On April Fools Day, I read what I thought was a joke. It seemed too good to be true that Another Mother Runner was holding a contest offering up 22 spots to be had on one of two relay teams for the Ragnar Relay from Cumberland, MD to Washington, DC. Each of the winners would have their entry fee paid for and also receive an unheard of amount of running gear and goodies. Too much good stuff, it had to be a joke.
I read on about what was dubbed the Ultimate Mother Runner Showdown headed up by two talented writers/authors/editors. Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea, co-authors of Run Like a Mother and Train Like a Mother, were asking for creative entries to tell why I (or anyone entering) would want to join the Ultimate Mother Runner Showdown. They suggested things like making a video; painting a picture; decorating a poster; writing a poem… etc. There was a real deadline and it finally sunk into my head that the contest was legit.
Run Like a Mother was the very first running book I allowed myself to purchase. It gave me confidence to try a race and loads of great tips for running moms (like me!) As the authors compiled real mom information for their second book, I filled out a questionnaire for them and am even quoted a few times in Train Like a Mother. You can tell I am a pretty big fan.
I tried to think of some super-fun, creative way to show how much I wanted to get on one of their teams. I thought, if I had a friend, I might do a mock podcast episode since they have a weekly show that is in support of moms that run. Alas, I have no running gal pals nearby so I thought of cooking something like a big vegan… whatever. That really sounded dumb and would only reflect my love of eating like my Bacon is NOT and Herb blog already does. A sculpture might take too long but I might have time to draw something in between my final modelling sessions for Penn State’s spring semester figure drawing classes.
I decided to bust out my Bristol Board and Micron pens to create a 6 panel comic strip about running! I hoped that the hours that I had spent standing/sitting/reclining for figure drawing classes had allowed the instruction to somehow seep into my brain and empower me to draw myself running in some situation. I also stumbled around with coming up with a brief storyline that would comply with what the contest was asking – tell why I wanted to join one of their teams.
Which team would I choose? How could I choose? Both women offer so much energy, wit and knowledge through their writing and podcast. I couldn’t choose Dimity over SBS no matter how dear it was that she thought the mummified mice that Tish Hamilton’s Runner’s World article, Life of a BQ Squeaker, were alive. Both women are too cool so I chose not to choose and made that the theme of my comic.My biggest anxiety was actually drawing the authors. Comic drawings can morph into unflattering caricatures and I would never be winning anything if I insulted the judges. I didn’t care how goofy the drawings of myself turned out, heck I look goofy and that’s ok. I sweated and agonized over making the figures look as much like the women as I could because they had to be recognizable to anyone judging the contest, including their staff. In the end, I drew myself in 5 panels, designed a thematic logo as a title panel and bravely drew each woman twice each.
The final panel has us all crossing a finish line together, à la Richard Brooks’ 1975 western, Bite the Bullet. I have a compulsion to draw even comics within a framework of realism so the fact that I look over a foot shorter than the other women is an honest rendering. I also drew truthful overzealous enthusiasm on my face; the idea of winning and running in something like this is beyond exciting for me.
I have until June 10th until the judges to decide and I hope they have a lot of great entries to choose from. I can’t imagine what the teams will be like with so much creative energy to see them through the race. Wish me luck!