A couple of months ago, I decided to race the Rock N' Roll Vegas Half Marathon. Signing up for a race would give me something to work towards. A running journey to hop on to. The past 8 weeks of building up to this race have been just that. A journey. The joy of running reignited in me. With a race on the map, I made intentional plans to run with old friends and new, willingly got out of bed early on a Sunday, and actually looked forward to 15 mile long runs.
A little over a week ago, during a particularly challenging Coach Steph Bruce workout, I caught myself settling instead of fighting. I had the opportunity to dig deep to hit an interval pace, but the fire wasn’t there, so I settled for 10 seconds too slow. As I cooled down from the workout that day, I realized there was a piece missing in the build up, in the training, in the spirit of racing. I was missing the "dig deep" factor.
Sarah Mac had a deep and burning desire to qualify for the Olympic Trials last year at CIM. I wanted that too. That reason to dig deep for an extra 10 seconds when I got to the end of 13.1 miles down the Vegas Strip. I tried to come up with a mantra. Something to call on when the race inevitably starts to get tough. "Be brave. Get ugly." It wasn’t a phrase of my own. But I liked it. It would work.
And then something crazy happened. This past week, the world got ugly. It flipped upside down. And I inadvertently discovered the edge, the spark, and the fire I had been searching for. I woke up at 2:30am on Wednesday to read the news. My heart broken. I tossed and turned for hours, willing myself to fall back to sleep and wake up to a different outcome. But instead, the news read the same at 7:30am when pulled my tired body out of bed.
Since that morning, I have discovered a version of myself that I didn’t know existed. I am filled up with distrust, fear, pain, hate, and anger. I’m intolerant of the intolerance surrounding his vote. And I am not sorry for any of my feelings. I want to crawl out of my white skin. I am scared for our country’s collective future. I am scared that I won’t be able to trust people who I love. I am scared that my heart won’t heal from this.
As I’ve followed the news and watched the American flag go up in flames, witnessed riots and unspeakable hate crimes, I continue to feel scared. The goal in racing is to negative split. Before Wednesday, it felt like the country was headed towards progress, towards hitting a negative split. I have never for a second doubted that racism, sexism, and bigotry exist in this country, but we have shown a light on hate this week, in a very big way. We have exposed where we really are.
For those who say this is not their America. Sorry, but it is. We have work to do. We have many more miles to run. And seemingly impossible intervals to crush.
Today, I’m wearing a safety pin #safetypinusa to show that I am an ally to those who have been insulted or treated unfairly because of race, gender, disability, and individual beliefs.
On Sunday night, I’ll wear red, white, and blue. I will run with heart and fire for all of the people who have been othered or mistreated. For the America that we need to work towards. When it gets tough and ugly out there, which it will, I won’t settle. I will fight. And I’ll do it for all of the believers in progress and peace. To quote Queen Bey: “I’ma keep running. Cause a winner don’t quit on themselves.”
Who else is willing to dig deep when it gets ugly? #DigDeepGetUgly