As I was out running yesterday, a little girl, equipped in helmet and all, was riding her bike with her dad. She said hello as we crossed paths. It always takes me by surprise when a child is so friendly. It reminds me of one of my favorite moments in riding last summer...
Tom and I were cruising down Rt 8. There was a group of children, three boys and a girl, playing in a creek by the side of the road. They shouted at us as we passed and we returned greetings. And the genuine shock and joy that sprang from the girl as she exclamed "(GASP!) A GIRL!!!" made me laugh. You know, that kind of belly laugh that you just can't contain. And there was a little part of me that was proud, that thought that just maybe I let that little girl know what she suspected deep down, that we girls can do anything the boys can do. Makes me wonder where I got that idea?
Was it having brothers and playing in creeks and building camps in the woods? Was it shooting baskets better than their friends? Was it running with the boys during cross country practice? Was it when dad took us hiking on the Appalachian Trail and making it longer than Matt? Playing wiffle ball, kick ball, tag in the side yard all summer long as a kid?Or was it something long before that? Something I don't even remember? Was it watching the Ironman Championships on TV and seeing the women dominating or reding Iron Will as a teen or all those articles in Runner's World about how women have a greater advantage as distance increases because, well, dammit, we're tough as nails...and our pain threshold seems to outweigh those of our male counterparts?
Maybe it was a combination of all these things? Whatever it was, I'm grateful. And I'm honored to have so many women in my life that believe the same. And to know that many of the men in my life hold the same perspective.
This morning, I went out for my first ride since before getting sick. I rode with my dad and his buddy, Gary. And we didn't go all that far, about 20 miles. It's flat up here at dad's. And I led the whole way. And it felt good to be out there again. To sweat under that helmet. To feel the wind and concentrate on my pedal stroke. To be down in aero. To churn, to spin. And to get off the bike and packit up and change shoes all before they even got back to the driveway. And then to go into a transition run...and have dad join me for that too. His first ever brick. I think he gained some respect for that. And I'm nowhere near where I was a month ago, but I'll be back....cause I've had some great influences in my life to help me hold hope and believe I can. And i will.
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