I Hope You Can Stand Another Post About Body Image. (Because Here It Comes.)

Recently Jennifer Garner was asked if she was expecting because media types had noticed that she was sporting a “baby bump.” Her reply was pretty awesome – she said that while she is not pregnant, she does indeed have a baby bump – from her 3 existing kids – and it apparently is here to stay.

And THAT is how nice girls say “Stop commenting on my goddamn stomach and leave me alone.” Way to Go, Jen!

I was at a mothers’ coffee once where someone told me I was the perfect candidate for a tummy tuck. True Story. And I barely knew her. A group of women were complaining about getting their pre-kid bodies back and one of them commented that I wouldn’t know what they were talking about because I am a runner and in shape. I replied that I knew exactly what they were talking about, because all the running in the world wouldn’t get me back into my old jeans, especially given the – ahem – changes in my midsection after having 3 kids in 4 years. (Note: I didn’t say this in a way that suggested I wanted to do anything about it – I was merely pointing out that your body changes over time – Que Sera Sera.) At which point an almost-stranger turned to me and (after slo-o-o-o-wly looking me up and down) said, “Oh, you would be a perfect candidate for a tummy tuck! You should definitely do it!”

I almost spit my coffee out. What is the appropriate response to that?

Thank you?

Screw you?

Are you on commission for a local plastic surgeon?

While, let me tell you – I am NOT the perfect candidate for a tummy tuck. First, I don’t want one. Second, even though it is probably done in a pretty office, it’s surgery. I generally try to avoid surgery. Last, but certainly not least, I have an almost-11 year old daughter. She sees me as an athlete who honors and takes care of her body, and uses it to do all sorts of wonderful things. There is no way I would be ok with sending her the message that the body I have – which is strong enough to scale Spartan Race walls, climb mountains in snowshoes and run marathons – isn’t good enough. Is so “not good enough,” in fact, that it is in need of surgical intervention.

While I feel for Jen Garner having everyone think she is pregnant when she probably just has been eating a lot of Chinese food, she at least is in a field where scrutiny over her body is to be expected. And is probably part of why she handled the comments with the grace that she did.

I, however, am a freaking lawyer. I’m thin by nature and fit from running. But am I expected to be shredded as well? In my field, you don’t have to look perfect to get work. In fact, your clients like to see you looking like you have been putting in the hours at your desk, not the gym. So why should anyone expect me to look like looking good is my job?  I have a job, and that ain’t it. My body is the amazing vehicle through which I live my life, not a mannequin that exists only to be looked at.

I saw a piece in Glamour the other day on body image, and apparently women feel worse about their bodies than ever (Rest assured, the irony of a magazine called “Glamour” running a piece on body image is not lost on me. But stay with me here.).

Apparently, the biggest factor in the decline in positive body image over the years isn’t the effect of seeing celebrities with perfect bikini bodies. Nope, it’s the fact that lots of our neighbors are now jacked, shredded, tucked, liposuctioned, tightened – whatever combo of diet, workouts and surgeries gets people looking like models.

And it’s true. Nowadays, celebrities aren’t the only ones making it their job to look perfect. Especially in Type A suburbs where Colby and I live, lots of regular folk do it, too.

Well, I am not jumping on this bandwagon. When you get to that point, it’s NOT about being fit and NOT about being healthy, no matter what people claim. Hey, if you are happy working out like it’s your job, and want a little nip and tuck for that “perfect” body, that’s fine. But I refuse to buy in and anyone who suggests that I should can go screw themselves.

These “imperfections” on my body are the direct result of many happy decisions I have made, whether it was to have children, share great meals with friends, or hang out on the couch with loved ones instead of hitting the gym. And I’m not trading any of them for a body that looks perfect in a bathing suit.

So if you end up at one of our neighborhood coffees, feel free to come stand by me. I’ll happily point out my permanent baby bump, I’ll eat (not split!) a muffin with you and I will never, ever, suggest that you erase the visible evidence of some of your most positive life decisions by going under the knife.

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On Running Like a Girl

Since when did “Run like a girl” become an insult?  Or “Throw like a girl”? Or “Fight like a girl”?  Or ANYTHING Like a Girl?  If you haven’t seen this ad, please watch it. Watch all of it. Then watch it again. Then share it. With everyone. When I first saw this ad, I had such a lump in my throat. I really did. What the hell happened?  It made my heart break.  At what point do little girls lose their confidence? According to this new ad from Always feminine products, it happens at some point during puberty.  Apparently, the girls they surveyed claimed their drop in self-confidence coincided with puberty and their first period; which is why the response of a 9 year old versus an 18 year old when asked the question is so drastically different. Sure. It’s a marketing campaign, a poignant one at that, whose intention is to sell Always products. But. It is sparking a broader conversation around female confidence. And I think that’s fanfuckingtastic.

Tina and I had a discussion about Running Like Girls as we were Running 6 Hungover Miles Like Boozebags Girls in a steamy Central Park on Sunday.  We came to the same conclusion.  We both never thought that Running Like a Girl meant we were to bust out with the stereotypical limp arms, flailing feet and ridiculous pouty out-of-breath expression.  Ever.  Tina grew up in a large family with brothers.  If she wanted to play at all, she had to Throw Like a Boy. Or Run Fast Like a Boy.  For Tina it became the opposite; “Pick Tina. She can Kick Like a Boy.”  She didn’t hear the reverse.

For me, it was; “Pick Colby. She’s Strong”- not necessarily “Strong Like a Boy” but “Strong for A Girl”; a different variation of the same damn theme.  Now that I write it, it was a slam. Sure, I got picked first but there was a subtle undertone. I only got picked first because I wasn’t really like the other girls, I was more like a boy. The message meant to be sent was: Girls were inferior. And you just got lucky, Honey. However, it didn’t waver my self-confidence or change my perception of who I was.  I didn’t internalize it. Or believe it. I Was Strong. I Was Strong For Anyone. Not just for a girl. It was that simple.  If you asked me those same questions throughout my life, I would have the same response. I know I would have and I had an EXTREMELY early voyage into Womanhood.  Why would my answers have remained constant? Because I had (and continue to have) a strong, dynamo of a Mother who empowered me and told me I could be anything I ever wanted to be throughout my entire life. And I believed her.

You can do anything.

You can do anything.

You can do anything.  

The message was steady and persistent, constant and loving. As a result, it never crossed my mind that I was inferior to ANYONE. Work hard and you can do anything. That was the message. I never for one minute second guessed that because of my amazing Mother. And I still don’t because of her. Girls need strong women present in their lives in order to debunk the social myth that being “Like A Girl” is a negative thing.  They need them. Like fish need water. It’s imperative. Confident girls remain self- confident when they have strong role models ever-present in their lives. It is then that they grow to be empowered, strong, confident women.

As a result, they will believe in themselves. Always.

 

Eat the Cupcake

 

And ice cream, and cookie butter, and chocolate...

And ice cream, and cookie butter, and chocolate…

A few weeks ago, I went to a great running store in Fancytown to pick up some new kicks (Mizuno Wave Inspires, by the way, and they’re awesome). On my way back to my car, I stopped into a Crumbs cupcake shop for a coffee. While waiting for my drink, I saw 3 grown women sitting at a table around a single cupcake, forks in hand, going in for the kill.

3 women.

3 forks.

One poor, unsuspecting cupcake.

The women were slim and fit. Fashionably attired in Lululemon and Sweaty Betty. So I’m pretty sure that they weren’t splitting the cupcakes for economic reasons or because they were headed to a Biggest Loser weigh-in.

I know I shouldn’t judge. I don’t know their stories. Maybe they are all diabetic. Maybe they are prone to cavities. Or just weren’t hungry. Or it was the last cupcake in the case. Maybe they had each just finished a steak bomb and only had room for a bite of dessert. Who knows?

I don’t know any of that. But I do know that 3 grown women huddled around one measly cupcake is a sad sight, indeed.

Colby and I clearly think fitness is important. And we both eat pretty well (for the most part.). But at the end of the day, we believe that everything you do to stay fit should be rooted in honoring your body and loving yourself. Honor your body by taking care of it in the best way you can. And love yourself enough to indulge in a treat when that is what you crave.

It can’t be all chia seeds and kale, folks. It just can’t. Maybe cupcakes aren’t your thing. I for one, would rather sit down with a plate of nachos over a dessert any day. But everyone has a favorite food that wouldn’t show up on an ideal fitness plan. Don’t deny yourself. Eat it now and then. And no feeling guilty when you do, either – sometimes you feed the body, and sometimes you feed the soul. It’s all good.

Life is short. Eat the damn cupcake.

The Real Bullshit Meter.

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What’s legit?
Monika Allen.

What’s lame?
Self Magazine.

That’s the Real ‘BS Meter.’

Monika Allen ran last year’s LA Marathon dressed as Wonder Woman. Complete with tiara, tutu and jazzy knee socks. She ran with her tutu clad, supportive, superhero-friend Tara Baize. They ran as superheroes, since Monika was in the middle of her chemotherapy treatment for brain cancer. Monika channeled her inner superhero, slipped on that tutu and ran the LA Marathon. Like a boss. The friends made their tutus as part of the Glam Runner project they founded to support Girls on the Run San Diego. Those fabulous tutus have raised $5,600 for the girl empowerment running program.

I’d call that Legit.

SELF Magazine asked permission to use their tutu clad LA Marathon photo in an upcoming issue (April 2014). While I do not know Monika personally, I’ll go out on a limb and say that she was probably pretty stoked that a popular women’s magazine specializing in health, fitness, beauty, nutrition and happiness would publish her photo and possibly generate publicity for Glam Runner and Girls on the Run. Two wonderful, wonderful causes. Win-win. “Stoked” turned to “shocked” when she learned that her photo was used in the magazine’s April issue, in their “BS Meter” piece, mocking women running in tutus.

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That’s lame.

Actually. That’s bullshit.

Why are magazines that allegedly look to empower and encourage women to be their happiest, healthiest, best Self, tearing women down for running a marathon in a tutu in the goddamn first place? Really. That’s what’s lame? So I guess the “Die Tumor, Die!” written on her bib wasn’t a tip off that the two superhero-tutu-clad women running a marathon were running for an actual reason. I mean a reason other than a “What NOT to Wear While Running a Marathon with a Supportive Friend Who Has Brain Cancer” list. Heaven forbid a women battling brain cancer should don a tutu and summon her inner superhero to power her way through chemo AND a marathon. Monika is a Superhero. She’s exactly the person a women’ s health magazine should profile. She is a person all women should embrace. A runner. A survivor. A philanthropist. Christ. An inspiration. Can we please just stop the bashing, shaming, tearing down and judging once and for all? Like I’ve said. It’s fucking exhausting.

Here’s our next challenge: Support Glam Runner, Girls on the Run and Strong Women Everywhere by being Positive. Yup. That’s it. BE. POSITIVE. Screw magazines that Tear Down. Instead, surround yourself with friends, family and messages that Build Up. Call it the Anti-BS Meter.

Remember: You are fanfuckingtastic.

And even more so in a tutu.

Is Anyone Ever The Biggest Winner?

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The Big Reveal. Last night a Winner was crowned on The Biggest Loser. I happened to catch the exact moment Rachel Frederickson confidently strode onstage last night to a combination of applause and stunned looks of shock from the two trainer’s. She asked The Host if she could take her shoes off before The Final Weigh In. She hopped on the scale, crossed her exceptionally thin arms across her exceptionally thin frame and hoped….

Her starting weight was 260lbs.
She weighed in last night on live TV at 105 lbs.
She lost 155 lbs.
She won the competition by losing 60% of her body weight.
In 5 months.

Honey, I think it’s safe to say the shoes really wouldn’t have mattered.

The Twitter-verse erupted with disgust. Skeletal! Gross! Shock! Gasp! Waaaay too thin! Even Jillian and Bob looked a little salty. While I am not in the business of diagnosing eating disorders from the comfort of my living room couch, I will say that 5″4 and 105 lbs puts her BMI at 18. Which, love BMIs or hate BMIs, puts her “Underweight.” In the history of The Biggest Loser, not a single contestant has lost that percentage of their body weight. Ever.

So I ask…

Is anyone really that stunned that an extreme weight loss competition resulted in EXTREME WEIGHT LOSS? Frederickson played the game. She was in it, to win it. And she did. Losing 60% of your body weight in 5 months doesn’t sound like healthy sustainable weight loss, in my humble, pajama clad opinion. But. The one who loses the most, wins in this forum. And win she did.

Wasn’t that what The Biggest Loser viewing public wanted to see?

No?
Too much?
Too little?
Then what.
Because “Just right” is for fairy tales.
Who really wins?
Ever.
I mean honestly.

I’m fucking exhausted.

Over-weight. Obese. Healthy. Fit. Skinny. Skeletal.
What? What is it? How should I be?

Can’t I just be me and be proud of who I am? Who I have become? Can’t I just honor my body, live with intention and be a kind human being?

Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.
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Strong is the new skinny.
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Extremes. You can’t be “thin” you need to have a “thigh gap”. Or a “bikini bridge”, whatever the hell that is. You can’t be fit. You need to be jacked. You have to have a 12-pack and a body fat of 3%. This kind of one-up-man ship is terrifying. Can’t I be healthy? Is anyone hashtagging #healthy? Oh but it’s Thinspiration! Jesus Christ. Meanwhile hashtagging #thinspiration next to an Instagrammed super model with a #thighgap is promoting unrealistic expectations about body image, perpetuating the myth that you are never, ever good enough and, instead of being inspiring, is actually demoralizing. The same holds true for the motivation memes of the uber-fit.

Self confidence? What self confidence? (#gone)

I want to start a new campaign.
I am ME. And I’m Fan-fucking-tastic.
Just trying things out here.

Oh how the body image pendulum swings. And it’s making me nauseous.

The Impatient Patient

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My Sick Room. Previously known as The Living Room.

Day 3 of being tethered to my couch. 8 inches of snow outside. A pair of snowshoes weeps quietly in the corner. Stacks of magazines piled beagle height sit on the coffee table, dog eared. A 1,000 piece puzzle rests partially unfinished. Ricola wrappers lay strewn about like confetti tossed after celebrating the World’s Largest Pity Party.

My running shoes have locked themselves in the laundry room.

We all have surrendered.

The flu sucks. And I am not a good patient. I am getting antsy. I am also wondering when I will actually feel better. I’m hoping tomorrow will be a Whole New Fever Free Day. I would probably be more antsy if I actually felt human and it wasn’t currently 6 degrees outside. But alas, here I am, clad in my favorite sweats and a Madonna circa 2008 “Sticky and Sweet Tour” T-shirt. Ironic really, as I am far from sweet today. More like Snotty and Phlegmatic.

In addition to binge watching Dexter, catching an episode of Kathie Lee & Hoda for the first time (Are people really watching them? Holy Booze Bags.), I’ve also been catching up on The Blogosphere and perusing the internet. In the process, I decided to pull the trigger on the Key Bank Vermont City Marathon. It must have been the fever because right now I don’t think I can run to the mailbox. I figure I’ll run again….Someday.

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Crazy. Pants.

What I did accomplish today was in the fact department. I learned 5 Fun Facts which I will gleefully share with you. I will warn you. They are totally rando. Give me a pass. I’m delirious.

1. The Best Pizza in America is from New Haven, Connecticut. Frank Pepe’s to be exact. This will not come as a shock to us New Haveners. We tend to be of 2 camps. You like Pepe’s (No. 1) or you like Sally’s (No. 7). Actually. Scratch that. 3 camps have emerged. Pepe’s, Sally’s or Modern Apizza (No. 11). I myself have a serious thing for Pepe’s White Clam Pie. And Sally’s plain apizza?? There is nothing better. Ever. Period. The end.

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The White Clam Pie. In all of its glory.

2. Spanx are squeezing the life out of you. Apparently doctors are now saying that shape wear can squeeze internal organs, cause digestive issues, bacterial and bladder infections and affect breathing. It’s the Corset of 2014. Only because we don’t have a trio of attendants to lace us in, we squeeze our asses into them in a bizarre Spanx Dance. Come on people. I like to be smooth and sleek as much as the next gal but I’m not risking a bladder infection and a course of sulfa drugs to look skinny. Seriously. Triple Spanx-ing. That’s the rumor. Can’t we just like who we are for a change without nerve damage and digestive issues? It’s exhausting.

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3. Froot Loops are all the same flavor. LET ME SAY THAT AGAIN. They are all the same damn flavor. I’ve been fed a bowl of fortified lies since the late 70s. What a damn let down. I blame that asshole Toucan Sam for perpetuating the myth. Self righteous bird. His “nose always knows” my ass. What is “Froot” anyway? It’s not “Fruit.” I should have known it was a sham blend all along. Sheesh.

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A bowl of fortified lies.

4. Lena Dunham was photoshopped on the cover of Vogue. For the love of all things Chanel, EVERYONE IS PHOTOSHOPPED ON THE COVER OF VOGUE. Is anyone shocked? Does it really matter? We photoshop our own selfies on Instagram for Pete’s sake. Should there be outrage? At least they chose to put an un-emaciated woman on the cover and not some beautiful alien with fabulous hair and a 3 inch thigh gap. Baby steps. Baby steps.

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Lena Dunham on Vogue.

5. The oldest Facebook user turned 106 years old today. Edythe Kirchmaier is also California’s oldest licensed driver and the oldest living graduate of the University of Chicago. When Edythe first signed up for Facebook, she couldn’t enter her birth year. It took Zuckerberg et al. one month to verify her age and fix the glitch. 1908. Telegraphs. Candle stick telephones. And the Model T Ford. Now she’s posting status updates on Facebook. Go figure.

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Tech Savvy Granny.

Neat, right? Just a few tidbits from The Land of Flu. From me to you.

100 Days

Colby posted the following video last week on our Facebook Page:

You probably have seen it elsewhere – I saw it pop up in a variety of places. If you haven’t yet taken a few moments to watch it, please do – I promise you it is worth it! Incredibly inspirational.

LaKeisha chronicles 100 consecutive days of going to the gym. It’s a common resolution –go to the gym regularly, get fit. Many people don’t stick to it. LaKeisha did. For 100 consecutive days (and, hopefully, more – I assume she is still working out, even though her 100 day video is complete).

What strikes me the most watching this video is not the change in LaKeisha’s body, although she loses weight and goes down several sizes. Most striking to me is the change in her spirit. In the beginning of the video, she seems so, so sad and tends to avoid eye contact, looking off to the side as she talks about her life and her desire to make a change. Even her smile is tinged with sadness. By the end of the video, after 100 days of hitting the gym – and, it appears, hitting it hard – she sparkles. She has a twinkle in her eye, looks up proudly as she speaks to the camera, and boogies across the screen at the end.

I am sure that her smaller size contributes to her newfound confidence, but I bet that taking on a difficult challenge – and meeting it – contributes to it even more. She may have more progress to make with regard to weight, fitness or dress size, but one thing is certain – she went to the gym for 100 freaking days in a row. And nobody can take that away from her. Nobody. 100 days at the gym is a HUGE commitment. And she met it. No wonder she sparkles.

It got me thinking about the 30 day challenges that our Spartan Race friends keep throwing at us. I think they’re great. Even something like running a mile, which is not so daunting for distance runners like me and Colby, takes on a whole new meaning when you commit to doing it every day. Every single day. BOOM! A relatively easy task becomes a real challenge. And few things feel better than taking on a tough challenge and then meeting it. Just ask LaKeisha.

Running Like A Diva. The Half Marathon Recap.

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Our Mantra. But really, how can you keep calm when you’re covered in glitter?

Feather Boas. Tiaras. Shirtless buff men. Champagne. Roses. Bling. Oh and PINK. Hot Pink. Like Everywhere.
Bachelorette party? Chippendales Review? What happens in Vegas…?
Nope.
Try, Half Marathon.
Where the terrain is flat and fast, and the runners are all Divas.

Welcome to the Diva Half Marathon, Long Island. Tina, Our Friend Cindi and I ran this baby on October 7th, 2013. Yes, I am finally getting to the recap. Yes, I have time now that I am tapering for the New York Marathon. And No, this may not necessarily be my last glass of wine. (Hey. Just being honest People. Just bein’ honest.)

Having run this half marathon before, I can tell you, every time I have run it, it has been a blast. And not because it’s the prettiest half marathon in the Tri-State area. (Ummm. No.) The course? Flat and fast. The scenery? Uh. Concrete Jungle Chokes an Awesome Park in the Middle of Long Island? Christ. You run past Nassau Coliseum. After a New York Islanders Game. On a weekend. There were still orange and blue clad Islander Tailgaters milling around doing keg stands in the parking lot when we ran by early in the morning. You do however wind up running a lap in Eisenhower Park, which is this awesome greenspace within a urban landscape. The park is huge. It’s a nice retreat.

So what makes this race great? The medal is insane. Anything rhinestone encrusted with a spinning diamond that you can put your race picture in, wins hands down. It’s bling on acid. Champagne at the finish? No beer here. No, no you heathens! Divas are civilized. We sip champs at the finish. Shirtless, ripped men who hang those insane medals around your neck? Totally objectified. (But honestly, I’m not complaining.) Tiara station? Here I was thinking I was reaching for water at mile 11.5. Instead a High School Cheerleader slaps a tiara on my head and throws a hot pink feather boa around my shoulders. Who needs water after that? {Thumbs pointing at chest.} Not this Diva! I’ve clocked my fastest half marathon time at this race, and even that isn’t what makes it great.

What makes this race great is seeing women of all shapes, sizes and colors, RUNNING. And rooting for one another. All together. And shouldn’t we root for one another? Think about it. How often in our adult lives do we root for one another? I’m going to go with rarely. (And I’m a goddamn cheerleader.) And that’s sad. It really is. For so many women, this is their first half marathon. This is their Everest. These women decided that being comfortable was not where they wanted to be. So they grabbed their best friends, set a goal, and ran for it. Along the route? Spectators! Tons of kids, husbands, partners–all cheering for their Diva. Cheering for your mom as she runs a half marathon is just plain awesome. Such an example. I love that.

And Tina, Our Friend Cindi and I? We may have looked more “Corporate Challenge” than “Diva”, but trust me: We bleed GLITTER! We empower one another! To me, that’s what Running Like a Diva is all about. Empowering, not competing. We are women, not girls. We are happy, laughing, cheering, pasta eating, wine swilling, fast as all hell, Divas. To the core. And I love that the most.

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Cheerleaders! Boas! Fun! Photo credit: https://m.facebook.com/RUNLIKEADIVA

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Shirtless buff men! Photo credit: https://m.facebook.com/RUNLIKEADIVA

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The Bling.

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Your Diva Bloggers!

An Open Letter to the Lady in the Way Too Huge Cotton Tee

Hi,

I see you. Lately, I see you often. I am here, running behind you. Even though you never acknowledge me. I know you hear me. I know you can see me from the corner of your darting eyes. You cross the street, as far away as you can get from me, every time you feel I am too near.

You won’t look up.

You are running. Even though I am certain you don’t believe that you are. In fact, I know you don’t believe it. There you are, looking straight down at your feet, willing them to move faster. They are not being compliant. Your stride lacks confidence. You are unsure. Your legs are not as strong as you would like them to be and it is bothering you. It’s bothering you immensely. You are frustrated. I can see it. You shuffle along, huffing and puffing, in a four sizes too large cotton T-shirt, that hangs limp, well past your knees. You are a shadow of your former self. This much I can clearly see. You are struggling. You walk. You run. You walk again. You slap your thighs in disgust. Defeated. You can see me. You can hear me. Yet, you cross the street. Again.

You run from mailbox to mailbox at first, stopping short when you reach the second as if you’ve run right smack into an imaginary wall. You stop dead in your tracks. Spent. Your ponytail flops forward over your face. You exhale. Frustrated, but not thwarted. You start again. I smile at you.

You can’t see it because you won’t look up.

Telephone pole to telephone pole. First two. Then three…You keep at it. Pole by pole. I slow my pace and I watch you. You’re up to 3 poles before you slow, out of breath. Only this time, you don’t stop. You keep moving. Forward.

And if you would look up?

You would see me running along behind you, cheering you on. I am proud of you, my Stranger Neighbor in the Too Huge Tee. I am rooting for you. Christ. I WAS you. Running from pole to pole, house to house. A half mile. A mile. A 5k. And so on… You are stronger! Your strides more confident! You are progressing! And isn’t that wonderful?! You ARE a runner- just as much of a runner as you think I am. We all have to start somewhere. And I will never forget where I started. Ever. Thank you for reminding me. It takes more courage to start, than to finish. You are so very brave. Someday, You will be Me, The Runner You Think I Am, zipping along and you will spot someone, Starting. They will stop short, and crash into the imaginary wall that exists only in their mind. Just like you did.

Only when it happens, I hope you are looking right at them. And cheering away.

-Colby

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Read. Believe. Repeat.

I wonder how long it will take for me to actually warm up? I am chilled to the bone. I have a beagle on my lap who is the temperature of a small tricolored furnace. And yet, I am freezing. I ran 18 miles this morning in wet, light snow. When I finished, I started shivering and haven’t stopped yet. That was 3 hours ago.

Training for a spring marathon is hard. Especially when you live in Connecticut which received roughly 3 feet of snow last week. Who needs Warrior Dash? There should be a “Abominable Snowman Dash” with obstacles like Plow Dodging, Snow Pile Jumping, and Slush Running. Screw those hot stinky sweaty mud runs. (I would totally medal in Plow Dodging by the way. I am good.) I had an “ok” run. It wasn’t my best, it wasn’t my worst. It was long. I’ll give you that. My body felt a little sluggish today, a little “old” feeling if you will, which got me thinking….

A while ago (Back when Tina and I were Baby Bloggers), Tina had written a piece about body acceptance entitled Your Body Is a Wonderland. Read it. It was honest. It was authentic. It was genuine- just like Tina. She had asked me a question in that blog post- a “Ok Colby. Gimme the Top 10 Reasons YOUR Body is a Wonderland.”

MY body? (Hey! Not fair! You started this shit Lady!)

I immediately began sweating. She wanted me to actually LIST what I LIKED about myself?! Oh Poodle. (Sweat beading.) So I really thought about it. I wanted to be honest. Genuine. Authentic. I wrote my Top 10 List in a reply. Ten things I LIKE about myself. The list was harder to complete than today’s 18 mile run. The list entered my mind today the same time I decided that I hated my body. That my legs need to be stronger. That my core needs to be tighter. That I need to be 7 pounds lighter. (Yes. 7. A nice prime number.) I just dragged myself out of bed on a snowy morning and ran a boatload of miles. I should be HAPPY with myself. Why all the self-loathing? I’m not quite sure. I was uncharacteristically hard on myself. And it bummed me out. I was sure I needed to drag out my “reply” and revisit it. I need to keep reading it until I believe it. So. No more hiding in a reply.

Top Ten Reasons Why Colby’s Body Is A Wonderland:

1. I have a huge mouth. And an awful lot of teeth. My smile is massive. My laugh comes from my core. It’s bigger than big. And loud. Really loud. I happen to love laughing and smiling which works out quite well under the circumstances. Oddly, I don’t have laugh lines….yet.

2. My stomach is flat. Even at my heaviest weight in college, it was flat. Cap’n Crunch, wings, beer, nachos….still flat. Never an apple, more like small pear. Now I’m balanced and lean.

3. I have a pin in my ankle and do not have eversion or inversion in my right foot. Yet I have run 4 marathons, 15+ half marathons, and logged 1,000s of miles running and it has not given up on me. Ever. Sometimes she let’s me know she’s there, and I baby her. My ankle isn’t perfect, but she behaves perfectly. The scar that tattoos much of my ankle and foot only make me look tougher. Bad ass even.

4. My back is very muscular- even when I’m not lifting. Arms and shoulders too. My colleague told me I was “jacked”. It made me smile. (Then I challenged him to arm wrestle.)

5. I have a crooked middle finger. So does my mother and her mother. I love that.

6. My eyes are brown. Not the perfect piercing blue of my sister, the gray-blue kind eyes of my mother, nor the beautiful green of my brother. They are brown like my father’s. But mine are light brown. Sometimes amber. They are sensitive, soulful and smiley all at once.

7. I have strong legs. They carry me everywhere. They are short, but man they are mighty. I KNOW my 40 year old legs can kick the snot out of my 25 year old ones before they even knew what hit them.

8. My crow’s feet have hummingbird’s feet. My face is not weathered but it does look older than when I was 30. (However, it looks better at 40 so I’ll take the trade off.)

9. Because John Mayer told me so. (Honest!)

10. My body is a wonderland because despite how hard I am on her sometimes, she never disappoints. She works as she should, free of complications. For that I should honor her more.

Read. Believe. Repeat. Today and always.

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