Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Fast Women

Speed kills. At least it felt that way. I was having some type of out-of-body experience involving quad-lock at the end of each mile interval on the bike this morning.

One of my tri-friends, M&M, invited me to join her brick workout this morning. I was really more security detail in the dark than training partner. M&M is further down the path than I. She has a coach and a sweet Cervelo tri-rocket of a bike. On our mile repeats, I considered it a victory if I could keep visual contact around the curves of the "picnic loop" and if I could catch her before she was 1/3 done with her recovery lap.

All I could do was watch and admire the watts. But that's OK. She was strong and motivated me to get stronger.

Afterwards, the run was an easy 6 miles in zone 2, much more to my comfort level. All in all a five star morning recess. Until . . .

As we finish up the 6 miles, some old guy on the path tries to pick up the pace because he sees M&M and doesn't want to get beaten by a "girl." We, of course, could have dropped "old guy" like a bad habit if we cared. Even without caring, just running our "horse to the barn" tempo for the end of run, old guy faded quickly.

Old guy, you probably won't even read this, but you are seriously missing out. This morning, you lost the opportunity to admire the grace and athleticism of a fellow human being, all because you did not want to be beaten by a "girl," actually at 38 year old woman who has made herself into quite an athlete. Old guy, if you quit thinking with your chorizo, you will see there is a whole world of women athletes out there, both professional and age-grouper, who are way more interesting than their male counterparts.

David Carr never had society criticizing him for wanting to be the team captain or the quarterback. On the contrary, he doubtless received encouragement from numerous sources. The same cannot be said for Deena Kastor, Suzy Favor Hamilton, Mel McQuaid, Jessie Stensland, Sarah Bowman, (the freshman phenom pictured above) or even my Coach T. Each of these "girls", at one point or another, was jeered or pushed or shunned for being faster than the boys and wanting to stand out. They chose to stand out anyway.

Watch and admire, old guy. Fast women are really good-- good people and great athletes. Watch, admire and learn.

1 comment:

Cy said...

I think you're being too harsh on him. My natural reaction would also be to try and catch up. And if I couldn't--well, more power to her, but what is wrong with being competitive? (It's true that there is an element of chauvinism in the notion that a man should be able to beat someone just because she is a woman, but there is a grain of truth in it as well. On the average, men are stronger than women. On the individual level, particularly when training comes into the picture, there is a lot of variance and of course there are many women who can beat many men.) But in any case, trying to compete with someone is not the same as jeering them or shunning them, and you are extrapolating far too much from the man's actions. Why don't you give him the benefit of the doubt?