It isn’t always easy but it’s always worth it

It isn't always easy but it's always worth it

I didn’t feel like running today. It was one of those “haul your butt out of the car and get moving at whatever pace your legs will take you kind of days.”

After a week of being sick, I have been chomping at the bit to workout – and with the gorgeous sunny fall weather, outdoors. But for some reason, when time came to put stroller rubber to road, the enthusiasm waned.

It wasn’t the best run, but it’s done and I feel just awesome having finished it.

What do you tell yourself to get through a tough workout and is it always worth it in the end?

Stroller at the Sun Run, Race Report, 2013

Stroller at the Sun Run, Race Report, 2013

I know, I know! Another race report. Last one for a while, promise.

I hadn’t planned on running the Sun Run with a stroller. I did it last year and I swore, “Never again.” It took me over an hour to get to the start line with a cranky baby in hand and a full bladder in tow. The rest of the run was spent swerving, dodging and spending every ounce of energy with the focus of a Jedi Warrior to not run anyone over.

Ama was a little bummed that she couldn’t run the Boston Marathon with me and as my constant training companion, she deserves to enjoy the events just as much as I do.

Saturday was my first day back post Boston. 5k easy. OK, not easy. The quad in my good leg (of all legs) seized up on me 3k in and I had to hobble/walk back. Luckily, my wonderful friend Yun was there to push the stroller and I back home.

I showed up race day planning on walking it, stroller and all.

In a show of support for Boston, all those participating in the Sun Run who were at the marathon were invited on stage to join in a moment of silence to a beautifully played trumpet solo. And after it, we were led, along with the big ticket runners, to the starting line.

They saw the stroller and hmmm’d. I don’t know what John said but something about me being courteous and the world record holder for female stroller push… they let me in and told me to stay out of the way. I of course understood why they wouldn’t want me in front, nothing would grate at my soul more than getting in another runner’s route to a PB.

Luckily I am used to running in tight fast moving packs with a stroller and instead of running for speed (which was not happening anyway), I ran to stay out of the way and send love to the fasties blasting past me like I was the hobbled stroller mama I was.

Ama and I had a great time. I was so happy to have her along to enjoy the moment.

Never has there been a race quite like this one was for me. Seeing the sea of blue and yellow ahead, being out there, running again. Running again with others like me. Those that had felt the pain in Boston. Those whose hearts still ached.

The spectators were louder than ever before, the air fresher, the people happier.

I felt that we were all out there running for the sheer love of it. I know Ama and I were.

Several people in our club got PBs that day. One even lopped 3 minutes off of her time despite being almost 10 years older.

Ama and I ran 46 minutes. No where near my fastest 10k time.

Like most of my best races, it wasn’t the time that mattered. That makes two of the best races in my life in one week. Both injured, uncomfortable and slow… but I was loving every minute.

I am reminded of some wise words I heard recently, “Life is too ironic. It takes sadness to know what happiness is, noise to appreciate silence, and absence to value presence.”

Not that I wouldn’t appreciate running injury free, but I’ll appreciate a run how ever I can get it.

Chicked, chicking, chick.

This morning, I toed up toward the line of the 5k Resolution Run, leaving one row of runners between me and the start line. One row of male runners. As I judged whether I should press into the very front, I got some “don’t be getting in the way now” glances. Every runner knows this seeding game. At the 8k in Victoria, I played elbow leap frog with a guy sized and dressed like Rocky (who clearly won). As soon as the crowd opened, I never saw him again. This time, I stayed back… and as the gun went off, the pace didn’t, so I hopped into the grass and passed. 7th, 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd. 1st was a slender youth Japanese man in sleek kit. As I passed his head spun around at me in horror. This was not a guy to be chicked. Apparently my appearance caused some ferocious internal combustion type reaction. He took off effortlessly and instantaneously at a 5 minute-mile pace. To which I did not follow. No matter, the fear of woman was in his heart. He opened up the gap further and further. 100m, 200m, 400m. Every 50m, shoulder checking to make sure that I did not go with him. I couldn’t run that fast for 100m, forget 5,000m. As he got smaller and smaller in the distance, I could still see his now tiny head whip around from time to time. Was it something I said?

The Urban Dictionary defines “chicking” as “when a woman outperforms a man in a physical activity such as hiking, biking, or skiing, where a man should normally outperform a woman.” It’s common in running and cycling too. Pam Reed chicked every man in the prestigious Bad Water two years in a row (2002 & 2003). We running mamas all know the sweet silent mini-victory of the stroller-chick. I was once refused entry to a race with my stroller not for insurance issues, but to protect the fragile egos of men running for their PBs. The race director worried: How is one to feel about hitting their goal time – but being passed by a stroller, being pushed by a lady, in a skort? Oh the horror. At the end of one of my better races (with my daughter in tow), the man behind me exclaimed at the finish, “I just got beat. By a lady. Who just had a baby. Who was pushing that baby in a stroller.” He seemed genuinely as happy about my stroller-chicking as I did, even though he got chicked.

We know we shouldn’t be so competitive. But… It’s only really chicking if it bugs the guy you’re passing. Otherwise, it’s just a pass. And if it bugs him… Well… Maybe that’s the game?

What do you think? Is chicking an offensive term that perpetuates inequality in sport? Or a little harmless fun between genders competing on the same level? Do you even notice when you pass a guy in a race or when a woman passes you? How about if it’s your spouse?