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April 6, 2006

You Go Girls!

Perhaps it's old-fashioned, but I've always had this notion that female marathon runners are more admirable than male runners, because they frequently have to overcome more challenges just to participate. It just seems like the women I train with need to juggle their multiple responsibilities much more than the guys do, just to make it to workouts.

Truth be told, I've never known a dedicated female runner that I didn't hold in very high regard. So I wrote a Monterey Herald article last week trying to express these sentiments, to give the women their due appreciation.

Then my wife read the article, and the first thing she said was, "It's very condescending." Which totally took me by surprise, because it was the exact opposite response I was going for. Considering it now, I guess I see what she's saying, but I'm not positive that I agree with her on this one. Although if past history is any indication, she's probably right.

So there are two possible explanations here. The first is that I missed the mark in expressing my point. If that's the case, and if someone is offended, that wasn't my intention and I apologize.

The other possibility is that I just don't understand women. If that's true, and if the fact that I have a mother, a sister, a wife, and two daughters apparently hasn't helped me yet...then perhaps I never will.

Anyhow, you can read the article here and let me know if I'm way off base.


olga 4/6/06, 10:52 AM  

You go, Donald!! Thanks, I do appreciate it. And yes, beating guys in a race after juggling lots of things during training and on top of been a female (a weaker human) is very satisfying:)

Anne 4/6/06, 1:05 PM  

I think your intent is clear, that you're recognizing female marathoners for their accomplishments, which frequently include overcoming additional obstacles (and physiological differences when all other things are equal, yes?). Maybe you wife didn't like you admitting you wouldn't mind looking at less hairy backsides...:-)

stronger 4/6/06, 2:18 PM  

I didn't pick up on the condescending and you even seemed guarded on how you were wording what you were trying to say as to not offend. I'd say the 15 min. head-start didn't do any justice to battle of the sexes. Surprising the dead last finisher with $100k- now that would be a publicity stunt.

susie 4/6/06, 2:26 PM  

I see your wife's point; it would be cool not to have to have "reasons" women are doing well. I'd like to imagine that men and women could, in fact, run a race together and have equal opportunity to win. But we are different, aren't we? And, generally, men are faster.And yeah, it is harder for most women to work in training, so thanks for that:) Your points are well intended!

backofpack 4/6/06, 3:10 PM  

I didn't find it condescending - I appreciate the fact that you recognized that it is often easier for men to get out the door to train than it is for women. Especially women with children in the house. Plus, I can't tell you how many awesome women runners I know that have interrupted their fitness levels to have a baby, struggle to come back, then interrupt again for baby number two or three. It is incredible that they keep coming back to it and keep placing!

jeff 4/6/06, 3:24 PM  

i can see your wife's point, especially when the 'we' you're using isn't defined as 'men' or 'you and your partner' or 'your running group' or 'the entire running community'. but i also completely understand and echo your sentiments. especially the part about the less hairy backsides. i mean, look at my mile interval times when smsmh joins me at the track!

robtherunner 4/7/06, 8:42 AM  

I think you biased me from the start by telling me your wife thought it was condescending. As a male I am not really sure I would know the difference.

Kim 4/7/06, 2:52 PM  

I've read and re-read it. But like the others, I think you biased me before hand and I was looking for things to be offended by.
That being said, I wasn't really. There was the one line about 'our sport'...but I took it to be Mike & your's sport...'cause running is my sport...but if read wrong, it could have sounded like women joining the men's sport.
But, I do appreciate the sentiment...and I did pick that up too. I do think it's harder for women to juggle the training...at least it holds true within our household. And Jeff is supper supportive of my training...I can only imagine what it would be like if he weren't or if I was single. It's a big commitment...and one that effects the whole family.
But, regardless, bottom line, is men are faster than women. Sure, I still beat a couple of hundred men at the half...and Jeff was bitter about the 3 women who passed him...but really men are generally faster & stronger than women. I'm not typically even thinking of comparing myself to the men. For that matter, I don't compare myself to the 20 year olds out there either. But the running is for me. And maybe if I were better at...and an elite...then maybe I'd care how many men I were passing.
I've babbled. I don't think you have anytihng to worry about..I think without a bias...I would have just read through it and though how nice to have someone recognize how hard it is.
Hope all is well. Oh. And by the way. It's raining again. :)

Scott 4/7/06, 5:12 PM  

Though it's clear your intentions were good, your wife is quite right.

angie's pink fuzzy 4/7/06, 8:40 PM  

hmm, I think I get what you were aiming for, but I kind of agree with your wife...but I also tend to stay away from conversations revolving around gender differences...

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