A tangential conversation that took place between my girlfriend and I a few weeks before WTM:
GF: “So how are you getting out there?”
Me: “We’re driving. 12 hours or so.”
GF: “We? Who are you driving with?
Me: “Two guys also racing.”
GF: “Have you met this guys?”
Me: “um, I met one at TM Wisconsin.” (lie. I haven’t met either.)
GF: “So you are driving to New Jersey with two strange men? Please don’t tell me you met them on Facebook. Where are you staying?”
Me: “In a house on the Jersey shore with like 15 other racers.”
GF: “Have you met this people?”
Me: “Some” (also a lie)
GF: “You are going to end up raped and murdered in a ditch.”
(Little did she know that I carried a switchblade in my bra the entire way there. Smart girls always come prepared.)
I’m happy to report that I didn’t. Nonetheless, I understand what was going through my friend’s head at that point. It’s odd, really. Thanks to the amazing rockstar Margaret Schlachter, a group of about 100 of us prepping for WTM came together back in July in, yes, a Facebook group. And over the next few months, a strange thing happened: I began to feel connected to people that I had only ever met online. I began to consider them “friends.” And I began to respect and admire people despite never having met them in person.
Creepy? I suppose.* But, I mean, if online dating is no longer creepy, then staying in a rental house with 15 people you’ve only ever met online is totally legit, right?
But a funny thing happened. When we finally all met in person, it felt like we were meeting long-lost friends or family. There was no awkwardness. There was only the excitement of coming together with like-minded crazy mother-effers that made you look sane in comparison.
And while everyone I have met has touched me in a different way,** it’s been the women that have continually impressed me. Boys, I love you, but it’s time to talk girl crushes.
Let’s take, for example, Margaret, whose blog Dirt in Your Skirt I began following several months ago. I was stoked to find a strong female blogging about her racing experiences. (and, not going to lie, a bit intimidated). Not only was she a badass athlete, but she was smart and successful in her career as well. After so many months, I had the pleasure of meeting her and racing with her at World’s Toughest Mudder. And let me tell you, she is every bit as awesome as she seems on her blog, and incredibly down to earth and humble as well.
Or let’s take the lovely Miss Carrie Adams. Fact: I have never met Carrie. Yet we spent a Friday night, her with a bottle of merlot in Omaha, me with a bottle of cab in Chicago, sending either other modern day versions of junior high mixed tapes. If that’s not love, I don’t know what it is*** (note that she shares my same unadulterated love of ketchup, and is known to put ketchup on her bacon).
Jokes aside, however, I have never met such a strong group of women. Carrie and I discussed this at length: in our society today, it seems impossible to find strong female role models, healthy both in body and mind. Let me tell you, I’ve found them. They are here, embodied in the form of a female adventure athletes. While we are a minority in races such as the Death Race or World’s Toughest Mudder, the contingent is growing.
So tonight, dear interwebs, I raise my glass and salute you. You are apparently good for things other than stalking old high school sweethearts and looking up porn (not that I do either of those things).
*Before the WTM group, I vowed to never be “friends” with someone on FB that you had never met in real life. As you can tell by my addition of 200+ friends since WTM, this vow has gone out the window.
**NB: Mostly figuratively, some literally.
***While she and Ms. Definition of Hot Badass herself, Katy McCabe, already have committed themselves to a commune in Colorado, they’ve graciously offered for me to tag along as the third wife.