Monday, April 6, 2015

The Big Dream in the Sky

Fleet Feet has been advertising for new employees for a while now.  And every time I see the post I think about it.  Why not me?  I started running track in middle school.  I've been doing road races since high school.  I am a runner.  But then reality sets in and I know that would never happen. 

That I would never be able to stand beside these sub-7 minute milers with their 5% body fat and feel like their equal.  I know that elite runners would not trust me to be an expert.  That the same people that assume I'm a walker when I come in the store to get fitted for shoes would not take my advice or want my help.  The assholes who say with shock "You're running the half?" when I go to pick up my race number and there is a shorter race on the same day.  Like it is just unfathomable that someone that looks like me could be a runner.  That the hundreds of people that look like me at races are an allusion.

I could coordinate group runs.  I could teach fitness classes.  I could make people like me feel good.  I would try not to make assumptions and treat people with respect.  I would be the healthiest me ever because I would be surrounded by healthy people.  A little color and a little curvyness are exactly what Fleet Feet needs.  

But the reality is that no matter how many life affirming groups that I am a part of online I will never be fully accepted by some runners.  I will always be judged.  And I will always feel self conscious because of that.  I could never be confident enough to fit some elite high school athlete for shoes and discuss his mechanics and give him tips on how to be better.  And that makes me sad.  

Maybe if I lived in a more diverse area but to be the only non-white person and the only thick runner would be too much for me.  I could put on the bravado and fake it but inside I would be constantly on edge and I know that's not a life I want to live. But I can fantasize about a world where it could happen.