Every year I get really excited for Nationals XC. Running in the Women’s Open presents a major challenge. First- I have to swallow the fact that compared to the talent that I will line up against that I super star suck. It’s a great opportunity to take yourself completely out of your bubble and POP it in a frenzy of foaming saliva and trembling knees. Second- I am actually good at cross country although you wouldn’t notice that by my standings in the Women’s Open, tis true. See one has to naively believe this of one’s self to be so crazy as to go fly out to the tundra to line up against Molly Huddle and Kim Conley etc etc. Oh sure those gals will be in their sweats sipping hot chocolate chomping down their fifth marshmallow by the time I cross the line gasping and sputtering for life, BUT this doesn’t change the fact that XC is one of my skills.
Hold on, I distracted myself with marshmallows. Where was I? Oh yes, third. Third, I get to be a part of something BIG. Alright to the average gal it might not feel BIG to stand out in the cold watching a bunch of skinny half dressed crazies run over the choppy grass spraying snot and rasping for sweet relief, but IF YOU are a runner, it’s just AWESOME! This is my SuperBowl.
For the past two years, I have finished 42nd place at Nationals XC. Last year, I finished lactic loaded and blind puttering off to hide behind a trailer parked so that the girls that were chatting round the finish corral would not hear my suction cries of a baby runner reborn. I needed more than a moment to collect. I heard Rusty and Mike searching for me, “Where’d she go…”
Just here boys- um, just, um, OUCH. OH it’s fun. However, to get to run with the girls that will kick my ass, I must first run with the boys that kick my ass. In other words, my ass…must be kicked…many, many times. Alright, I’ve been in full training for XC for two weeks. Rusty said that to line up with the Women’s Open really one needs 8 months. The race is in three weeks. So let’s see, math skills be damned, I’m thinking- again I am trying to pull magic out of my ass. Ass? Yes, I’m gonna keep bringing up my ass. Click away if you don’t like it.
I took my full and glorious CIM recovery and here am I- wondering what happened to quick turn over. No, no, I’m not really wondering. I know where it went. However, I did recover from CIM. [APPLAUSE!]
Grass. I have been getting to know it for a year. I meet the boy, yes one, for a few early morning grass sessions. It’s hard as Hell- but way better than years before off nothing but recovery. Now let’s add some players. A Saturday workout takes us through a fast tempo and into wood chip repeats. I push hard into the chips and find I’m bobbing about just fine. Ya get high right before you get hung over right?
Back to the grass with a pack of boys. It’s a great pleasure to watch the SBRR men’s master team (they were National Champs last year!) train. However, I get spanked. No, not literally, but yes figuratively over and over and this includes by Nash. If you don’t know- Nash is 63 years old. I have heard him being called a mutant. I’m in awe- over and over again. I am trying my hardest! Why is the old man kicking my ass!? I want to suck the fountain of youth boobie that he’s milking. Wait, scratch that- I just want it served to me in a Latte.
A huge workout left me looping grass continuously getting clocked in the head by the same tree branch- DUH- however; trail Nash I did, tie Nash I did, beat Nash- I did not.
Forget about the rest of the boys! They were off setting about sipping recovery time like ritas in the sun by the time my rump crossed frost drawn lines in the green. Testosterone! Damn it! Or not. There is a something awesome about watching men train and jab- they insult, they slander, they punish and then they all chuckle and MOVE ON. Ladies- we don’t do this! We chitter, we chatter, we compliment, and then we stab. Tell me I’m not true?
Even as a kid, I loved running with boys. Playground games, neighborhood bike adventures, secret rope swings….boys, boys, boys. Not so much for the love of testosterone, but for the love of spit fire adventure. Yes, I was the 8 year old girl in red converse high tops with her hair shorn wearing jams. No, I was never a lesbian although KD Lang was my favorite artist when I was 14. Yes, my parents were ecstatic when I acquired my first boyfriend at the age of 18. Thanks Travis.
But at the end of the day, I always feel like a girl. Usually this is great. Sometimes, it isn’t. AHMUYGAWD that’s so girl like. I ran a perfectly fine tempo today and headed over happily with the boys to a dirt track in the sun to get reminded just how female I actually am. I LIKE PINK! I LOVE GETTING MY HAIR DONE! I PAINT MY TOES! BUT I WANT TO KEEP UP- just slightly.
Ah well. They are the hunters right? I’m the gatherer? Back here in the dirt track gathering up their dust? Yep. Yep. Yep. Makes me love it even more.