Welcome! This Blog is run by two amazing lady runners who don't fit into a box.

I am a runner who does NOT fit into the stereotypical body type of a runner. I have hips, a bum, thighs, and breasts. I jiggle all over the place no matter how much spandex I put on, and my gut usually hangs over my shorts. I work in the mental health field, and have a passion for inciting outrage regarding the media's portrayal of women, their bodies, and their abilities. I am a beautiful woman who sometimes struggles to remember it. I am a runner who sometimes feels more like a slogger.


I have the spirit of a runner inside me that just won't let me quit- no matter how much I sometimes would like to! Physically, I certainly have many of the things Chrys mentions up there- hips, thighs, bum, boobs, tummy, all of it- and Lord knows all of it likes to jiggle around while I do just about anything, especially running! I am passionate about body image, the Health at Every Size & Size Acceptance movements, and love finding inspiration in as many places as possible. Working as a therapist, one of my personal goals is to live as in-line with my values as I possibly can- this blog is one of the ways I figure all that out.

Join us on out adventures in running and ramblings on Body Image.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Listen to Your Body

One of the things that we preach at work and try to teach our clients to do is to listen to their bodies. It is also something that I try to do myself - you know, the whole practice what you preach thing? I find it can be a good thing. Credibility and sincerity and all.

I have never really thought of this in a literal sense before now. I took is as a "listen to what your body has to tell you. If it is in pain, it is telling you something. If it is uncomfortable, it is trying to tell you something. If you just listen, your body will help you know what is best for it."

I practice this fairly regularly - especially when it comes to my running. My knee is hurting? I might take some time off. I feel tingly after? I know to drink more. I push myself to achieve my goals, but days like today, when my body and my breath are telling me I am working too hard, I throw my goals out the window and rethink what is realistic.

So? Where is this all going? This is all leading to my trying to figure out how to run without music. I have always run with music. The few times I haven't, I have been with friends, so I have had conversation and company to keep me occupied. I have a race coming up that doesn't allow headphones, though (and actually enforces it, and actually has good reasons for it). So I have started trying to run without headphones, and it's really hard.

Some people swear by running sans music. I have heard all the reasons. It's safer, it lets you be more in tune with your body, it allowes you to be more in touch with nature, etc. And of course there are all the people (my father included) who were runners when there weren't walkmen, diskmen, or ipods. But I have always ran with music. It helps motivate me, it helps distract me, it helps me from getting bored. Sometimes it helps me to slow my pace and not burn myself out (I usually throw a few slower songs on my mix for that reason). It makes me smile (like when the theme song for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comes on in the middle of a crazy nasty hill.) When I am not listening to music, I download podcasts of my favorite NPR shows and it allows me to laugh and think and, yes, even sometimes cry. But I have a race where this is not an option. So, I run without music now.

The problem with this is that I have no option but to listen to my body and to me. To listen to the pounding of my feet and the pounding of my heart. To listen to my breath. To listen to the swish of my clothing and the slosh of my water pack. This is really hard for me! The first reason is that it is boring. Man, does that slosh, that swish, that pound pound pound get boring! More importantly, though, is my breathing. When I am forced to listen to it and when I don't have music or a podcast to listen to, I focus on my breath. I hyperfocus on my breath. I lose my natural rythm and then try to force a rythm on myself. 3 steps in 3 steps out? How about 4 each? or 2? Wait? Don't the enigmatic "they" say its supposed to be 3? Well that doesnt really feel right. You can see where this might get even more annoying than being bored by the swish slosh pound that I was listening to before I remembered I was breathing and forgot how to not pay attention to it!

So today was the 4th run I have gone on without my ipod. It DOES seem to be getting somewhat easier. I definitely hyperfocused on my breath during parts of my run, but I managed to fall in and out of it throughout the run. I was still really bored, and really wishing I had music... but Its tolerable. I guess it is never too late to take your own advice. I need to learn how to listen to my body better, and be more comfortable with it. I am not saying I won't go straight back to my ipod when I am done with this race (come on, I will have SO MUCH Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me and This American Life to catch up on!), but I do think that this is a good thing to learn. I will listen to my body - both metaphorically and literally - and be cool with it.

1 comment:

  1. When running without music (but WITH conversations, thank goodness), I find that I hyperfocus on my breath only when I'm breathing too hard. And three, four, whatevs. Just focusing until you get into *some* rhythm again seems to help. Or at least pass the time.