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Dear Michaela

Dear Trap Money Michaela,

Thank God we came of age at a time in which sports bras had already been invented and normalized. Did you know a 36D nipple goes from 0 to 60 faster than a Ferrari? On my run the other evening I was listening to this podcast from Outside magazine about the history of sports bras and I’d just like to take this moment to formally apologize to mine for all the strain I’ve put them through during this training.

Even though the race got cancelled last week, I went for my long run on Monday night. I didn’t mean for it to be my long run, I meant to take it easy this week and it was late when I started and the weather was kind of dreary. I’ve missed the last few weeks because I had a cold and then allergies and then a nagging cough (wet, not dry, and no fever, please stop asking, Mom) so when I started and I said to myself, ‘you can stop whenever you feel like you’ve done enough.’

I’ve learned this, that I have to set these goals for myself, otherwise I’ll go out and run six miles but be mad I didn’t do seven, or that I didn’t run them fast enough, or that I had to stop and catch my breath after sprinting up a hill, or that my quads kept cramping up. In short, I have to remind myself that a run doesn’t have to be perfect to be good.

So I started running. The trick that they don’t tell you about the runner’s high is that it’s not really a high, it’s kind of like a blackout. For me, it’s somewhere between miles 3 and 4 where things stop becoming such a burden, my body kind of just gives up fighting and is like, ‘Oh, this is what we do now? We run? Okay, well, if we’re not stopping then I guess the only option is to keep going.’ I kept asking my body if it would like to stop and hoping it’d say yes and it just kept saying, ‘I don’t know, I think maybe we can go a little more.’

I’m grateful for a lot of things. Sure, the race got cancelled BUT it got cancelled at a time when we were over halfway through with our training. Remember Month 1? God, that was the worst. Let us be grateful that we’re not still in Month 1, on top of everything else.

Sure, I’m working from home every day, as opposed to the two or three days a week I was doing it before, BUT I’m used to this. I’ve got my desk set up. I get to sit by a window. I love my curtains. Do you remember last year when I first started freelancing and working from home? How wild of a roller coaster that was? The fear and the uncertainty and the absolute agony of days spent with no company but my own brain? I mean, all of those things are still present, but they’re familiar fears by this point.

Sure, the gyms are closed and I hate home workouts but, I remind myself, I’ve done hard things before. Remember when we counted macros for the first time and I didn’t know that a blueberry was a carb and you said you’d punch a small child for a Pop Tart and we had weekly meltdowns over the fact that neither of us knew if what we were doing was actually working? We’ve done hard, impossible, meltdown-worthy things before and we’ll certainly, surely, absolutely do ‘em again.

Sometime in month 2, you asked me why we chose to do this. Each week, my long run is the furthest I’ve run before. There was a lot of stuff I wanted when I was younger but didn’t even try because I didn’t think I could make it. Leave Texas. Be a writer. Fall in love. Run a race. Lose weight.

But then I did those things. I moved across the country and I lost 100 lbs and I paddled 30 miles. I keep writing these dang letters, whether anyone asked me to or not. And I have to wonder, if I was wrong about some of those things, then maybe I’m wrong about some of the other ones too: that I’m not good enough, that I’m broken, that I’m unlovable. If I can do this, plus a few other hard, impossible-seeming things that I was convinced I wasn't made for, I'm real curious about what else I can do.

When I first moved to DC, four years and eleven months ago, I'd see runners everywhere: sprinting up the hill of the capitol, running beside the Potomac, thumping steadily along root-buckled sidewalks. And I remember wondering if, just by nature of living here, I'd become a runner too. It took five years but these long morning runs, along the mall and around the Tidal Basin and up the steps of Lincoln and across the Key Bridge, feel like a gift, like the city saying 'here ya go, here's a treat for getting up and putting in the work.'

In the podcast about sports bras, Lisa Lindhal, who invented one of the first sports bras over forty years ago, said she made a list of all the things she hoped for in a bra. Must Haves, the practical and realistic, and Nice to Haves, things she figured she wouldn’t get but, hey, a girl can dream. On the list of things she dreamed about when she dreamed of a future with accessible sports bras for all, was being able to go for a run on a hot summer day and take off her shirt, same as any man.

I grew up playing soccer with girls thinner than my pinky who could run for miles, meanwhile my asthmatic ass with my double DD breasts could barely manage a mile without stopping. I spent a long time convinced I was not a person who was ever meant to run shirtless on a hot summer day. Why are we still doing this? I don’t know, I’m not sure, but I think I keep showing up because that’s what I’m dreaming about these days, Mickey: a shirtless run down the mall in the middle of the summer.

All my love,

Thirst Trap Susan


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