I got beat by a girl...

So, I went for a run the other day around the Charles.  Something I do pretty regularly.  I like to be by the water and I know the path like the back of my hand, so I'm always sure exactly how much I have left (I hate workouts when I can't judge how much exertion I need to give or spare....Type-A much??).   So, anyway, there I am, moving pretty well around 70% effort or so - a good clip, but not breathing particularly hard.  All of a sudden, I cross over one of the bridges and this chic with her black tank top pulled half-way up her stomach rounds the corner and TAKES. ME. DOWN.  I don't mean knocked me down.  I mean her run ate my run for breakfast.

TOOK. ME. DOWN.

This is not something that I am used to.  I am SUPER competitive.  Completely opposite of spinning playlists, I put angry music on my solo-ipod so that I am always on my edge.  It's what keeps me moving.  If I don't have something challenging me, I get bored.  Oh, you think you're faster than me, skinny-runner-man-in-the-distance?  Nope.  Oh, you wanna pace off me, meat-head-who-thinks-he's-faster-than-a-girl?  Adios.   I will take you out with my "break stuff" playlist and leave you in my lululemon dust.  

But, not this time.  This girl was quick!

My first instinct was to fight back.  Who the hell does this chic think she is??!!  I was having a great run.  If anyone was going to be doing the passing, that was going to be me!  This little pop-tart was messing with my "run this town" confidence!  I put myself into the pain cave to catch this little lady.  After a minute or two at a near sprint (thankfully, quite near the end of my run) I started to change perspective.  I was getting beat by a girl!  Not a boy-runner or a man-jogger.  A girl!  Alright!

The sight of the fateful take down.

I caught up with her at the next bridge crossing, and rather than want to rip her to shreds, I honestly wanted to high-five her!  Go get 'em, chica!

However, when she turned around, I recognized in her eyes the killer instinct of a serious competitor on a beat-down mission.  Her look said, "What?  You wanna run with me, aqua-head-band-matches-your-shoes-bee-aatch?".   (It was true, my obnoxiously loud head-band matched my equally obnoxious running shoes.)  But, hey, she was running with her shirt all hooched up.  Whatever...she totally took me out.  I had to respect it.

This girl-power moment made an ad by Nike pop into my head.  The spot features Joan Benoit Samuelson, a pioneer in women's running as the first Women's Olympic Marathon gold medalist.  It's a true appreciation for a woman's desire to physically compete.

On the cool down after my run, I got to thinking about a related radio program I heard this past weekend on WNYC.  As it turns out, Women's Boxing will debut in the 2012 London Olympics (although, they were apparently considering making them wear skirts...who are they, the 1947 Rockford Peaches??!!).  

WNYC broadcast a special series called Go For It:  Life Lessons from Girl Boxers on these amazing women they describe as "risk-takers, rule-breakers, and dream-chasers".  When I heard this show, I was caught between so many powerful emotions.  From are-you-friggin-kidding-me??!! (when the old surly boxing coach said women don't belong in the ring...that it was a disgrace) to straight up tears rolling down my face (when the stories of these incredible fighters - mothers, daughters, sisters - were told).  Clearly, the "women can't fight" brigade doesn't get the heart of the true competitor...or women, for that matter.
Queen Underwood, Team USA 2012

As one of the she-boxers said, "You don't play boxing, you fight."  Personally, I don't have the guts to get beat up in the ring, but I get "the fight".  In fact, all the women I know in my life know how to fight.  This chic that passed me on the path got "the fight".    Embracing that feeling out on a run or in the ring, can truly change your self perception, your self confidence. When you fight, you win.  Even if you get passed by someone that is stronger than you.

Marlen Esparza, Team USA 2012
So, I got beat by a girl.  And I liked it. Go get some, lady.