Train to be badass. That's assuming you have the option.
I watched a video on YouTube tonight called Free to Run by Northface. It was about a woman, Stephanie Case, who founded an organization called Free to Run, an NGO that creates and supports running programs for women in countries where women typically have not been allowed to participate in activities that require them to use their bodies--particularly running outside. I don't know much about the organization yet; I know that it exists in Iraq and Afghanistan. The documentary follows the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan last year and the Free to Run program in that country, and Stephanie Case's mega six day ultra in Italy two months later. The documentary flips back and forth between her on the ultra course and then back two months in time to how they were preparing in case the Taliban gained control of Afghanistan again. Which it did. All of the staff and participants in the program are in grave danger for having been associated with an organization that promoted women in sport. Running changed their lives. They talk about it in exactly the same way that I talk about how running has changed my life. And now they live with the very real terror of being found and having the very worst happen to them. Because they run.
I don't immediately know what to do with this. It's not like it's new information, exactly--or maybe, more accurately, it's not surprising information. But seeing it laid out so succinctly in a 31 minute documentary really brought it home. I know I'll donate to Free to Run, and I know I'll look further into the organization to see if I can do more. How can I not, when I'm free to run and running has given me back my life?
What I can do right now is get up tomorrow morning and train to be badass. I've had that thought, or variations of it, over and over for the last six years. I've become a student of running and I give a lot of my resources to it. But I always know there's another level that I'm just kind of shying away from. I have the luxury to choose where I run, when I run, if I run alone or with a group, what I wear when I run, and what I want running to be in my life. It doesn't matter what my ability is, I have the same equal opportunity to maximize my potential as a runner. And I live in a place where there are absolutely no barriers to that.
So for now that's what I can do--I can maximize my potential and not waste it. I can be grateful for all the resources I have available to me. I can keep this thought in the forefront of my mind: I Get To Run. And I can train to be badass.