06 August 2011

The Freedom to Walk Down the Street

I’m getting really sick of being unable to walk down the street with some guy saying something. Someone staring in that lecherous way. Something making a gesture. A common. A look.

I was feeling exhausted after a long day, walking from Wayne’s car, carrying my shoulder bag, my beach bag, and my surfboard. These two drunk guys were walking in that way and I knew they were the type to say something. I vowed if they did, I’d knock my surfboard into them. Fiberglass hurts. They didn’t say anything to me, but then I suddenly heard Wayne (who was walking a little behind me, after having locked up the car) saying loudly, “You like my girlfriend?” I stopped, unsure of what was going on. He came up to me. “Those guys are disgusting.” I asked what they said, and he told me.

“I’d surf her.”

I fled. I ran after them, kicking off my shoes so I could catch up to them. I don’t remember what I screamed, probably something like, “What the fuck?” I really wanted to knock this big fat guy, who was probably at least double my size, with my surfboard.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean no disrespect,” he told me, probably thinking I’m a total lunatic.

Bullshit. Of course you meant disrespect. What did you mean, saying something like that?

I just want to walk down the street, free of suggestion. I don’t mind the occasional glance or smile, and wow, imagine if you met your partner on the street. But no. I never get anything normal. It’s always sleazy. I’m not a person. I’m a sex object.

Or that’s how they see me. And I want more than that. I am more than that.

I hate hearing, “Well, when you get old, you’ll miss the attention.” Attention? Is that what you call it? Bad attention, maybe. I want to feel safe, feel comfortable to walk down the street in whatever I wear.

Here are a few letters I would like to write to the sexual harassing assholes:

To the assholes that worked on construction on 151 Green Street in Brooklyn – I hate you. I hate that everytime I walk by, you have to put down what you’re doing to give me that look, you know what I mean, the one that makes me want to rush home and take a shower. Or you say something. I wouldn’t have minded if your building collapsed on you. You never showed me anything good.

To the assholes that constructed the Viridian Luxury Condos – You are a special breed of assholes. Five stories up, or higher, on little tiny dangerous platforms, you’d still find a way to make me feel like crap. Insignificant. You’d whistle, yell. I always hoped you’d fall, even though death is cruel. Remember: what you do comes back to you.

To that asshole who lives on my corner and hangs out at the ghetto Laundromat – You’re a pig. You really think I want to hear you say that crap every single day? And sad – that one day your little girl was around. You know that one day she’ll grow up and hear the same things I do? It’s not nice.

I used to want to move because of that asshole. Yeah, that’s how bad it was.

To the assholes who yelled at me from their gardening trucks when I was in high school – You know I used to get up at 5am, run, shower, and then go back to bed? Why did I do that? Because if I ran any later, the gardeners would be out, yelling at me from their trucks. It’s not a compliment. Some people said it was a cultural thing; I say it’s a fucked-up thing. A 15, 16, 17 year old girl does not find it a compliment. She finds it scary. She is miserable. She is embarrassed. She will get up at 5am to avoid you.

To all the employers who did little when I experienced harassment – Like when the guy with the black phonebook stalked me at the public library I worked at when I was 16. When I complained, the director yelled at him – and then told me, “Maybe you should dress less attractive.” (I wore skirts and dresses in the summer because it was too hot otherwise with our crappy air conditioning, and shorts were not allowed.) Or the asshole that would sit at the desk in the Boulder Public Library and leer at me as I walked by and say things – it was suggested I walk the extremely long way taking two flights of stairs instead of walking directly there. Or the IT person at another job that complained I didn’t say anything to the photocopier after being harassed – she being a woman, but at least the male IT person supported me.

This is fucked up.

This is fucked up that we just accept it.

I’m sick of rolling over. “Yes, please, give me another.” No fucking way. At those trucks that feel the need to honk at me daily when I run by (One major reason I prefer trail running) – I’ll continue to raise my middle finger at you. “It won’t change anything,” people tell me. But what will change by me saying nothing? I want to let them know it’s unacceptable.

Recently, after a guy said something to me, I ran up to him. “Why did you do that? Did you think I’d feel good after you said that? Was that a compliment? I don’t feel good, I feel uncomfortable and unhappy and miserable. That wasn’t nice. How would you feel if someone said that to your mother or your sister or your girlfriend?”

Because, asshole, you know people do.

That’s just how it works.

I refuse to be silent. Maybe I’m too aggressive, but I won’t be silent. I won’t take it.

I will not be silent.

I will rise.

Silence will not save us.

Silence will not protect us.

Suggestion - Fugazi
Why can't i walk down a street free of suggestion?
Is my body the only trait in the eye's of men?
I've got some skin
You want to look in
There lays no reward in what you discover
You spent yourself watching me suffer
Suffer you words, suffer your eyes, suffer your hands
Suffer your interpretation of what it is to be a man
I've got some skin
You want to look in
She does nothing to deserve it
He looks at her cause he wants to observe it
We sit back like they taught us
We keep quiet like they taught us
He just wants he wants to prove it
She does nothing to remove it
We don't want anyone to mind us
So we play the roles that they assigned us
She does nothing to conceal it
He touches her 'cause he wants to feel it
We blame her for being there
But we are all here
We're all... guilty

04 August 2011

The Countdown to Burning Man...!

Three weeks from now, I'll be running around California like an idiot. I'm flying into my beloved San Francisco, where I'll pick up a rental minivan, then head down with Rachelle to Santa Cruz, where her mom lives. We'll grocery shop, stop by a hardware store, and begin to prep. Meal planning for a week. Figuring out the monkey hut. Packing the car. Last minute insanity. Liquor stores.

Then - on Friday, the drive to Black Rock City. We'll stop at Sparks en route to pick up my bike from storage, fill up our water bottles in Reno, and get to the playa! Burning Man!

We're getting there early - yep, three whole days early - to plan for the Burning Man Ultramarathon. I'll run the approximate course with my GPS watch, figure out the loops and laps and then mark it all on a giant map of Black Rock City we'll have in front of our camp. I also have to have a meeting about the race too - there's been a lot of planning going into the 2nd annual Black Rock City 50k, but it's going to be amazing!

But there's a lot of prep and planning. I'm pulling together a meal plan, figuring out a shade structure chill out for our camp, figuring out how to get a shade structure for our tent, making numbers for the ultra, prizes for the ultra, sewing lots of costumes, supply shopping, cowgirl hat shopping, prep for Librarian Cocktail Party, etc.

It's a lot. And if it's not enough. My job is in INSANE mode. I'm working at least an extra hour or two at night, and feeling a little insane. But you know what? In another three weeks, none of this will matter.

See you on the playa!

01 August 2011


This weekend, due to a busy social life, lack of motivation, and other contributing factors, I did three shorter runs each day instead of one longer run.

Saturday, I had only so much time after picking up my sewing machine from the repair place, so I ran a short, hard three miles in my Vibram. I felt great. Then I headed to the beach. After swimming and eating a bunch of cherries, I ran about four or five miles on the beach, close to the hardest part of the sand. It was hot, and splashing alongside the water felt incredible. After downing a bottle of water, I swam some more. Then, after a margarita, I headed out for another short run - my boyfriend was making dinner, so I didn't have much time. Another 5 miles in my Vibrams. I really am loving training in them lately, but the longer runs can be difficult.

Sunday I intended to do 40 miles in NJ, but after some complications, I didn't. Instead, I ran about 7 miles in my Vibrams. I headed back to the beach (my addiction) and did another 7 miles on the beach towards Point Lookout. I felt really hot and after, started to feel woozy despite drinking a bottle of water on the run. A post-run smoothie helped. Then, after returning home, I changed out of bikini, back into running gear and did a few random things. Then Wayne and I headed out for a lovely night run. He learned you shouldn't bite too hard into your mouthpiece of your hydration hose, and after I was rained on for a few minutes by his hydration hose, we ran to my house and he borrowed a 2-bottle waistpack. Then we headed over the Queensboro Bridge, down 1st Avenue, then crosstown through the twenties, then down South until Chinatown for so, then back up and over, the Williamsburg Bridge, and we ended eventually at Kellogg's Diner, where we had milkshakes and grilled cheese and omelettes, and felt happy and a little tired and despite being soaked and a little sore, we were thrilled with what we accomplished, and of course, with the fun we had.

Cherie's Running Secrets: How to Navigate a Crowded Sidewalk

You're tired. There's some idiot in front of you, weaving and swaying, who won't move. Here's a few things to do:

  1. Run in the street
  2. Squish past them, running on the curb, grumbling and sighing and sprinting so they know you're annoyed
  3. Say, "EXCUSE ME," multiple times until you almost hit then

But I found the best way - when people are running towards you, just open your arms as if you are going to give them a giant sweaty hug. They will part then for you.

Iced Teas and such....

I used to be a huge fan of sun teas. Nearly every day for a few years, I'd place a mason jar full of water and tea bags on my fire escape for the day. I'd bring the jar in at the end of the day, never finding that they were brewed too strong (sun teas tend to not get bitter like regular tea) and would keep them in the fridge after, pouring on ice whenever the desire to sip struck me.

However, after I discovered sun teas can harbor harmful bacteria, I stopped brewing it. This summer, I've been craving iced tea (way too hot for tea) and really missed iced tea. I've been brewing tea super strong, pouring it over ice, adding a little sugar or honey and milk, and sipping it that way.

The Kitchn, one of my favourite blogs, posted on how to cold brew tea - and I must say, it's coming out delicious. The tea is of a mellow flavour, but really lovely. It's easy - just add some tea bags, cold water, put in the fridge overnight, and the next day - lovely cool delicious tea!

I'm No Delicate Flower...But I Do Suffer

My entire life, I've had problems with my period. I've missed countless days of work, been on bedrest multiple times, lots of medication, confusing doctor's appointments, had surgery due to some of my crazy problems last year that put me out of work for three weeks...pain, heavy bleeding, and just feeling depressed because of these two things.

Two recent articles, "How Menstruation Affects Your Running" and "Athletic Performance and the Monthly Cycle" examine the role in which running and athletic endeavors are affected by a woman's period. Their conclusion is not really. Which I guess maybe they studied men in these studies? I don't know a woman who hasn't felt depressed, uncomfortable, in pain, inconvenienced by her period. I remember losing fifteen minutes at an ultra, Virgil Crest 50 Miler, due to problems with my period. It sucks. I feel miserable and depressed. And I'll continue to do so, I suppose.