Saturday, October 10, 2015

Disruption and Change: A PW and BLM at TCM

Twin Cities Marathon, October 4, 2015
I ran Twin Cities Marathon for the 6th time last Sunday. My goal was to finish. As seems to have become a pattern every few years, I have injured myself. Notice the verb tense...I did it to myself, not a passive "I got injured." I need to take responsibility for running with pain and continuing to run with increasing pain. Ironically (or just bad luck?) the trail running goals that I set and blogged about in January seem to have exacerbated the pain by causing a lot of foot and ankle strain. In August, I did Mines of Spain 1/2 (more like 15.5 since I got turned around...) and since that early August day, my right foot has not been okay. I proceeded to get help from a physical therapist, as I had done in 2012-13, and I also asked for help from a chiropractor, for the first time. I honestly don't know what exactly is the root of the pain. Is it stress? Twisting and weakness and imbalance from trail running? A pinched nerve somewhere from some spinal misalignment? That's what the chiro thinks of course, especially since it's gone right/left/right in terms of foot injuries 2008/2012/2015.

My injury isn't the point of this blog (if you want to read more about mentally overcoming the frustration of injury, see my blogs from 2013). Suffice it to say that I finished the marathon and obtained my finisher tee-shirt (very important!). I also clocked my slowest time ever (PW! Personal Worst). But I am grateful! The point is to draw attention to the power of DISRUPTION and the importance of reflecting on the imbalance that causes the need for disruption. Disruption is a powerful form of resistance that can facilitate some healthy and necessary changes.

On the micro scale, the disruption of injury forces one to change one's activities--or continue hurting oneself to the point of incapacity. I personally need to re-adjust and rest and let myself heal. I need to acknowledge and be witness to the disruption my body is signalling. If only we as a society would listen to our Body too. There are integral and important parts of this Social Body that are injured and sick and only the DISRUPTION of something like Black Lives Matter or Occupy--the disruption of populist social movements-- might prompt the changes necessary to heal it.

In case, dear reader, you are unaware of the controversy that surrounded this year's TCM, the St. Paul chapter of Black Lives Matter (BLM) had announced plans for a disruption event at the marathon. This announcement caused quite a kerfuffle among the white-bourgeois-dominant running community who, perhaps, did not quite understand the inconvenience of a disrupted event is nothing compared to the "inconvenience" of systemic social inequality. The best essay I have found on the TCM BLM issue was written by the blogger at Run Vegan, and I encourage you to read it in full.

Disruption is a powerful force for reflection and change--even with seemingly insignificant changes (see for example, this NY Times blogger on how changing the direction of his yoga practice disrupted his world). I want to change, but it is hard. I am in the habit of running a lot, almost everyday. But I can change. It will be easier with support of friends and family, and those who are willing to call me out if they see me doing something unhealthy, especially now that I have expressed my desire to change these habits. I have decided to take action. Similarly, changing the presumptions, privileges, and the blindness, deafness, and dumbness of dominant society and media to the rampant racism and inequality of our Social Body is hard. It will continue to be difficult because our Social Body is in the habit of inequality and of justifying it through all sorts of tautologies. But here too, disruptions, and subsequent support and reminders are, and will continue to be, necessary. We have created this imbalance in our Body, and we can heal it, together, through mindful action. Let's remind each other, daily--in class, in friendly gatherings, at the gas station--wherever we see inequality and racism in action, call it out. Support and love those who are already calling it out. With love and compassion, let us work together to heal our Social Body.

From N. Scott Momaday:
House made of dawn.
House made of evening light.
House made of the dark cloud.
House made of male rain.
House made of dark mist.
House made of female rain.
House made of pollen.
House made of grasshoppers.
Dark cloud is at the door.
The trail out of it is dark cloud.
The zigzag lightning stands high upon it.
Male deity!
Your offering I make.
I have prepared a smoke for you.
Restore my feet for me.
Restore my legs for me.
Restore my body for me.
Restore my mind for me.
This very day take out your spell for me.
Your spell remove for me.
You have taken it away for me.
Far off it has gone.
Happily I recover.
Happily my interior becomes cool.
Happily I go forth.
My interior feeling cool, may I walk.
No longer sore, may I walk.
Impervious to pain, may I walk.
With lively feeling may I walk.
As it used to be long ago, may I walk.
Happily may I walk.
Happily, with abundant dark clouds, may I walk.
Happily, with abundant showers, may I walk.
Happily, with abundant plants, may I walk.
Happily, on a trail of pollen, may I walk.
Happily may I walk.
Being as it used to be long ago, may I walk.
May it be beautiful before me
May it be beautiful behind me.
May it be beautiful below me.
May it be beautiful above me.
With it be beautiful all around me.
In beauty it is finished.


[Acronyms! PW= Personal Worst; PR= Personal Record; TCM= Twin Cities Marathon; BLM= Black Lives Matter; PF= Plantar Fasciitis]

2008 TCM 4:41:29 (1st marathon; PF right foot)
2010 TCM 3:53:27
2011 San Francisco 4:00:24
2011 TCM (PR!) 3:49:34
2012 TCM 4:24:51 (PF left foot)
2014 TCM 4:19:54
2015 TCM (PW!) 4:47:08 (PF right foot)
BLM and 'Merica

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