Mmmmm. This feels nice. I’m chillin’ in my hotel suite with Chief Bird Sally Bergesen and her two daughters Iris and Isabel. Jude is asleep in the closet. Two years after becoming friends, we’ve traveled across the country to take another big step on my return to competitive racing, and Sally and the girls are getting in some bonus adventure time. I am one seriously lucky girl with this support crew. Count ‘em, that’s six extra hands to carry Jude around NYC while I relax and get my pre-race ducks in a row.
I was just at the technical meeting for the Oakley New York Mini 10k race. All the pro runners were in attendance, getting the scoop on the what, where, when, and how. Some takeaways:
- I have to be up, eaten, dressed up and ready to race by 5am BOT (Bend, Oregon Time). No probs. I’m a mama.
- We will be escorted everywhere and looked after like princesses. Ok fine I guess I can handle it.
- The course is challenging with lots of turns and rollers. Boom, give me some tangents!
- Afterwards there will be brunch. And I’ll be eating it.
Click this photo to read the story from the WSJ about this historic first women’s race.
It dawned on me while we were discussing the timing system on our bib numbers that the room was full of incredible women. And there were no men. Because there were no men in the race. Because it was a women’s only race. I knew this before I showed up, of course, but there was something that felt different about being in that room full of only women. It was awesome.
As an elite woman runner, the top men are always faster than you. That’s just how it is. I’m at peace with it. Mostly. And I love sharing the road, the start line, the press, and the experience with men. It makes me feel equal, and unified as a running community. Plus dudes are cool. But, full of women, the room had a vibration about it, and words flowed more freely among peers. It was just different somehow, and it was a nice treat.
Tomorrow I will be a part of history, along with about 7000 other women. Forty-two years ago the Mini was kicked off by 78 women, rebels basically, who ran before running was cool. That race was the first all-women’s road race in the world. I now think about these women the way high-school-me used to think about the hippies in the 60′s: a part of me desperately wished I had been born then instead. In high school and college, I didn’t think about women very much. I didn’t think about our history. I just knew my life was pretty awesome and there was suffrage and all that. Now that I have fought passionately for things during my own life, I know how hard it is to create change. Now, these female athlete pioneers are my heroes.
All of us pro runners will lead the way tomorrow through Central Park, running in the footsteps of past champions Deena Kastor, Tegla Loroupe, Lornah Kiplagat, and Paula Radcliffe to name a few of my faves. And afterwards there will be awards honoring the top 3 Americans and top 3 Overall. If you are participating, or live locally, I welcome you to join me in celebrating these women! Some of them are rebels in their own countries even today, just by being female athletes. There will be autographs and pictures, and salty hugs I’m sure.
Training has been going well and I may be able to hit a PR in the 10k on the roads if all goes well. My old PR is 33:45 on a flat course, and this is hilly, but I still think it’s possible. For perspective on the field, this race is often won in 31-something so I could be having a great race even if I’m not in the lead pack. I’ve had a lot of problems with my old friend the stomach cramp the past few months, but otherwise my workouts have been strong and I’ve developed some good breathing techniques with Grant at Rebound to help manage cramps when they strike. I’m really not nervous, or stressed, or anything. I’m ready to go be with my women and have some fun! Looking forward to seeing some fan tees out there on the course! Good luck to everyone participating!
Special shout out to my buddy and Picky Bars cohort Stephanie Rothstein Bruce, who has raced very well for the USA at the Mini, and who will be having her baby ANY DAY!!! Thanks Steph for encouraging me to do this amazing event! Hopefully we can race it together next year! xo