Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Embracing the Athena Label

My Running Mama1 told me about Athena Class runners, or women runners who weigh more 150lbs.2 This evoked some mixed feelings.

I've been a fat girl long enough to understand euphemism and marketing. "Rubenesque" means "fat." "Junoesque" means "fat." "Goddess sizing" means "fat." Gilding the plus size lily doesn't make me feel better about myself; it only raises my level of distrust.

I may change my mind about this one, though.

I admit that I have always had a soft spot for this particular goddess, aside from the fact that my native state bears her on its seal.3 She's got a definite nerdy vibe. Known mainly as the goddess of wisdom, she seemed to favor the clever hero (Odysseus) rather than the obvious jock (Achilles). She favors strategy and courage rather than brute strength. That she also involves herself in fiber craft and costuming makes me love her as well, but one can only carry a metaphor so far.

It's curious why this should be the chosen symbol for heavier woman runner.4 Is it the brains over conventional beauty thing (although she is a beautiful goddess)? Is it the woman warrior image? Either way, I've decided to squelch my skeptic this time and embrace it. It fits with the whole Wonder Woman thing nicely anyhow.


I begin to sing of Pallas Athena, the glorious Goddess, bright-eyed, inventive, unbending of heart ...5
...if you could improve my Personal Record, that would be pretty cool.

1A coworker who I can only really blame for getting me into this hot mess.
2The male counterpart is a Clydesdale. This used to be Filly Class, which is such the confidence builder.
3Before all of you Classicists jump down my throat to correct me on various points, please just run with the general feel of this post. Also, it is a cool thing that I have friends who are Classicists.
4Seriously, if anyone could send me a history of the origin of the term, I'd love to read it.
5Homeric Hymn XXVIII (at least the first part).