Wednesday, June 2, 2010

It's National Running Day!

It's national running day! Did you participate?
I did. Just like I did last year.

And, just like last year, I ran four miles this morning.

Really, you should get out there and run. Running is great! It gives you callouses on the balls of your feet, blisters on the tip of your middle toe, tender toe nails, creaky knees, and a tight IT band. Really, it's awesome.

Running makes your body ache and your stomach ravenous. It empties your wallet because good shoes aren't cheap. Sunscreen, carefully applied to your face may wind up in your eyes thanks to the intense sweat that running is inclined to produce. Then you have to run with one eye closed, to keep the stinging at bay, all the while hoping that whomever you pass on the road won't think you're winking at them.

Running always sounds like a good idea. Often times, it actually IS a good idea. Other times, when you're facing a gigantic hill and you can feel a hideous bruise forming on the top of your big toe because your shoe is rubbing the wrong way, you might think otherwise.

The night before you plan to run, running seems like the best idea on earth. The minute you start running, you might start to question your judgment, but give yourself a pep talk and convince yourself you'll feel better and less achy after one mile. By the end of your run, you hate everything. You hate your feet, you hate the ground, you hate the sun, the hills, the wind, your stupid thunder thighs and all the music in the world.

And then, you're done and suddenly you LOVE running again.

It's a bi-polar type of experience.

If you did not participate in National Running Day, that's all right. I don't blame you. You probably have really pretty feet because of it. My feet? Um, not pretty.

I'll never be a foot model.

That's okay. I've come to terms with it and have decided that my life will simply have to move in a different direction. Bodies are a funny (and complicated) thing. This morning in Body Pump class we were talking about body image and bathing suits. The thing is, I don't think any woman out there is completely happy with her body. Even those women with lovely, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover model bodies only see the flaws. It's true that most women have horrible body images; I know I do. No matter what I do or how hard I work out, I'll never be happy. I will forever see my body as flawed no matter how strong and physically fit I am.

It's a shame, really. Just think of all those European women who go to topless/nude beaches and bare it all. They bare more than perhaps they should but are completely unashamed; I admire that type of moxy. Now, I'm not suggesting we start baring it all at the beach. I'm not a prude, but I do posses a certain modicum of decency and modesty and know that letting it all hang would be a very bad idea. I'm just saying that I wish I wasn't so self conscious and body image focused. I'd probably have a better time in life if I didn't spend so much time wondering if people can see the cellulite on the back of my thighs.

When I was a young teenager, I gained a lot of weight rather rapidly, resulting in some dreadful stretch marks. Lots of stretch marks. While they've lightened over time, they're still quite evident. Even though I'm a lot smaller and much more fit than I was back then, my body image has been forever ruined due to those stupid stretch marks.

Thankfully I didn't get any stretch marks when I was pregnant; I was one of THOSE pregnant women, other pregnant women love to hate. I didn't have any morning sickness, refrained from getting stretch marks, only gained 20 lbs and lost it all immediately. I'm not sure how any of that happened, but it did and I consider myself pretty lucky. And even though my stomach lacks those pregnancy battle scars, I'll still never ever wear a bikini.

I like the idea of promoting positive body image; especially now that I have a susceptible young daughter. I've already overheard some of Caroline's older playmates call people chubby, even those who are clearly NOT chubby. Having been the target of grade school bullying over my own weight, I'm pretty sensitive to that type of name calling. Needless to say, I made it very clear to the girl who was making those claims that what she said wasn't cool. I probably got a little more animated and emotional than I should have, but there's nothing like having previous school yard self esteem killing moments revived before your very eyes.

In a perfect world, I'd love to eliminate fat talk (particularly from my own mouth) and encourage the idea of having a healthy body versus a skinny body. It's hard, though. I find that I'm catching myself from saying anything too negative about my own body around Caroline, but it's so ingrained in me that I fear it'll be a LONG process.

1 comment:

nancy said...

Just don't talk about how many fat grams there are in ice cream while driving by Jack in the Box in Monterey!
I still remember that moment as the one when your brain switched into anorexic mode.
Uh, running? no thanks.