The Goddess of War - and apparently more than 150 lbs.
If you are a woman who weighs more than 150 lbs, in the race I ran today, you are in the Athena Division. I am in the Athena Division.
When we lined up at the race start (The Classic 10K - dubbed the "fastest race in colorado" because it is relatively flat) I realized that I was the only non-athletic person there. 5K's attract walkers and very slow joggers but 10K's weed all those out (except the BolderBoulder because it is more like a street fair than a race). It was a small race - maybe 300 people? At the gun everyone took off and I told Roland, Ike and Kelly that they didn't need to run with me. It took me about 5 minutes to realize that I would most likely be the last person to finish. It made me cry. Not sobbing wrenching tears, just a lump in the throat and a burning behind the eyelids.
Athena doesn't cry.
I was embarrassed. I wanted to turn back and wait at the car. I didn't want to run 6 miles knowing the whole time that I am the slowest. Athena doesn't quit. So I slogged it out. I ended up "running" with at 22 year old girl for most the race and I asked lots of questions so I could focus on listening and running. Before long we were at the halfway point and I was feeling good. Better than I felt at BolderBoulder. But still - I was last.
In case you haven't ever been last (and you probably haven't) I will describe it for you. They've turned off the victory music. The finish line is empty except for the people you are riding home with, the race staff, and the Ethiopian winners of the race who are collecting their prize money. There is no fanfare. No one tells you what an inspiration you are for even showing up much less running that whole stupid thing. Your husband will hug you and tell you he is proud and that you really need to hurry to the bus because the last one is leaving soon. Your girlfriend will try to convince you that she saw someone running behind you and you weren't last. And, thankfully, everyone else will ignore you. No one, but you, really cares. And unlike the winner there is no recognition, thank goodness.
I did win though. I took 11 minutes off of my BolderBoulder time. So. That is a victory.
Afterwards we went to the farmer's market to pick up our CSA share (what the heck do you do with a kolrabi?) and I thought:
"Who are we? Last year I wouldn't have run 1/2 mile and certainly wouldn't have been excited about a bag o'beets! But today I ran 6 miles! 11 mintues faster than I did in May! And I can't wait to get this kolrabi home!"
I don't even recognize myself.