The following blog is part race review (Pretty Muddy), part description of a perspective shift I’ve had. Lets start with some back ground.
While I am female, I’ve never been a member of the “sisters unite” mentality. Honestly, I’ve had a habit of judging other women very harshly. Part nature, part nurture, (I’m in the service and I’m a criminal defense attorney. Anyone who says those are not male dominated worlds is deluded.) I have long been guilty of looking at the female sex as generally emotionally squishy and annoying. Phrases I’ve uttered include “there’s no crying in [insert any public situation] and “a hello kitty lunchbox, really?” (Now mind you, that was carried by a uniformed service member into our all hands meeting – I stand by that one….I just probably shouldn’t be SO annoyed by it.)
(Yeah, I think I’m a bada@@)
So there’s my starting point.
Then a while back my life fell apart (or what felt like it). Though I had very few of them, my female friends were unquestionably there for me, but I still didn’t get it. I still had a very sexist view of my own sex.
To help with said bitch smack from life, I started racing. Then I started obstacle course racing. I LOVE OBSTACLE COURSE RACING. I’m pretty much obsessed. I started meeting some of the coolest people I’ve ever met….including some of the coolest damn women in the world. Alas, I still didn’t get it. I looked at these cool women as anomalies.
Then I ran Pretty Muddy. This is a women’s only 5k mud race. It is designed to be great for first timers with some physical challenge. I agreed to run it when one of above mentioned cool chicks asked myself and another two of the above mentioned cool chicks to spread our teams reputation.
I was skeptical. I was expecting to be annoyed. I was wrong. Once again OCRs brought major change to my life.
My group had twelve ladies in it, about half of whom had never done an OCR. We agreed to complete this together…..start to finish. (The only way Corn Fed Spartans run group heats, and one of the major reasons I run with these crazy people, BTW) As we were waiting for start time we had several conversations about things 1) I’ve had to deal with and 2) never thought to discuss because I confine myself to the company of men. [yes, boys we discussed our periods and how many bras to wear to hide your nipples in a cold race]
Then we did the race. The course was fun and doable. For someone who does this a lot it was not physically hard but for a newbie it was just enough to give you a good taste and show you where to focus on your next race. Obstacles included a foam chute, high cargo nets, and wall climbs with supports. The only complaint I had was the mud sucked. It was wet and goopy (awesome) but what was with the rocks? It was FULL of pebbles. Get rid of the rocks in the mud and we’re cool. The volunteers rocked, the atmosphere was a blast, and even the changing areas were top notch. I will note that having signs on the course mentioning hot showers and then only having cold hoses was a big tease. 😉 This was a fun, relaxed race that I would recommend to any rookie or vet looking for some fun. I will do it again, no question. Oh! Almost forgot. This year we got bling. Nice. Though next year, t shirts would be good – for us and Pretty Muddy. It’s one way we spread the word!
So I loved the course and I had fun. Both good things. But the best part was my perspective shift. There were stages of the race that found me singing “I feel pretty”, skipping, or talking about wedgies. There were also times where I was challenged, by another female, to carry more then required, yelled at to climb stuff that scared me, and group hugging a gal when she got herself over an obstacle she never thought she could do. Let me take this time to give a shout out to those eleven women – bet you didn’t know you were going to cause an ephiany. You all are awesome!
Women rock. We are different for a reason. And while you’re never going to catch me singing “Hear me Roar”, Pretty Muddy finally got something through to me – We do not have to be masculine or hide our feminine side. Women are tough, beautiful and a crap ton of fun. I am thrilled that I get to race next to them and blessed that I’m finally smart enough to see that I’m blessed to have many women I can call friends.
Just don’t carry a Hello Kitty lunch box while in uniform.