This past weekend I ran the Rock N Roll Chicago 1/2 Marathon with my sister. 13.1 miles through the streets of Chicago.

13.1 miles gives you a fair amount of time to think. In this case it was 1 hour and 52 minutes worth of thinking.

I feel good.

I feel crappy.

This is hard.

This is making me happy.

The thoughts go on and on.

Spectators cheering for you at every turn. Making you laugh with their race signs and forget if even for a moment that running is really hard.

I’ve seen a fair of amount of race signs in my life. 33 marathons and countless half marathons will do that for you.

In the past I ran to see how fast I could get to the finish line. Sometimes I still do that but  lately I run more to take in the experience of the day, which isn’t tied to a time on the clock. Because I’m not as worried about what numbers are on that finish line clock, I snap pictures along the way.

I documented my race at the Boston Marathon this year. Many photos I posted to instagram but a lot of the others I kept for myself. I wanted to remember what the race was like years from now. Boston always begs the question – is this my last? Will I make it back? This was my “this may be my last time running Boston” way of creating a personal memory bank if you will.

Yes! Yes I do!! 🦄 #bostonmarathon #mile10

A post shared by Dorothy Beal | #irunthisbody (@mileposts) on

Yesterday I saw a race sign that had my stomach churning.

Was I being overly sensitive? Was it because the sign was beyond politically incorrect? What is politically correct these days anyways?

After a failed speed workout last week, one where I ran in the middle of the day in the lovely Northern Virginia summer heat and humidity, I made a little video where I was complaining about it being hot as…wait? Can I even say that? Balls. Nope….can’t say that anymore….delete. I mean yes, I can say it’s hot as balls, but maybe that’s just something you say to a friend, and not something you post as video content on the internet.

Yesterday morning as my sister and I walked to the race start we were snapping videos for my instagram story. My voice, which I can’t personally stand, sounded well…..valley girlish. As soon as I said that on the video though – I was like wait a second? What does a valley girl sound like and why do we even say such things? Because we’ve always said them? Not a good reason – scratch valley girl from my vocab usage. My kids don’t sit Indian Style at school anymore, they sit cross cross applesauce. It’s a phrase that has taken “unlearning” shall we say, and I’m thankful that my children are being raised in a time where we think about how our words affect others. Indian Style should have never been a phrase I was taught as a child.

One could argue that the idea of what is politically correct and not politically correct has been on my mind a fair amount lately. So as I debated whether to write about something I saw yesterday – I thought, are you over thinking this? Is this you being overly sensitive. I decided I wasn’t.

Yesterday a man on the sidelines had a large picture of Bill Cosby and beneath it – it said THIRSTY?

When that man made that race sign – did he think it was going to motivate anyone running 13.1 miles?

Cause you know what’s not motivating? Sexual assault.

You know what’s not funny? Making light of sexual assault.

I wrote a popular article for Active.com on what it can often feel like to run while female. My editor knew when he gave me the assignment that it was going to be an article that people either had good things to say or bad things to say and that I was going to bear the brunt of any nasty comments. He asked if I was prepared for that and if I would be okay with whatever got said about me. I said yes. I felt that writing about women’s safety on the run was important enough to deal with the online trolls. What I didn’t expect was to get emails telling me I deserved to be attacked…..

I wrote an article about not always feeling safe on a run and a man wrote me and told me I deserved to be attacked for that. Let that sink in.

There are a lot of things I could have said to defend my article after I wrote it. I didn’t. I know that I’ve had some really scary things happen on a run {so many so that I had too many experiences to pull from when writing that article} and I often consider myself lucky that nothing worse has happened. But I won’t take back what I wrote…..seeing that Bill Cosby sign on the sidelines of the race Sunday confirmed that. I won’t be sorry that some men were offended that I said “Unfortunate as it may be, she—like me—has to consider whether or not you intend to hurt her. Her life literally depends on it.”

So dear man on the sidelines, that sign wasn’t funny, cute, or motivating. It was offensive. Sexual assault is not a joke.

 

Rock N Roll Chicago Half Marathon 2017

Comments

  1. Thank you! It’s so important to speak out about these things! It can be so depressing that we even still need to point this out, or that men think it’s OK to tell a woman she deserves to be attacked while running alone. But the more we talk about them, the more we diminish their power. Keep it up, Dorothy, and congrats on Chicago!

  2. Oh that’s so gross and so inappropriate and so terrible. It just makes me feel uncomfortable to even hear of a sign like that. I hope things keep moving in a direction where things like that aren’t paraded around as humor, where women can run without worrying about what might happen to them.

  3. Thank you! Thank you for being willing to speak out about sexual assault and the wrongness of joking about it. It shouldn’t be normalized or used for humor in any way, and posts like this calling it out are so important.

    I’m sorry you have had to deal with some nasty comments, but just know you are changing perspectives and helping many. <3

  4. I read this article and I was pretty shocked to hear the terrible responses some men have given you. The are A-holes everywhere. It’s not new and it’s not going to go away. But you should know that the overwhelming majority of men do not think that sexual assualt is ok.

    I run at night on my own and don’t give it a second thought (snakes are the only problem I face). I know that for women it’s different …and it just makes me sad. This has nothing to do with political correctness (and I consider myself pretty politically incorrect). It’s simply about common decency. Keep doing your thing.

  5. I don’t even think that sign makes any sense, on top of being unfunny.

    Also dudes on the internet are the worst.

  6. First of all, huge congratulations on completing the Rock N Roll Chicago 1/2 Marathon! Amazing achievement!

    I really like your blog and the content you are creating on it.

    I’m a copywriter and ex-journalist who fell in love with obstacle course racing last year, and I LOVE reading about badass women in sport, fitness and adventure. So I’m on a mission to find them, share their stories, and quiz them about their training, their motivation, and insider tips.

    Please do not hesitate to visit my blog http://lessonsinbadassery.com, as I believe we share a common passion.

%d bloggers like this: