04/22/15

How’s Your Body Image?

The Perfect Body - The One Your In!

The Perfect Body – The One You’re In!

I went shopping for some new bras and panties yesterday.  As I stood in front of the full length mirror in the JCPenney dressing room wearing only my jeans and a bra I looked at myself under the florescent lights and several thoughts crossed my mind. I look thicker, bigger than I wish I did. My stomach with it’s loose, wrinkly skin makes me feel shame instead of pride, even though the stretch marks and loose skin are a reminder that I carried five of the most perfect babies in the world there.  My upper arms are flabby and lack any muscle tone. My breasts are too large and my waist is too big. I’m too short and muscular. I’m  5 foot 2 1/2 and I weigh about 123 lbs. Height and weight charts say I’m healthy and normal, but I still struggle with my negative thoughts when I see myself in a mirror and often find myself stamping the image with a “Not good enough!”

If you could go back in time to another dressing room about 8 years go, when I was about 80 lbs heavier and could read my mind, you’d find the exact same types of criticisms happening. And, if I could go back even further to my 115 lb high school self, standing in the Shopko dressing room where my mom worked, you’d surprisingly hear the exact same things! It got me to thinking about this problem that many women and girls face in the US with negative body image. Why do we do this to ourselves? Why can’t we look at the exact same reflection in the mirror and acknowledge all the wonderful, praise-worthy things we see? The powerful quads, the beautiful, shapely curves, the healthy body that has the energy and ability to run and play with the five cutest kids on the planet or run a marathon or ultra?

I used to think that “If only I could lose this weight, I’d be happy!” That might be the biggest surprise after weight loss. The same mental baggage you had as a heavy person is still with you as a thinner one. I think it takes the same kinds of self-discipline and training that we do to lose weight to retrain our thinking and learn to accept ourselves, flabby tummy skin and all! 🙂

I saw a sign repeatedly at my last 100 mile race that simply stated, “Every step is a gift.” It is! I have family members and friends who aren’t able to run at all. What they wouldn’t give to have the chance to run a race again with healthy joints and stamina? My body is such a treasure, a wonderful tool, that functions well. I want to change my thinking patterns. I have five children with a variety of body types.  They are all healthy, strong and beautiful! I’d like to start retraining my thinking so that I’m a positive example to all of them about self-acceptance and confidence – no matter what my size!

There was a show on Netflix that my daughters and I watched over the summer called Drop Dead Diva. It was about a dimwitted but beautiful model who got into a car wreck and died but then when she got to heaven she pushed the ‘Return’ button and came back — in someone else’s plus-size body!  What I enjoyed about the show was watching the plus size actress strut around smiling, flirting and being entirely happy in her new shoes.  She was fun to watch because confidence is the most attractive asset of all and she was bursting with it! She was happy with herself and I’d say the character, Jane, is the kind of gal I’d like to be too — happy in my own skin no matter what the scale says!

I want to be like Jane!

I want to be like Jane!

My friend, Rachael shared this video today of a personal trainer who was being criticized for her body and her video response is genius and really drives home the point that even if others criticize our bodies, ultimately, it doesn’t matter one bit. We need to choose to accept ourselves first. That really is the only person’s opinion of you that you need – so make it a good one! 🙂

Watch the video and I think you’ll agree. Then hold up your head and remember to count your blessings and be thankful for being YOU – no matter what your size!

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-18463/trainer-cassey-ho-photoshops-herself-to-send-message-about-body-shaming.html

04/6/15

4th 100 Complete! Onto an Exciting Spring Racing Season!

Pickled Feet Jr and Wayne

Last week, my son, Wayne Jr (14) and my husband and I competed in one of our favorite local races – the Pickled Feet 6/12/24 hr/100 mile/48 hour race at Eagle Island, which is less than 45 minutes from our home in Boise and directed by a couple of our favorite pals who are exceptionally well organized, ultra runners themselves. The race is a timed event with one amazing aid station (that serves lots of delicious real food like grilled cheese, potato soup and bacon), access to an actual bathroom and involves running a 2.5 mile dirt, trail loop repeatedly to earn your goal mileage.   I’ve either volunteered or ran this event each year it’s been in existence and just love the camaraderie, the positive mood of the other runners and the volunteers and the beautiful views of the trees, the water and the gorgeous stars in the middle of the nights.

My two buddies, Tate and Frank recreated a photo from 2012 before our first 100 mile race. It brought good luck again. We all buckled!

My two buddies, Tate and Frank recreated a photo from 2012 before our first 100 mile race. It brought good luck again. We all buckled!

Last year, Jr (then 13) and Wayne each hit the 100k mark for the first time in the 48  hour event, which was really exciting! They were both determined this year to beat that distance and had a high-reach goal of hitting their first 100 milers, despite their determination to do so without any real training (they claim this is more brag-worthy.)  They are positive thinkers and I support that and really hoped they’d hit their goal distance! But, I told them they were on their own this time since I, too, wanted to join in the fun and race this time, so I signed up for the 100 mile race (with a 32 hour time limit) and we all looked forward to having some fun at the race!

It really was a great time, too! Each year so many friends come out to participate or volunteer and we always come away with some great stories (and new friends as well!) This year was no different. Wayne and Jr each bested their last distance and hit 65 miles and I completed my 4th 100 about an hour and a half before the cut offs, which was nice. Surprisingly, of the 23 who started the 100 mile race, only 13 finished! I think the temptation to take naps or dilly dally at the wonderful aid station makes it a bit harder to keep your mental focus at times on the clock that is still ticking. I know I succommed to two relaxing naps, which is something I never do during a 100, but it was just so tempting seeing my tent set up right alongside the route with my comfy cot and blankets inside. There was also a big windstorm on Saturday morning that blew a couple of the tents into a nearby ditch. The three members of my family were all in our tent when it hit and we held down the fort (literally) for half an hour before deciding to just disassemble everything and pack it all into our SUV, which took another 45 minutes.  The storm passed, though and we were able to jump back into the race and keep on going, which was nice. That did mean I had to suddenly give full focus to the race, though, since I still had 30 miles to go and about 9 1/2 hours to do it in. All turned out well, though.

Our family after tearing down the tent during a crazy windstorm. We look like hobos!

Our family after tearing down the tent during a crazy windstorm. We look like hobos!

There are always highlight moments in these things and for me, the best moments were those spend doing laps with my teenage son (who is now a couple inches taller than me!) He (and his siblings) are the joy of my life and getting to spend those special times with my son, looking up at the stars and just talking and laughing will be memories I’ll take with me the rest of my life as he continues to grow up and need me a bit less. We bonded a little extra and that’s something I will treasure.  My parents also showed up about half way through the race and I was so excited to see them! This is my first ultra they’ve been to and seeing them cheering and holding up signs with my name really touched my heart (and made me run faster so I could tell everyone I passed, “Hey! My parents are here!! Woo hooo”

My sweet Mom with her sign! My Dad took several photos and chatted with my friends which was really awesome too!

My sweet Mom with her sign! My Dad took several photos and chatted with my friends which was really awesome too!

 

My final lap was spent with my husband, who was wearing a red and black tutu, which made everyone (including me) smile, despite our sore feet.  I was tired. He was tired and we held hands and walked slowly finishing up the race, which was fun.

So, what’s next for me? Wayne and I are directing our 3rd race of the year for our company Final Kick Events, later this week. Lake Lowell Marathon is the race that started it all back in 2011. It’s amazing to think this will be our 5th Lake Lowell! The time went by fast! This is also the first time I’ll get to actually run Lake Lowell Marathon, which is pretty special.  My legs are still a bit fatigued from my 314 mile month in March (which included a 50 mile pacing gig at the Buffalo Run helping my good friend, Seth reach his first 100 mile finish, which was awesome), and the 100 miler at Pickled Feet on consecutive weekends.  I am aiming for a BQ this year and really want to go back to Boston, but this race will most likely be more of a training run and I’ll aim for qualifying at the Potato on May 30th instead.  I do have a couple more fun things happening in the interim, too! Next weekend, I’ll do the Race for Robie Creek, the half marathon I grew up watching my Mom and Aunt Sheila do several times.  I have ran it twice and volunteered a few times, but this year I decided to go ahead and see if I can finally break 2 hours there (a goal tougher than it sounds since the first 8.4 miles are uphill!) My PR there is from way back in 2010 with a time of 2:25. Pretty sure I’ve gotten a little faster since then – but we shall see! 😀

The really big news for this spring is that I’m heading to Denmark next month to run the Copenhagen Marathon and visit my childhood friend Rikke who was an exchange student at my high school when I was a sophomore. I’m so very excited to spend time with her and soak up the beauty of her gorgeous country (and then come home and blog all about it!) 😀 Running the Copenhagen Marathon will be an especially fun way to really soak in the sights of the city and I can’t wait!!

I can't wait to run around beautiful, scenic Denmark!

I can’t wait to run around beautiful, scenic Denmark!