Women's Wednesday - Women and Racing Part II: Why I Race.

Famous Boston Marathon Photo

I thought a lot this summer about why I race. I’ve thought about why more women don’t race and what we can do to get more women racing. I’ve thought and I’ve pondered and I’ve questioned and I’ve asked people what they thought. I guess it’s time for me to tell you why I race.

I race because I can. And it really is that simple. I love racing. I love how it makes me feel when I’m done and how I feel right before the person says “Go!” I love how it makes me work that much harder during the week. Knowing that I’ll have something to prove on Wednesday nights at short track or at the Beti Bike Bash or at an Enduro or a race in Winter Park. I know you think it’s not for you. I hear that a lot. “Cheri, it’s different for you.” But it’s not. Not really. What do you think? That I revel in losing? Revel in riding mid pack or off the back? Revel in breathing so hard it reminds me of labor pains? Not likely. It would be nice to win. Right? But there can only be one winner and I’ll say it again; what are we telling the younger generation when we don’t at least try? Hey kids, if you can’t win or be the best, don’t bother, go grab your apron and your broom and good luck with that?

At the end of the race you have yourself to thank for your effort. You can feel proud that you went out and gave it your all. There is no team, no coach (at least not in my case) and no sponsor. Just you. And that feels great. Because that means I did it for me. No one else. Yes, my kids see it and hopefully learn something from it but I do it for me. This isn’t Little League where I had to prove my mettle as the only girl and this isn’t JV Volleyball with my parents in the stands. Racing is all me. And I love that. In a time where we are supposed to be giving and selfless boy it feels great to do something just for me.

I feel strongly that many more women (and girls) should try racing. People fought hard to give us women a place on the field, the court, the course, the track, etc. In 1967 Kathrine Switzer was the first woman to run the Boston Marathon. When the race organizer realized a woman was on the course he ran after her yelling” Get the hell out of my race and give me those numbers.” People like her paved the way. Your way. Your way to try new things. To fail. To succeed. What are we waiting for? Title 9 Part II?

Need tips on passing? Ask me. Need tips on what to wear? Ask me. Need tips on dealing with nerves? Ask me. Need tips on how to get there even though you are so menstrual you think you are going to need an iron shot? Need tips on losing and still going out again and again. Just ask me. I can help.

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