Real men do wear pink.
It's what's in. Haven't you heard? Well, if you haven't gotten the memo, lavender is out and pink is in for men this, what season are we in?, oh yeah, fall.
You heard it here first.
I think if I say it enough, I'll be okay with wearing pink.
I'm actually not sure about wearing pink... well, let me rephrase that. Under normal circumstances, I would not wear pink. Period. I've never considered it as an option for any clothing apparel of mine, nor have I pondered purchasing a pink clothing item.
But when I joined the Loma Linda Lopers, I was given a pink t-shirt upon registering. Pink, you see, is the Lopers' color of choice. Not black, not white but pink. Not blue, not green, not aquamarine. Pink.
Wearing the shirt is, of course, not mandatory. In fact, a lot of runners on our Sunday runs typically don't wear the shirt, and some wear white Lopers shirts, which I might do as well once I get my hands on one. But I wear the shirt during our Sunday runs. The only time I didn't was my first run back after the Ragnar Relay when I wore my white Ragnar shirt, and I might wear it again soon and ditch the pink once again.
I wore the pink shirt during Sunday's Mission Inn Run, for a few reasons. One, the Loper people recommended wearing it beacuse one of our own was going to take pictures and have them for sale at a much cheaper price than the regular race photographers. Two, I've worn it most every Sunday for the last three months so why stop now? And thirdly, I'm part of a club and these are our colors. There were a lot of Lopers out there, and many of them wore the pink shirts.
And I'm proud of being a Loper; thus I wear the colors. I've learned so much from my fellow Lopers since July that I feel obligated to wear the colors and support the group. I can't imagine being where I am now, training for a marathon, logging all these miles in on Sundays, improving on my midweek runs, and doing all that I've done without the Lopers. I did well to get to where I was over the summer, to have completed a half marathon and the like, on my own. Now, I'm not saying that I couldn't have done Ragnar or this 10K or even a marathon on my own, but it would have been a lot more difficult, a lot more challenging and a lot more discouraging.
On Nov. 22 I'm going to be in Seattle and we have an 18-mile run scheduled for that morning. I am not sure how I'm going to tackle that, if I'll run the distance by myself or if I'll tack on three miles to this week's 15-miler and run 10 or 12 miles on the 22nd alone. Just the thought of running 18 miles on my own frightens me, but the thought of running 18 miles with the Lopers is less scary. Sure, it's daunting but in my mind it's doable. Running 18 miles by myself scares me. But if that's what I have to do, then that's what I'll have to do. The Lopers, though, are encouraging in that sense.
What's great too is that there are many people like me. My awesome rockin' blog buddy Angie joined the Lopers in August or September of 2008 and has already run three marathons. My fellow 11-min group runner Meriel kicked ass in her first 10K, finishing in under 50 minutes on Sunday. And she'd never even run more than four miles before joining the Lopers. I dare say she's one of the stronger runners in our group. I use her as motivation to get through the last miles of our long runs because she finishes so strongly. And there are several others in our group who are just starting, hadn't run double-digit miles before September, have the same worries and fears as the other first-timers, about finishing the marathon in one piece, about closing out or 13-, 14- or 15-mile runs out well and the like.
Combine that with the knowledge and experience our pace leaders have and it's no wonder why I feel so good about my chances at Surf City. As I mentioned earlier, one of pace leaders has run more than 50 marathons and ran 33 miles just this last weekend. Another veteran helped us during our recent 15-miler as he was a fill-in, and he'd hiked 20 miles the day before.
So while I'm going to have to run Surf City on my own two feet, I know that the Lopers will have helped carry me and will continue to carry me there. Will I wear pink that day? Well, so far 272 Lopers have signed up for Surf City, and I wouldn't want to get lost in the crowd.
So pink it is.
Real men wear it, right? Maybe? Oh well. At least the girls like it. Of all my shirts, it's their favorite, and they've told me so many times.