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Run Like a Girl - Running and Gender Stereotypes

Training Log For: 01/14/10

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Posted by Yvonne

I was born to a mother who grew up being the only daughter in a family of five boys and a single mom who worked two full-time jobs to support the six punks. Which left my mom to raise her 5 brothers. So when she found out she was pregnant, she hoped and prayed for a boy. She'd already raised five. She knew what to do with them. Then I was born... so clearly, not a boy. Oh, did I mention that she was training for the Boston Marathon too when she got pregnant with me? So, not only did I interrupt her training, but I was also Not a boy. I had some major making up to do. Good thing I had the rest of my life to do it. 

I think it's safe to say that it's no wonder I grew up on a desert ranch in Palm Springs, despising the color pink and playing next to the boys (in middle school I was one of 3 girls (Danielle Weeks, also running the LA Marathon, Monica Whalen and I) that played on the football team). That is not to say that I don't know how to wear a nice skirt, heels and fix my hair. I do. And I think I am pretty good at it. But I also got used to the phrase "Wow! Don't you clean up nice." I preferred to not clean up at all, but sometimes you have to, more now than then. Secretly, I enjoyed shocking people like this. It made me feel like a chameleon and I always like animals. Like I could successfully play two roles, one as a lady and one as an athlete.

What's my point? Right. There was one here somewhere. I think it was that for awhile I disliked being a girl (truth be told I don't always love it now either). However, I am of the old school thinking that you are what you are and you don't go messing with God and/or science to change it. So, I had to come to terms with the fact that I was female and find a way to cope. My way was through sports. It allowed me to be the bad ass I always felt I was without compromising being a girl. But that's neither here nor there, let me get back to the point. The point I think I wanted to make when I set off to write this post was that even today I find myself struggling in daily life, but when I am out there on the road I feel like a bad ass. Always. Bad. Ass. 

I like to do things that please this alter-ego of mine. Like spiting. Yes, I spit when I run. It's gross and I love it. It is totally contrary to the way I like to think I live my life. I like to think that I am a nice, pleasant, polite and accommodating lady. That's not to say I roll over for every person that asks. It just means I am a people-pleaser the majority of the time (unless you give me the silent treatment undeservingly, then it's on). And though I spit when I run, I always do it when others aren't present. Plus, I like to be polite most the time and not cut cars off or make them wait for me to pass, unless I am in the zone or at the end of a long run, in which case I know if I stop I will not be able to start again.

So, if you see a small tan (read short Mexican) gal running the streets of Culver City and Santa Monica and spitting roadside, the last thing you should say to yourself is "Geee, she runs like a girl."