Yesterday, I watched my seven year-old daughter run circles around her older brothers. We were taking a short cut home through my old high school and came upon the track. My nine year-old son challenged his older brother to a one-lap race. My daughter, Sky, was not included in the race. Exclusion is common when you’ve got two older brothers, it seems. But a few seconds after I yelled “go!” she took off running. By the first turn, she had caught them. She dropped them coming out of the turn the way a roadie drops a guy riding a mountain bike wearing jeans. Her stride filled me with envy – she appeared to have both feet off the ground 90% of the time. She was standing at my side, panting, before they even made it out of the second turn. “Did you time me?” I hadn’t, but I love that she asked. And it couldn’t have been over 90s.

The boys came in grouchy. The nine year-old claimed to have a knee injury and one poorly tied shoe. The eleven year-old called Sky stupid and gave her a little body-check.

I’m pretty sure the guys I pass during the run of a triathlon are calling me stupid and blaming it on a bad shoe-tying incident. Some are probably considering a body-check, too.

I’m not a fan of stereotyping, so please, if you’re one of those boys who cheers on the girl that passes you by, don’t be offended. I am not getting down on you. In fact, if you’re a boy who has called me stupid in his head, I’m not getting down on you either. Boys are faster than girls, for the most part. It sucks and it’s unfair and some people have said to me “Yeah, but you get to have the babies.” And my response to that is “GET to?” Regardless, I understand that biology has a lot to do with why boys expect to beat girls.

I have a friend who gauges his race performance on whether or not he won the women’s division. He is not a fan of being chicked. He obviously needs to focus on the bright side:

  • The view: If you’re going to stare at someone riding or running for an hour or two, wouldn’t you rather it be a woman in a bikini than a man in a mankini?
  • The practice: There is no better opportunity to practice pick-up lines. I recently passed a man during the run of a triathlon, only to hear: “I hate to see you leave, but I love to watch you go.”
  • The motivation: because really, who wants to get beat by a girl? Not me, and I am a girl.

From a girl’s perspective, it’s not about passing boys. It’s about using whatever motivation is out there to push to my absolute limit in a race. And sometimes, the motivation I need? Is passing humans.

My little speedster, blowing by her brother in a race into the tide pools: