I recently came across this post in Runner’s World (which is a couple years old, but still true today) lamenting the lack of diversity in running. So I know I’m not the only one asking these questions. I’m glad it did highlight the things people are doing (like Black Girls RUN! wahoo) to address this issue. It raises for me, the importance of diversity in ALL areas, though, and how its absence impacts all of us.
I’m writing this post on vacation. On our way up to our destination (an indoor water park), my husband suggested we try a local eatery instead of our traditional road-trip fare, Culver’s (mostly because it takes the kids an eternity to eat their meal and obligatory their ice cream scoop). I was game, as we have had some fun trying out local places. We stopped at a restaurant in the downtown of a small town just short of our destination. The place was busy. Almost every table was taken, so we couldn’t seat ourselves as the sign indicated. One table was empty but hadn’t been bussed yet. So we stood around awkwardly waiting for someone to acknowledge us. There was a short counter with stools, by the register, which we could have sat at–but I was concerned the distance was too great between stool and counter for the kids. AND my kids tend to fall from such things (inherited gracefulness from me). We sat at the counter for a bit waiting for the table to be bussed. The kids were antsy, though, so I missed them clearing the table and an older couple, who came in behind us, ended up seating themselves at the booth without me realizing it.
We decided to just figure out eating at the counter (rather than ask an elderly couple to get up). After about 10 minutes of sitting at the counter, 1 of the 3 people running around finally acknowledged us, brought us menus, and said she’d be right back. About 10-15 minutes went by and no one acknowledged us further. We were sitting right at the counter where they each had to come to refill coffee pots, ring up bills, etc. but nothing. There was a tiny rush of people who came in after us who all got greeted and seated, and one whose order was beginning to be taken. My husband and I started getting more and more agitated, trying to figure out what was going on, and finally decided to take two very hungry, aggravated children out of the restaurant and leave.
We were beyond frustrated with the situation, which seemed to have three possible scenarios: 1) We were obviously not from the area, and non-locals were not welcome, 2) They were all really busy and somehow missed our noisy foursome, or 3) I was the only person of color in the whole place (excepting the busboy, who seemed to be Latino), and I (and my biracial children) were not welcome. We debriefed in the car and couldn’t come to a solid conclusion. In that situation, I would almost prefer an out-and-out racial experience than the plaguing self-doubt and nagging sense of paranoia I feel when things like that happens. These can be categorized as microaggressions (there’s a $1000 academic word for ‘ya), something several friends of my work on researching (like Nellie Tran!). These are the things that plague people of color and cause much neuroses, frustration, and anger. So much of what a person of color confronts these days falls more in line with these microaggressions than the obvious racial slur yelled at you (although I’ve had my share of those as well). While just having people who look different from you around you doesn’t automatically make you a culturally sensitive/aware person, it helps alot (and it would definitely make me rethink the racial elements of the poor/no service we received if there had been people of color in that restaurant).
OK, so diversity is good…Back to running. And the vacation 🙂
Wisconsin Dells is not a mecca of fitness. The hotel/water park we are staying at, which is HUGE, has one tiny fitness room. This room has one elliptical machine, two treadmills, one stationary bike, and two weight machines. In my neuroses to get a treadmill this morning for my speed workout, I woke up at 5:45 am. The lights were out in the workout room, and no one else was in there for a good hour. I had thought about running outside, but doing intervals in the hills of the Dells seemed an extra layer of awfulness I wasn’t ready to tackle.
So it was the treadmill, 5+ miles of the “easiest” speed workout we’ve had thus far (as Jen put it), and my current show Orphan Black. Thankfully, the internet didn’t start going out until I’d finished the run (hence the whirling red circle in the pic).
Because I’m crazy, while my 3 year old and I played tag in a little pool, I worked on squats, pool running, and some other random leg strengthening stuff. That’s totally normal, right? We are in the age of multi-tasking, and those fried cheese curds didn’t eat themselves…
It’s a fairly short trip, but we are packing in the fun!
And all that swimming makes everyone tired–I feel like I read somewhere why swimming makes you so hungry/tired, but I can’t recall why. (Sorry about the shaky video, but I was laughing too hard)
With that, I got 8 miles on the books tomorrow. And I’m teaching in the evening after a long drive home, which means I have the awesome choice of 8 hilly miles or 8 dreadmill miles. While I love Chicago, being from there makes it hard to be a traveling runner. Anything hillier than a pancake is hilly and scary. Ha. Get out there and conquer the world, folks.
P.S. Erik says I am obsessed with Dunkin Donuts, and I should become their spokesperson. They know where to find me 🙂