body image

My twitter timeline is filled with triathletes. Some professional and a whole lot of age groupers like myself and some super age groupers who kick the crap out of races regularly. I follow a skewed set of the population that is about health, pushing boundaries and community.

I love this community, but sometimes being a part of it can make you doubt yourself.

I started running because I wasn’t happy with the way I felt in my big size jeans in my closet and I refused to purchase the next size up. I was at the heaviest weight I had ever carried and feeling unsatisfied with me. So, equipped with a dog and a 3.5 mile loop I started running. It was hard, it was tough and regularly I felt like a fat, out of shape kid.

Let me be clear, I have never been fat. But I can feel that way more often that I’d like to admit. It’s hard to wish that your body would look like so and so’s body, or that you just don’t think you look as good as you should in those pair of shorts. And tri kits? Those things are hard to look good in for even professionals. It’s also hard to put on that skin tight kit in front of a population of triathletes that work their asses off to look good and perform well.

And pictures? Instead of looking at how happy we are, we instantly look at our bodies and think, well, the camera isn’t doing me any favors.

I’ve been working hard over the last two years to ignore that voice in the back of my head that says I look pudgy or that I really will never get rid of that cellulite on my thighs. Because you know what? This is my body and I am proud of it. I may not look like a supermodel but you better bet the bank that I can beat her in a race. My body will carry me as long and as far as I ask.

And I’ve asked a lot. Since I started running in 2010 I have completed every distance race from 5k to marathon and have pushed my body into triathlons and have completed everything from a sprint to most recently an Ironman.

You know why? Because my body has carried me when I asked her to without (much) complaint. And I think that’s pretty damn special.

3 Comments on “body image

  1. Yes! This needs to be talked about more. Even by dudes.

    A great example is at my last tri when Laura (Frayed Laces) joined my wife in spectating and cheering me on. Laura was talking to Sam about how she wished she was as skinny as some of the athletes rocking bikinis. Sam was rolling her eyes, wishing she was as skinny as Laura.

    When Sam told me about this convo, I pointed out that there were probably other athletes and spectators looking at HER and wishing they looked more like HER. Everything is all about perspective. You can’t spend your whole life measuring yourself against every single person you see. And hanging out with triathletes all the time can be unhealthy and distort your body image.

    Everyone has to work to be happy with what they’ve got and what they can do with it instead of chasing impossible and constantly changing perceptions on what we should look like.

  2. Heidi – I LOVE this post and I can tell you – I feel exactly the same. Thank you for putting it into words.

  3. Yes, yes, YES! You hit the nail on the head. For some time now I’ve been “writing” a similar post in my head. As I passed the 30yr mark this yr my head has been swimming with these thoughts. Excellent post Heidi!!

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