So with my next race looming on the horizon, I take the necessary turn into taper-ville. I was also sick earlier last week so I didn’t run much at all. Let’s blow past through the training (ahem, the two runs I DID do), and talk about something else that I’ve wanted to write about for a while.
Monday – Wednesday
Sick. Didn’t run or do much of anything.
Thursday – 6 mile Tempo Run
1 mile warm up and cool down, with 4 miles in the low 8:00/m range. I felt good and I was pleased.
Friday – Strength
Saturday – 9.1 mile Long Run
Average pace of 9:38/mile, fast finish the last two miles (8:26, then 9:00 because I was running through downtown and had to stop at lights).I started out kind of cranky, but I eventually pulled my head of my ass and had a good run.
Sunday – Walking
My Mom and I traveled a little bit out of the city for the afternoon to visit the Leighton Art Centre. We wandered the grounds surrounding it and it made for a beautiful fall day.
Back when my hip was being a troublemaker and I wasn’t running much and my confidence in this race was shrinking, my mom had sent me an article about Diana Nyad when she completed her swim as the first person to cross the channel between Cuba and Florida without the aid of the shark cage. Being injured yet still determined to heal and not give up on my marathon goals, I needed to keep inspired and dreaming.
This story is inspiring not only because of the great feat she achieved, but of the fact that she tried multiple times and failed and yet did not give up. She told a reporter for the NY Times:
“The Cuba swim is the greatest endurance feat in human history, but if anyone can do it, I can”
And you know what? She did. At 62. After failing four times and braving jelly fish and sharks. If that doesn’t show dedication and determination, I don’t know what does.
I know that personally I get discouraged if I don’t achieve my goals, and spiral into the negative mental talk of “ohhh I can’t do it why do I bother trying blahblahblah” (cry me a river).
The majority of us are not natural athletes or runners. Some have a bit more natural skill than others, but it’s the Diana Nyad drive inside that will bring us to, and past, our goals.
“I’ve never wanted anything so badly, and I’ve never tried so hard.”
– after failing to swim between the Bahamas to Florida at age 28 due to a storm
With that kind of mind set you will never be too old/too female/too whatever to be the best possible version of yourself. Make it happen.
The true, raw grit that this (and other sports) required is not something viewed as traditionally “feminine” in our society. Even the strong girls in Nike ads with ample and muscular glutes and thighs are still shown as flawless beings and are not an exact representation of all athletic women out there.
What they don’t show is the chafing (that sometimes occurs in the most awkward of spots) from running a marathon. The salt encrusted skin from sweating. The jellyfish stings and swollen lips from open water swimming. The sock and short tan lines. The blisters. Doing incredible things isn’t always “pretty”, and why do we feel like we owe it to society to be pretty anyways? Life isn’t pretty. It’s tough and messy, and if women weren’t able to “handle” the tough and messy, we wouldn’t have the reproductive systems that we have (am I right?). Yet apparently we have not moved past the point where we don’t believe women should do something as ghastly as sweat and poop.
While digesting all this food for thought, I considered my own role in society as a female runner, and what that means for my own identity. And I’ve come up with this:
I love the sport. I love riding on the edge of pushing too hard and just hard enough, and knowing I have the ability to come back from it. I have scabs, scars, tattoos and callouses. I am not a porcelain doll, meant to look youthful and virginal, holding onto vanity and purity tightly yet delicately (because women are not meant to exert force) for the rest of my life. Because why? Pictures can fade or be lost, but memories and experiences and the glory of achieving your goals no matter how un-pretty it gets will stay with you forever.
I want to help pave the way for women to feel that they can be human without judgement. And to help society understand, accept, and embrace it.
And that concludes my feminist rant for today! Thanks for listening and happy running! 🙂