Yesterday I took first in my age group at a 10K snow shoe race, and first woman in the combined event snow-shoe & fat tire bike race. When I tell you that I took first because I was the only woman in my age group and only woman to do the combined event it does not take away from the accomplishment and award. I am so proud to have had the courage to show up and take on the challenge. I’m not fast, skilled, or even equipped for that matter. I had the guts to be there, and I got an award for that.
I want to see more women do this. Set aside your fears, your doubts, your perceived limits and just show up. Please. Give the women who do show up a race. Learn from them. Cheer for them. You will be them.
I signed up for this event on Thursday, two days before the event. I’ve never hiked in my snow-shoes, yet alone run in them. I took my big, clunky snow-shoes to a soccer field and tried running in them that night. I did a 16 minute mile. I thought that was reasonable considering my lack of training and experience in snow-shoeing.
When John and I got to the race site on Saturday morning I saw a guy with a bucket of nicer looking, thinner, probably lighter weight snow-shoes. I stopped by his booth and asked how much rentals are. He said they’re demos and promptly handed over a pair writing down my bib number on a clipboard. That was mighty convenient.
The 5K and 10K snow-shoe racers started at the same time, so I wasn’t sure at that point who else might be my competition. I knew the female turnout was low, so I made a point to push myself and leave the comfort zone. It was tough. My calves did not like snow-shoeing! I maintained a 12 minute mile with a mostly run, but walk when icy method. The finish line was anti-climatic, with no one there but the timer crew and my spouse.
After the snow-shoe race we went into the venue building where they did awards. I was not anticipating an award for my 12 minute mile 10K, but they called my name. First in age group, because I was the only one to show up. I’ll proudly take it!
Then the fat tire bike race started. I was surprised at how hard this was for me. Other racers zoomed out of sight. I was winded, the hills made my quads quiver, and I realized that I forgot to fuel in between races. It was a challenging, yet beautiful course. The long course was to be 3-4 laps, depending on how fast you are. I didn’t make the cut off for the fourth lap.
Once finished, I went back into the venue building to see if I was a contender for the combined event awards. Sure enough, he called my name, I got a “first” plaque and a pair of snow-shoes. The light weight kind that I raced in! Perfect!
If you’re still reading, I repeat, please show up to events. Write down your fears and reasons why you think you can’t, and then find a way. Come up with a solution. If you can’t, send that list to me. I want to help, and I want to see you at an endurance event.