Just a few thoughts before race day about not being silent and changing the world…

Opportunities in life don’t always come for the swift, the fastest. Sometimes opportunities come for those who are willing, who are looking, who are ready.
And so, sitting here in this plane listening to the songs that guided me through those 13+ mile runs, accompanied my singing on the way to 7 AM bike rides and swims, a rush of life and energy flows through my body. If I could, I’d stand up, look to the sky, and shake my bones. But instead I’ll sit here and stare steadfast out into an azure sky singing of possibilities, egging us on to come to life this day, and reflect.
                                                                                                                       . . . . . . . . .
I still remember the start of this new year. Midnight celebrations atop Federal Hill, with a few friends, swearing we’ll live forever young. I took in a deep breath of New Year’s air, so fresh, so filled with unprecedented possibilities. 8 months til race day, I think, and decide to urge my friends that it’s time to go home now; 1 AM was way past my bed time.
“It’s only 1 AM!” They retorted.
Staying up til 1 AM won’t make you a champion, my inner disciplinarian calls out. Shut up and live a little, the rebel inside of me pushes back.

There’s this feeling you get each New Years Day when you envision what journeys you will create in this year to come. What accomplishments will happen? What change will happen? What will be those events that, in your wildest of hopes and biggest of dreams, you never could have seen coming?

Flash forward to September, I’m on a journey I never saw coming. It started with an article that pissed me off. And rather than simply IMG_2144vent about how unfair it is through gritted teeth, I found myself empowered with the most freeing thing of all: action. A people-pleaser in recovery, I found a madness inside of me that imbued me to write all over t-shirts. To make a statement every place I go with this on. To hear a gentleman ask me if he could take a picture of the women weren't allowed shirtback of this one (left) because he “never thought of it that way before.” It gave me conviction to advocate for women’s participation in the TDF during my August 70.3, which birthed into earning a rolldown slot into the 70.3 World Championships. The opportunity to share about the inequality in women’s cycling with the Baltimore Sun. The opportunity to educate baffled friends and family who didn’t realize that this opportunity doesn’t exist for women.
I remember reading that ESPN article and coming home that night with a fight in my heart. I looked up to the night sky and felt a surreal sense of peace that this isn’t the way it would stay. That we will one day, perhaps as soon as 2014, see women compete in this race. And while it won’t solve every gender equity issue, it sure will be a kick-ass message for the world.
Looking back, reading that article was probably the best thing that happened to me all year.
I’ve never felt more alive.
I’ve never felt more fearless.
I’ve never felt more willing to vocalize injustice… to not stay silent while my insides are burning.
To become loud, to make some waves, because wading in the baby pool of life just isn’t cutting it anymore.
I see it.
I feel it.
It’s in you.
It’s in me.
The passion, conviction, eagerness, and creativity to do something-anything- about the things that don’t settle well with your heart.
You and I have voices.
We create the story. We are characters, who move, and breathe, and think, and do. We simply need the willingness to not be silent about the things that matter most to our hearts.
And when we do so together, we change the world.
Here’s to peaceful rebellion—- for the rest of this year, and into 2014,
                        

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Las Vegas, NV
September 2013
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