Equal Opportunity always existed in Upstate New York. Woodstove needed firewood and you were old enough and it was your turn (or in my case as an only child it was always my turn) then you went to go get it. Power goes out because of an ice storm and you have to haul buckets of water from the creek across the road to flush the toilets, then you go. I wasn’t pushing myself as much as I was being pushed. There wasn’t an option to not do something. Well..there was, but that came with consequences that were much more unpleasant than just doing them in the first place.
My Dad use to say (in various funny accents) that if I did things they would “Make you strong like bull.” Or my personal favorite, “Puts hair on your chest.” It didn’t matter how much I protested that I was a girl and I didn’t want hair on my chest, off I was sent. If you ever saw my Dad you’d know why I was so very worried that this could actually happen.
I guess it is those phrases that have kept me going and focused for a number of years. I’ve always been a female in a male dominated world. Probably a good thing I had “hair on my chest” as being one of the first enlisted females on a Navy ship in the mid-90s took a thick skin.
During my Grand Adventure I logged a lot of hiking miles; some days a little over 10. Then the weekend after I came home I went and did an 11.44 mile paddle. I started thinking, if I can paddle nearly 12 miles then what is preventing me from doing a half marathon. My arms are not nearly as strong as my legs and I’m pulling along an extra nearly 100 pounds (between the weight of my kayak, Perry, and my gear) so even with buoyancy I’m making up for the difference.
I’ve rolled this around in my brain for a couple of weeks now and I finally decided that I’m going to push myself. I will never be the fastest (or the prettiest) crossing the finish line, but dagnabbit I am going to do one. I’ve decided that I am going to do the Run Like A Diva Half Marathon in Virginia in a month. I am going to use that as my baseline. Then, I’m going to register for another half marathon in 6 months and then next year do the Run Like A Diva again. I want to see my improvement. I want to push myself; even if the voice in my head isn’t my own. “Do it! Do it! It will put hair on your chest.” (Just don’t tell the boys that it’s there…..)