If We Were Riding’ is a weekly triathlon-ish newsletter written by Kelly O’Mara and produced by Live Feisty Media. Subscribe to get it in your inbox every Wednesday morning. You can also read past issues. This episode is Dec. 5, 2018.
This weekend is my last race of the year. And, man, it is definitely time for the year to be done. It’s cold enough here that every bike ride ends with me standing in a hot shower for 30 minutes and then falling asleep. Hopefully, Florida is warmer (but not too warm). If you’re at Challenge Daytona on Sunday, say hi or at least yell at me ‘the faster you run, the faster you get to the drinks.’
That is, yell if you’re not a bot. There’s been a weird increase recently in the number of Russian newsletter subscribers with nonsense emails who never open the emails. It’s driving me nuts, so if you’re not a real person could you please unsubscribe.
Inspiration from Outspoken
This weekend was the Outspoken Summit! (Above see Lisa, Sara and Erin—which I 100% take credit for. Or at least for saying ‘yo, Erin, I think Sara and Lisa are already organizing a women’s thing, you guys should talk.’)
What was the summit and what did we actually do?
Taryn has a pretty good breakdown of the actual day-to-day—and I’m not just saying that because she said a bunch of nice stuff about me. And Triathlete Mag posted their top ten takeaways, for more of an overview analysis.
My take: I was genuinely nervous about having to make small talk for the whole weekend and about potentially not finding (for lack of a better phrase) my people. But it turned out it was pretty much all my people. It turns out women are many things, varied and different and complicated and some of them are like me and some of them aren’t. Who knew. Ultimately, the conference—which was organized around the themes of where we came from, where we are, where we’re going—was balanced between ‘yay, go women!’ and also ‘here are legitimate and specific questions.’ At times this balance caused tension. Which is fine. There was specific advice about coaching and starting businesses and cultivating leadership skills—which have to be practiced just like anything else. And then there were big questions, like: What now?
So. What now?
For some people, there are/were specific things they are taking back to their organizations, specific plans and initiatives and grants coming. Not all of us are in those positions, though, so what do we take back?
Generally, I believe change happens ultimately in the small moments. I believe it happens when you go to bat with your editor for the chance to write a story about a woman doing stuff that’s nuanced and interesting, or when you pushback (effectively) on parts of that story that are hurtful or problematic. I believe change happens in one-on-one conversations, increasingly it does not happen online or via shaming. I’m a huge believer in promoting each other and creating our own networks, making connections. I am never going to have access to the old boys network—have you met me?—but I do have a growing network of my own people. And we have to help each other. Opportunities come up all the time—who should I hire as a coach? do you know anyone who can talk on this panel? what nutrition products should I try?—and that’s a position I think we’re all in.
Also: If you’re putting on events, you should apply for one of these grants.
Answers from Argentina
Not to be the all Kona allocation newsletter all the time, but. I got a *lot* of questions this weekend about Ironman Mar del Plata in Argentina. The confusion was because of the race’s floating slots (ie. there were two Kona spots for women and two for men because it’s a regional championship, and then there were two additional spots allocated based on the number of starters). The problem was the tracker initially showed ten men and ten women starting, yet Ironman announced there’d be two slots for the women and four for the men.
I found myself all weekend in the position of defending Ironman: Guys, they wouldn’t do that. Like, I’m not going to say never, but pretty much never. If there were an equal number of women and men starting, they’d give us equal slots. They want (in a vague, non-actionable way) for that to happen.
Ultimately, there were 23 men and 15 women who started and there were four Kona spots for the men (which rolled down to the 6th-place finisher) and two for the women (plus Mirinda Carfrae validated her existing qualification spot). Yes, that’s still really messed up math and doesn’t make sense from what we understood of the numbers post-Ironman Arizona. Yes, we await Thorsten’s analysis.
[Relatedly, the start numbers and slots allocated for age-groupers is also…ugh. And also pretty much what we’ve been warning about on the podcast.]
On the plus side: Ironman Argentina gave the pro women 35 minutes before the age group men started. Which is awesome.
Run to the Capitol
The thing I missed out on at home while I was gone: CIM. The California International Marathon, which also served as the USATF Marathon Championship, was this weekend and was won by an unsponsored Emma Bates. Though the race of the day probably goes to Steph Bruce, who ran a PRfor second place after taking 11th at New York.
And one person didn’t quite make it. 😭😭😭
- RIP Paul Sherwen.
- If you have a lot of random gently used cycling clothing and gear (like I do), you can donate it to girls getting into cycling.
- Also, if you’re a talented Twitter & Instagram follower, you’ve probably noticed a number of women joining Emma Coburn’s running squad out of Colorado. There were another couple this last week or two—and I think the #likeaboss squad may now be the official next big women’s running group, following in Shalane’s wake.
- Speaking of, Kara Goucher is returning to the marathon.
- The weirdest thing (to me) in Strava’s annual report data is that the most active day worldwide was May 6. [Some of the other stuff seems weird but just lacks analysis. Like why is Tuesday the “fastest” day? Because that’s a day lots of serious runners do hard workouts, whereas weekends are averaged down in terms of “fastness” because races are offset by a high number of casual weekend joggers—who are less likely to run on a weekday.]
- This is a really weird story about why there aren’t more female coaches. Like, fair points, but also I’m not sure how much we needed to focus on their looks? Like, maybe it would have been a different story if a woman had written it?
- Stephanie Gilmore won another surfing title and the video of the contest at Jaws is insane.
- The Grand Canyon rim-to-rim-to-rim record was broken and then five days later it was broken again.
- If you’re super into details, then you might find Cody Beals’ breakdown of his training blocks for his two Ironman wins interesting. What I find interesting is his semi-winging it approach.
- If you’re Jewish, then this could be a good opportunity. Maccabi USA is looking for Jewish triathletes to field a team for the PanAm Games.
- Apparently, there are YouTube fire conspiracy theories—ie. our massive fires in California are fake, are caused by aliens, etc (which I have decided not to indulge in). And also yes, federal policy on forest management has played a complicated role in increased fires. And also climate change.
- Too many people are stacking stones. Blame social media.
- Where have all the bugs gone?
Comments & thoughts
Some thoughts, emails, messages and notes from listeners and readers this week.
– So many people congratulated me on my PR last week you’d have thought I made the Olympics. Thanks for making me feel special guys.
– And Christina explained the IWWR podcast apparently has “an ‘E’ for explicit just like on any 50 Cent album.” But she kinda likes it. So there you go.