Notes

This is my first Note here on Substack. I’ve watched the roll-out this week with some excitement and some trepidation — particularly since the company seems to have no plan for how to deal with the the inevitability of white supremacist, misogynist, fascist trolls, not a surprise I suppose considering how Substack has already welcomed (and funded) TERFs on this platform.

But here I am, in the process of relaunching my writing career with a new newsletter, Second Breakfast, on the history of the future of food and fitness technology. And surely “wellness” is an area itself full of white supremacist, misogynist trolls. (So is ed-tech, so I am pretty used to it, eh?)

I’m not sure how I’ll use this feature of Substack yet — probably for quick thoughts about my own training — no need to fill folks’ email inboxes with such things.

This is “peak week” of my half marathon training cycle; my race is in three weeks. Today was my long run — the longest I’ll do before then: 12 miles. We are in Rio Vista this weekend, in our RV, but I plotted a course using Strava and loaded it onto my Garmin. (You can bet I’ll be writing more about these and other fitness technologies here.) Off I went, at 6:30 this morning, wearing my hydration vest and carrying some Spring Energy “fuel.” (And yeah, I’ll also write about not just this type of highly engineered food that athletes are supposed to consume, but also the whole notion of seeing food as a “fuel.”)

I was on mile 9 or so when my watch buzzed me to take a left turn into a gated community. Fuck. The entrance was closed; but the exit gate was open, and as I was relying on the navigation of my watch, I figured I’d just keep going and act like I belonged. It was unlikely anyone would stop me. No one would think I didn’t belong there, even though I didn’t. “Running while white.” There were signs on several lawns that made it clear that this community took its gates quite seriously. Instead of those I have seen in my neighborhood, those that say “in this house, we believe Black Lives Matter. Love is Love. Science is Real” and so on, there were signs that read “in this house, we believe in the American flag, that borders matter, that God is love, that Hillary belongs in jail.”

I ran by numerous white men in golf carts, one who muttered “go team” in the most lackluster voice I’ve ever heard the phrase uttered; another who shouted at me that I’d better watch out or I’d be hit by a car. I don’t know if it was a threat — probably not, but still.

I was grateful that my body could carry me forward and fast through all this, even as I missed one turn and then another, finding it challenging to navigate the looping streets of the subdivision. Eventually I found my way back “on course,” but when I returned to our RV, I was about half a mile short of my goal — only 11.7 miles run this morning, but safe.

As I wrote in my What’s Good piece yesterday, Monday is the Boston Marathon, distance running’s big event. And my thoughts today are with Alison Desir, author of Running While Black, who’s running the race and who’s been dealing with white fragility on Instagram this week after her criticisms of the exclusionary nature of the race (not to mention the renowned racism of Boston itself). Folks say they want running to be for everyone. But it’s not; it’s clearly not. My run today — a long and hard one for my physically — was a reminder of that. And while I am training for a half marathon — for my own strength and toughness — I am aware of the ways in which there is much work to be done to un-train and undo the long-standing practices (and technologies) that while gesturing towards fitness actually undermine our collective health.

Yours in struggle,

~Audrey, who promises the next Note will be shorter.

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