Girl On A Mission

“The best revenge is living well.”

–          George Herbert

This Sunday will see me at the start line of the Edinburgh Half Marathon. Prior to a recent event, I must admit that I wasn’t bothered about this race at all. In fact, last weekend my level of enthusiasm had plummeted to the point that I had almost talked myself into withdrawing my entry and going for a long ultramarathon training run in the mountains instead.

But all that changed one night during the week. You see, one fateful night this week, I joined a training session with a local running group that shall not be named. Little did I know at the time that this single training session would ignite the will to race in me like I have rarely experienced it before.

The session required us to get into groups for speedwork. Because I only knew a few people in the group, I went around for a chat and soon found myself in a friendly pack of guys who seemed to run at roughly my pace. Unfortunately, the coaches hadn’t mentioned the fact that they apparently expected us to match the groups by gender as well. Yes, you’ve read that right. How very stupid of me! Without bothering to find out anything about me as a runner, they immediately started to gently nudge me into the direction of a female pack.

As we were running, I jokingly asked the guys why the coaches keep picking on me. One of them just shrugged his shoulders and answered: “Because you are a girl?” In what those of you who know me understand is an incredibly rare occurrence, I was actually lost for words. But I was also determined to stand my ground, and although it was a tough workout, I stuck it out with the guys for a while. But my resolve eventually faltered when two of the three coaches came over to my group in the middle of the session and downright ordered me to go run with the women’s group on the other side of the field instead. Really, I couldn’t make this up.

superwoman glass ceiling

Now, please don’t get me wrong. The women were lovely and I am more than happy to run with them. But excuse my naivety for thinking that speedwork groups should be matched by – how can I put this? – actual running speed, rather than anatomy. I didn’t think it was possible in the 21st century, but I think I might have hit some kind of glass ceiling in a running group.

I was, and still am, pretty frustrated by the whole escapade. It goes without saying that I won’t be found training with this group-which-must-not-be-named in future. But even as my own personal anger subsided, I started to feel bad for the women who regularly train with this them. What kind of message are the trainers hammering into them, week in, week out?

As a result of all of this, I have not only decided to run the half marathon on Sunday after all, but I am going to take all that fury to the start line with me and hurl it at the road ahead of me. While I don’t feel as though I have anything to prove, I’m going to try and put the wisdom of George Herbert’s words to the test and see if the best revenge in the running world is racing well. Wish me luck!

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22 thoughts on “Girl On A Mission

  1. Trails and Ultras says:

    Well. You know my feelings about this already. I almost didn’t ‘like’ this post because it felt like I was approving of the situation as a whole. You know what you must do tomorrow. Vengeance will be yours! (With a PB, I mean. Nothing illegal.)

  2. Good luck! Maybe I’ll see you post-race. I’m in the black pen. You will be way aheadof me…

  3. Jim Brennan says:

    Fullmoonrunner, I thought I went through a time warp when I read your post, I mean is this 1954 or 2014? Really! Do the coaches split up the training run by race, ethnic group, sexual orientation? I know you’ll kick ass in the half, but that ultra training run sounded pretty awesome. Nevertheless, enjoy the ride, leave the stress out on the course, and smile. You are a bigger man than all of those coaches. Oh, and I like the photo of Wonder Woman, she was my oldest son’s favorite action hero when he was a kid (probably still is now.)

    • Thank you, Jim! You’ll be pleased to hear that I complained loudly on the night and that my rant included several references to the presence and absence of boobies… Maybe I’ll go back next time and tell them that I was raised catholic, see if they make me run with someone else yet again! 😉

  4. It’s ridiculous that they’d try to divide group by gender – every group I’ve ever been to we’ve been put into pace groups. Run a good race tomorrow and break through that imaginary glass ceiling!

    • Thank you for your encouragement, Betty! I, too, find it totally ridiculous. I often train with my local running club and something like this would be totally absurd there, too! I’ll be sure to run my socks off tomorrow. =)

  5. Amy says:

    What?! That is insanity…I too am speechless.

  6. That’s so annoying!! What the hell!

  7. What a load of tosh! Running group by gender instead of ability?!? Nuts…
    Hope you kick arse in your race!

  8. Angie says:

    It’s kind of one of those speechless moments. Who knew that we still had to be separated by gender at run clubs. I know you’re going to have an amazing race and it will feel quite enjoyable to run at the front of the pack.

    • It really doesn’t happen often that I’m lost for words… but that was definitely one of those moments. It didn’t last too long though, I certainly started to complain loudly, too! It’ll be fun to see what kind of run I can fathom up tomorrow!

  9. Wow. Just wow! Hard to believe this kinda stuff still happens. All the best with your race! 🙂

  10. piratebobcat says:

    GO GET IT!!!!!!!!

  11. Kerrie says:

    Good luck with the race! I can relate to your post – not from running but with other things. Its frustrating and annoying. Happy running! 🙂

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