I think of myself as a fat runner, a self image that lives entirely in my head while I spend 15 minutes a day walking in a pool as I recover from a span of ill health. I read Runner's World magazine every month. It inspires me; shows me the beautiful things that can be mine through a lot of effort. I have walked/ran a few half-marathons and a couple of triathlons; I want that again.
Today I sat down to my kitchen table and my tea with the April issue. The feature is the typical story line stolen from VH-1: athlete hits it big, founders, and recovers (The only difference is sometimes these athletes never recover, or find that recovery means giving up on the comeback altogether.). The letters to the editor indicate these stories earn a mixed reception. VH-1 shows the death and destruction in black-and-white, the messes of life organized into a package with a positive ending- these articles frequently show the blood, and more. Now what I really want to know--I was just trying to read a magazine here people!-- so I should probably know better than to read them.
I don't know the man the article is about this time; I only know the article. His best friend encourages him in a race shouting, "You pussy!" at him over and over. It is printed over and over. It doesn't settle well with my tea, or my intention to feel uplifted as a fat woman runner. When I read about his low point, where he was passed at the finish by two women, all I can think is that he deserves to be passed every fucking time.
On the run, in better days.