Thursday, August 26, 2010

*Here We Go!*

Okay, here goes. Day One of the Thirty Day Running Challenge. I'll be going for my first half-hour run tonight.

Usually before I start any kind of a workout program or routine, I look for a day with some significance to kick my birthday or some day when all the planets are aligned in my horoscope, or a countdown to some nerve-racking reunion.

I didn't think there was anything significant about today, August 26 - but I thought, hey, its as good a day as any to start, as long as I'm motivated to finish, right?

Then I looked at the calendar....LITERALLY, just now, to confirm that there was nothing special going on today in the world. And guess what?

Did you know that today is Women's Equality Day?!

This is amazing for a couple of reasons. First off, I had absolutely no idea (which is kind of ridiculous....I mean, I don't see acknowledgement of this day anywhere other than my Runners World Calendar, but that's a rant for another time, I guess.)

Second, one of the big reasons why I was inspired to get running again, and a topic I was ALREADY planning to write about, is this picture of Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to enter and run as an official numbered entry in the Boston Marathon. In 1967 when Kathrine ran, women were not officially allowed to enter the race - they had only run "unofficially" without race numbers. Because she had registered under the initials "K.V.", no-one noticed a woman was running until after the race had begun...and when they did find out....all hell broke loose:

In this photo, Ms. Switzer is being physically assaulted by Boston Marathon race officials who are attempting to prevent her from running. Switzer's boyfriend jumped in and held back Race Director Jock Swimple - who was grabbing her, yelling, "get the hell out of my race". Despite the attack, Kathrine continued running and went on to finish in four hours and 20 minutes. Seven years later in 1974, Kathrine would go on to win the New York City Marathon with a time of 3:07:29.

I can't imagine living in a time where I would be physically barred from competition in an athletic event. Today, thinking about Kathrine's courage, athletic achivements, and the accomplishments of so many women athletes, I realize why I'm motivated to start this program.

I want more from a "women's" fitness routine than getting "beach body ready" or trim for my new fall outfits. I'm not really interested in looking cute on the stairmaster at the gym and barely breaking a sweat, or losing weight by drinking lemon juice and maple syrup and calling it a "cleanse". I want to be stronger, healthier and leaner, and someday, faster. I want to push myself to a higher standard of physical ability and do it in an effective, challenging way, without putting limits on myself or listening to people tell me they think what I'm doing is too hard. I'm not going to be the fastest person on out in the park tonight, but for me, that's really exciting. I'm ready to challenge myself, to do something different and unconventional - just like so many women had to do to get us where we are today.

What a great day to say I'm up for the chellenge! Happy Women's Equality Day.