Superbowl XLIX was about as good as it gets. The Patriots beat the Seahawks 28 to 24 in a crazy, frantic, anything-can-happen game with just seconds left on the clock. Katie Perry, Lenny Kravitz and Missy Eliot pumped up the crowd during an energizing halftime show. And, the TV commercials were so good, even the biggest, baddest football fans found themselves misty-eyed.

The ad that resonated most in the running community was the #LikeAGirl spot by Always. The commercial starts by asking some young adults to run like a girl. They flail around awkwardly, fix their hair, and generally make fun of the idea. Later in the video, the same question is answered by a group of young girls. They all show fierce determination and run like track stars.

A girl’s confidence plummets during puberty for a lot of reasons. They discover they have imperfections, they compare themselves to what popular culture tells them they should be, and they begin to wish they were different. It’s enough to break your heart.

As a father, I was moved to hug my daughter and tell her that she’s strong and capable, and that she should never give up or give in to those stereotypes or the people who spread them. We talked about some running heroes like Joan Benoit, Shalane Flanagan, Kara Goucher, Amy Hastings, and Mary Cain. I admitted I wasn’t nearly as fast or as tough as any of them. I wish I could run like a girl.

Make sure the message you’re sending is the right one. It doesn’t matter if you’re a boy or a girl, always run as fast as you can. There are no boundaries, no limits, and no excuses when anything is possible.

Thoughts?