A little bit on body image

This isn’t directly related to running, but it’s pretty close and since most of you who read this blog are female I thought I’d take a minute to talk about body image. Like every other female (and male, but I’m not one so I can’t comment directly) I definitely struggle with body image. I don’t like this, I don’t like that, this is too big, this is too small… running has been a great way to get over some of my misgivings about the way I was made but they still creep up from time to time.

This morning I was at a work event and wearing a sleeveless dress. It’s hot out and I’m pro second amendment so I busted out the guns (ok sorry, couldn’t resist). Actually, one of the things I get annoyed about is that my body is SO muscular and solid that I can look stocky even when I’m very lean. I was talking to a woman I don’t know well who has what I consider the “ideal” body type. She’s light, lean, small boned with nice small limbs. She’s blonde and sweet and petite and so so cute. She leaned over and said, “I would just kill for your figure! Your muscle is so beautiful and you’re so strong. I’m so jealous!” I was floored! Here I was, jealous of her leanness and lightness and she wanted more of my muscle! I’m not saying this to fish for compliments but it did make my day.

I, probably like a lot of you, spend a ton of time with really lean runner friends not wearing much more than shorts or tights and a tank top or tshirt. It’s easy to compare myself to them and think, “wow I’ll never be as _____ as ______” or  to believe that they don’t struggle with feeling inadequate in their own skin. But I think the truth is that we all see flaws in ourselves and all have pieces internal and external that we’d like to change. But the very thing we hate could be something someone else wants. The fact is, we’re all different. And beauty is different to everyone. And we were all created with a purpose and our body is part of that. And that’s cool.

I don’t have this stuff figured out. But these thoughts were just rolling around in my head. And the fact that we can run at all is pretty amazing.

And yes, I did my 800s the other day. They weren’t the fastest I’ve ever run them and it wasn’t necessarily fun, but I did them. I think I might be on my way to wanting to get fast again. Maybe. I don’t know. We’ll see. Tempo run tomorrow will tell me. At 4:45 am… YIKES. Now I’m off to run easy without a garmin. It’ll be fun!

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5 responses to “A little bit on body image

  1. Looking at the theme from a male perspective I think most people compare themselves to others and most often find an area where they wish they could change, whether it is to be leaner, more muscular or whatever. In my own life I fought for decades to control my weight, usually losing the battle, but since running regularly for the past 6-7 years have reached an acceptable weight level and maintained it. At age 50 I don’t feel that it is realistic to pursue the goal of a toned body of a 20 year old, but I am trying to build muscle – not so much to look better, but rather to pursue my goals as an ultramarathon runner. I think it’s good when we look at ourselves and try to achieve and maintain a healthy body, but we should be careful about comparing ourselves with others. We all have our individual body types and should work with what we have. I will never be a fast short distance runner, I’m short and stocky, but I can run for half the day (literally) when most of the light and lean sprinters have long since dropped. Be proud of your muscular and sportive figure, I’m sure you worked very hard to achieve this, and (to me) it doesn’t make sense to try to be light and lean if that’s not your body type.

  2. this is so so so true… we are our own biggest critics and just like you said, half the time others covet parts we don’t. it’s always a good reminder to love yourself and be nice to your body… i always say when you say nice things to it, it will be nice back and repsond with good running performance 😉

  3. Yeah! I always wish I were more muscular! So what if I can run fast, but only if I could show some awesome guns or a six-pack or two…

    So I know where you’re coming from. At some point, it’s cool to know other people appreciate some aspect of you that you might not necessarily like.

    A good reminder…and a great compliiment from your colleague!

  4. This is a nice story. I have to wear a short dress tonight and I am so self conscious about my muscular legs. I can’t and don’t want to change them because then I would be a lesser runner, but why must I have man calves?

  5. this is very true! the grass is not always greener when it comes to body-types.

    i lol’d at the 2nd amendment, as cheesey as it was 🙂

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