, she broke from the gate this year and laid down a 4:22.66 mile at the Camel City Elite Meet on January 31st. (It was the Mellow Mile at the Camel City meet in Winston-Salem, NC. Does anyone find it at all weird that a track meet is apparently sponsored by a tobacco company? No? Must just be me then.) That makes Rowbury the fifth fastest woman in the world, ever, in the indoor mile. And if you work some Eastern-Bloc Photoshop disappearing magic on the dopers on that list, you end up with Rowbury right at the top. Numero uno.

Rowbury trains with Alberto Salazar and the Nike Oregon Project, known for their innovative training techniques, and here we have another example of that leave-no-stone-unturned philosophy. Everyone knows, racing is at least 50 percent mental: confidence, preparedness, taking care of the details, look good/feel good. Well, leave it to NOP to connect all the dots—boom—and match lip color to racing flats! Brilliant! Of course, bold lip color has been used to good effect in other arenas, as have flashy flats, but to pair them? That's genius.

Lip color in track and field has traditionally been muted, mauves and the like. Gloss tends to run (ha) when you sweat, and lip liner with a powder finish simply can't stand up to a back-of-the-hand, get-that-spit-off-my-face swipe. Some runners even contend that old-school matte lipsticks create unwanted wind resistance and inhibit full oxygen uptake. Undoubtedly, Rowbury, et al. have been tinkering with shades and finishes and delivery systems: pinks=happy, energetic; corals=can read as frivolous, not serious; gloss=impatient, will go out too fast; creme=too timid, can't close; matte=POWerful; pencil=stays in its lane; brush=patient but no kick; lipstick=fast and consistent. The results are obvious.


Two weeks after Camel City, Rowbury won the Wanamaker Mile at the Millrose Games in 4:24.32, again rocking the eye-catching lip color/racing kicks combo. Read her lips: fast times, World Championships, Olympics, not even eyeliner is out of the question.

Photo: AP Images