This month, we asked our RADrabbits to write a motivational letter to themselves - something to revisit whenever they are looking for inspiration in training or on race day. We were inspired by their words. Read Kelsey + Rebecca, Terance, and Baylee's letters below.
Kelsey Long and Rebecca Bowman
"You did not come this far just to come this far."
As women of color, these words are a constant reminder to keep going, whether it is in training, on race day, or in our everyday lives. We do not define ourselves by our job titles; we are defined by the heart work we put into creating a safe space for others. In our daily lives, we are professional women in the outdoor and legal industry but away from that, we are advocates for mental health and social justice / team leaders / athletes / ultramarathoners. We continue working and running recreationally because our ancestors could not.
Recreational running has not always been accessible for people of color but running has always been a part of our peoples’ lives. From emigrating to Texas from Mexico, to government displacement through The Navajo Long Walk, resilience is ingrained in our ancestry. When we face obstacles in our training or competition, we use these words to remind ourselves that we can overcome the hurdle in front of us. We pull strength in the knowledge that we have strong women that came before us and that we have the possibility to encourage strong women coming after us.
We harness this strength through ultra running and endurance events because it helps us better make sense of the challenges we face off of the trail. We can apply the lessons we learn on the trail to our day-to-day routine and better navigate life’s highs and lows. We choose to suffer out in nature because it helps us to make sense of any suffering or trauma we have dealt with in our personal lives. We also find joy and connect with our true self during these adventures. We better connect with our knowing that we are strong, that we can do hard things, and that we are deserving of peace and happiness. We move to heal generational trauma, we move to empower our communities, and we move toward the best version of ourselves.
*Although women, especially women of color, face many barriers and dangers in the running world, we must acknowledge we are privileged in some ways: Rebecca manages a climbing gym and has access to discounts in the outdoor industry, and Kelsey’s workplace provides race registration compensation to selected events in her area.
Baylee - You have made it to the start line! You have been here before. The similar nervous feeling is settling in. So many people have told you "good luck!" or "you are crazy!" It has basically become white noise because it isn't anything you haven't heard. You have your bib, your race shirt that you probably won't wear. You got your alfredo pasta you ALWAYS insist on getting the night before a race (maybe we should try like I don't know, spaghetti with protein!)
Anyways...But why are you nervous? You know how to run this race. Well maybe not "this" race specifically but you know how to run YOUR race. That is all you gotta do. Just run your race, at your pace. Doesn't matter what everyone else is doing. Do your pace, your speed, and you will get across that finish line. You have done the training, the work, the effort, it's all ready to go. You just need to toe up to that start line and get it done. Remember your why, why you are here and you will get it done. Just like you have before. Once you start, you always find your groove. Oh! Don't forget to eat your sour strips. Darn anxiety won't be getting you this time. Show up to this start line, and run those miles for who you trained for. All the kids and adults with disabilities, their families, and Quincy. Run this one for Quincy. Her infectious laugh, her sass, her smile. Run this one for her. For all the kiddos. And remember one more thing... You DID pay for this. It was your idea! See you at the finish line.
Dear Terance 2023,
You are here for a purpose, so welcome back. Remember the spring of 2020? Signing up for the Mt. Charleston Marathon…canceled. Replacing with the Mountain 2 Beach Marathon…canceled. Replacing with the Mt. Hood Marathon…canceled. And then the resulting agony of those repeated high mileage “final” training runs that led to bunionettes, plantar fasciitis and tendonitis in both Achilles.
Blame the Corona Virus? You should thank COVID and the lockdowns. It forced you to rest your body and allow you quiet time to educate your mind and reprioritize your goals. Winter 2021… your comeback. The humbling “new” Day 1. Slow and steady wins the race. Listen to your body. Repeat your mantra: “I try not to see the end of the journey, for it is the journey that matters in the end.” Fall 2022…the test. The Big Bear Marathon. Despite 20+ stops during the race from stomach stitches to numerous leg cramps, you finished with a Boston qualifying time. You redefined your resilience, your focus, and your perseverance. Will you remember me? I may be hidden away during your peaks, but you will always find me when you fall into your valleys. Never forget to repeat your mantra: “I try not to see the end of the journey, for it is the journey that matters in the end.”
Always here when you need me,