Girls Just Want To Have Fun

It is amazing the way life works.  One day you read something and then for a week that is all you see.  Similar to when you buy a car and then you notice it on the road at all times.  Or in triathlon world you buy yourself a Specialized Transition Comp and the very next day all you see are Specialized rides. Last week I read a post by SUAR titles A World Record Is Not What It Used To Be.  This post referred to World Record's and World Bests.  Do you know the difference between these two?  Before I give you the definition which do you think would be faster:  a record or a best?  Maybe there is no difference?  According to the I.A.A.F. there is a difference and there is no reason to be confused by the two. [caption id="attachment_4234" align="alignright" width="183" caption="Kara Goucher"]kara_goucher_marathoner[/caption] The reason there are records and bests now is that the I.A.A.F. (International Association of Athletics Federation - that name alone is confusing) says that is a women sets a world record in race where men start at the same time as women it is considered a best.  If the time ran is set where there is a women's only field (meaning that women start at a different time then men and not a women's only event) then it is considered a record. The difference they say is that it is somehow wrong for a woman to pace off a man in a race.  I don't get this rationale and have sat here for a week trying to think of why this made sense to them.  I read the article two or three times and find nothing in it that tells me why.  Please read the article and comment here as to why they believe there is a need for a separate title to record/best.  How a woman running 2:15:25 while staying with a man, or ahead of a man is not faster than a woman running a 2:17:25 on her own is beyond me.  I know I'm just a triathlete and the people at the I.A.A.F. get paid quite a bit of money to understand this but to me this slaps or ridiculousness and further pushes women behind men.  Women do you still have the right to vote in an election where men are running for office? Following on the heels of this article was a post by one of my favorite writers, Susan Lacke, titled:  Out There - Cue The Spice Girls.  This article is about men getting chicked in races.  Yes, it is true there are women that are faster than men.  Look above at Paula Radcliff's man aided 2:15 marathon and understand that women can ACTUALLY be faster. In typical Susan fashion she attacks the concept of getting chicked with humor and seriousness simultaneously.  In one paragraph she mentions that some men are cool with being passed by a female because men get to enjoy the view.  Not a bad idea if you are getting chicked by Miranda Carfrae or Kara Goucher.  For me when I get chicked it is usually by a woman that is just so much faster than me that all I see is a blur as she passes me and I do my best to hang on.  Maybe I need to focus on the view and 'hanging on' will be much easier. In her next paragraph Ms Lacke states: 'If they beat the woman, they gloat. If they lose, they throw a hissy fit that would rival anything a toddler could put on in the candy aisle of a supermarket.'  I have seen this and actually had men talk to me about it.  My first thought is who cares, did you beat your goal and did you hit the time that YOU had in mind?  Was YOUR training worth it in terms of preparing to run your race at your pace?  That woman could care less about you beating her and all the men that finished in front of you don't care that you beat her in a 100y sprint to the end since for the first 26.19 miles you were barely moving. To wrap up her article Susan points out: 'Unless you’re the first-place runner, there will always be someone faster than you. Your competitive fire should burn evenly, whether that faster person is male or female.'  Nothing could be truer.  It is about how hard you work for your accomplishments and not that you were able to sprint past a women at the finish line even though she started 30 minutes behind you and her overall time was 29m30s faster than yours. [caption id="attachment_4236" align="alignright" width="160" caption="Paula Newby-Fraser"]paula_newby_fraser_triathlete[/caption] The last article in the trifecta of highlighting women and their abilities came this morning from Beyond T2 on Twitter (by the way if you are on Twitter follow them as they provide great updates for races and excellent questions about triathlon.)  The tweet simply stated:  10 Greatest Female Triathletes Of All Time. Now picking a Top 10 Greatest anything is extremely difficult and open to argument.  Can you name the best 10 baseball players of all time?  How about football players?  It is nearly impossible and creates such discussion that can go on for forever until the next great comes along. Competitor Magazine chose their 10 Greatest Female triathletes as follows (in no particular order):
  1. Natasha Badmann
  2. Erin Baker
  3. Miranda Carfrae
  4. Emma Carney
  5. Vanessa Fernandes
  6. Loretta Harrop
  7. Michellie Jones
  8. Paula Newby-Fraser
  9. Emma Snowsill
  10. Chrissie Wellington
I'll get the arguments started by saying that in my mind Paula Newby-Fraser is the greatest female triathlete of all time.  Just like triathlon Paula's career is a combination of speed and endurance.  She was fast enough to not win Kona once, but to do it multiple times (8 to be exact and earned the nickname 'Queen of Kona')
Winning it once and setting records each step of the way is very impressive (Chrissie Wellington) but to do that repeatedly to the tune of 8 Championships is unbelievable and that is why I think that Paula Newby-Fraser is the greatest female triathlete of all time even if she was able to run next to a man on the course during the marathon portion of an Ironman.  Oh yes, she chicked quite a few men along the way to those eight titles.

What Do You Think Of World Records Or Bests?

Ever Been Chicked or Chicked A Guy?

Who is your choice for Greatest Female Triathlete Of All Time?

Jason Bahamundi

About the Author:

I grew up in New York and lived there for 34 years until I got divorced and moved 1600 miles to my new home in Texas.  I love New York and miss it but that does not mean that Texas hasn’t been great to me because it has.  It was here that I discovered endurance sports and specifically the sport of triathlon.  Triathlon has given me new life through all the challenges it presents.  I no longer look at life the same way and I can say that is in part due to my endeavor into this sport.

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