Open Letter to My Female Competitors
Dear Female Competitor,
You are both the thorn in my side and the best thing for my sport. Nothing makes me more fearful on a start line then to see your feet match up to mine and knowing that you are going to give me an honest race. At the same time, I couldn’t be happier.
My relationship with you, as all good things, is a paradox. On the surface, we are rivals, but underneath it all, you are someone I would never want to be here without. I love how hard you push me, how you keep me honest and how when the race clock stops ticking, there is nothing but admiration for you in my heart.
You are the girl that paces me through track intervals. The one who I match my swim stroke to and try and catch up to despite my messy flip turns. The one who shows me how to stay light over rock gardens on my mountain bike. The one who showed me how to corner on my road bike.
I meet you before the sun comes up to get in the hardest workout of the day and long after the sun has gone down for nighttime trail running. You send me articles on the latest research for training and I share the latest sports psychology books I am reading.
We both spend a lot of time training with the boys and we both love it, but there is always something so refreshing to train with a female competitor. We can talk about our professional lives and big work projects because you are successful in so many areas of your life. We can talk about periods and how timing races around our cycles. We share the best place to get nails done on the heels of discussing the most strategic way to pee on the bike during an ironman.
You are pretty smart, you know. You have patient pacing and careful race strategies and you know how to use your strategy over just strength. You know how to time your nutrition with your workouts. I learn so much from you.
I hope you always believe in your abilities and the fact that you have worked your ass off to get to where you are. I hope you always eat well and enough to nourish yourself and sleep enough to recover. I hope you always continue to raise other women around you up because in a world where most females quit playing sports by high school; a healthy, fierce, competitive woman is a rarity.
Today is International Women’s Day and I wanted to let you know how much you mean to me. Sometimes you scare me. Sometimes you humble me. But mostly, you inspire me. I am committed to your success because it means I will succeed too. The higher you go, the more I realize what is possible and I go further than I knew I could.
Thank you. (Also, I’m planning on beating you in our next race.)