Friday, January 20, 2017

Women Run the World ...

... a.k.a. Second Tuesdays at Skirt Sports. 

On the second Tuesday of every month, Skirt Sports hosts an event at their Boulder store. The events start out with a quick workout and then include (usually) three speakers. Nicole DeBoom has arranged some amazing people to talk - we've heard from Erin Carson (owner of RallySport Boulder and personal trainer to many pro triathletes), Justin from Justin's Nut Butter, the owner of Bhakti Chai, running coaches, etc. 

I've been to almost all of the talks, but something about the speakers at January's event just spoke to me. 

The first speaker was Tricia Downing. Trish was a teacher and a high-level cyclist working on breaking into the pro ranks when she was struck by a car and paralyzed. She ended up becoming one of the pioneers of women's wheelchair triathlon. Her message for the night was comparison is a killer. Don't play the comparison game with other people; all it will do is make you upset, depressed, and feel terrible about yourself. You need to remember to ride your own race.

This message resonated with me for many reasons. If you look at the ol' race results, you can tell that I'm basically an average to below-average triathlete. I compete, sure, but it is extremely rare that I'm competing for a podium spot. I'm friends with and know so many amazing triathletes (and regular athletes) that it's hard to not compare myself to them.

Then I remember ... on one of my long swims last year during IM training, a girl in the pool thought I was a competitive swimmer. Me! And our good friend Norm (he of the "third in his AG at the BAA 5K and then requalifies while "smelling the roses" at Boston" fame) is awed at what B and I do in terms of Ironman. Because to him, that's amazing.

Tricia was also selling her book, Cycle of Hope, which I bought and then subsequently read. It's a quick read and a good story, detailing the accident, trying to come to terms with her disability, and then becoming an athlete once again.

The second speaker was Samm Grace, a kidney transplant survivor and mom. Nicole met Samm in store and learned her story and had to have Samm talk. Her message is one that I tell myself all the time, but it's always worth hearing from others - we are enough. We have befores (before Ironman. before marriage. before kids. etc.) and we have afters (after all those things), but where we are right now is more than enough. 

For me right now, this is good to get drilled into my head some more, as I try to regain my run. I was a speedy-ish runner several years ago. I haven't been in a really long time. I know what I can be and often get frustrated about not being able to get back to that point. I have to remember that where I am right now is okay, and enough. 

The final speaker was Sara Vaughn, an Olympic Trials qualifier in the mile, mom of three, and real estate agent. I've listened to a bit of Sara before on Nicole's podcast, but I loved her realness. Her message was balance. We (particularly women) get a lot of articles thrown our way about balance and how we can have it all - job, family, killer sex life, blahblahblah. Sara's message was that yes, we can, but balancing it all equally? Is bullshit. If you shift your priorities consciously (in her case, putting her realtor career and in many ways, her family on the back burner so as to be able to focus on running for the Trials), you can succeed. Compartmentalize when necessary - when you're working out, be 100% focused on working out. Don't be thinking about your family, or work, or whatever. If you're with your family, be WITH your family.

I think that if we (well, we women mostly, but the royal we as well) want to have it all, we should be able to try. I also think that if we want to maybe only have a few things, we can do that. Sara's message of being able to do them all perfectly as bullshit, though, I completely agree with. 

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L to R - Samm, Sara, Tricia, Nicole.

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