Have I Made Myself Queer?: Writing and Revising the Gendered Running Body

I’m not here to defend my fashion choices (they’re largely indefensible), but I do think that my unfortunate outfit—in conjunction with the other body modifications and technologies I was exploring and would continue exploring—is worth theorizing. I’m talking here about athletic identity, and that means both having a body that performs and performing a body.


These are just some initial notes and musings as I try to theorize queer running bodies and to queer running and to queer running bodies and running narratives—and to theorize what it is we’re resisting when we push against pavement (and patriarchy).

And to stop apologizing. 

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The (Lustiness of the) Long Distance Runner-Writer*: Metaphors and Erotics of Running and Writing

For years now I’ve been trying to articulate what I identify as a very strong connection (correlation?—see: ligament, see: tendon, see: tend on) between my running and my work—specifically, my writing: 

I see running as a creative (writing) process. I see writing as embodied.

Is this relationship solely (pun intended) metaphorical? Alicia Ostriker defines metaphor as “that which joins, that which announces connection, overlap, shared essence, and yet retains the actual distance between whatever objects it brings together” (89). She calls it “the erotic element in language” (89).



What I haven’t directly asked the women I’ve interviewed (yet) is this: is there something specifically feminine or linked to your identity as a woman about the body part(s) you injured or lost? 

For me, the answer is “yes.”

My knee is fraught with femininity and sexuality.

Its scarring represents the complicated consent I gave to multiple entries.


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Cruciate and Crucial: The Gendered Crux of It

This is what I learned about the word cruciate today, as in cruciate ligament: It’s from the Latin cruciātus, past participle of cruciāre—to torture, rack, torment.  

A now obsolete definition: tortured.

(As in, look what language has racked up here, whose cross this is to bear, whose cross this is that has broken.)

I’m a lapsed Catholic as I am a lapsed runner, so the metonymic weight of the cruciate and its etymology, the cross, the crux, isn’t lost on me. But, lest I cross anyone, let me assure you I don’t mean to paint myself as a martyr or to glorify or exaggerate my suffering. I’m just waxing poetic.

And waning. And wanting.   

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