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.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Maybe I AM Still a Runner

Yesterday, I ran my first race since March. In March I ran a half-marathon (well, ran & walked- but ran more of it!). Yesterday, I struggled through a 5k.

In the time between the two, I've struggled tremendously to get any sort of running motivation going. It's been HARD to go out and train. And I've gotten upset with myself, frequently, for how far down I've fallen- that in March I ran well over half of that 13.1 miles and now, just a mere 6 months later, I struggle to run a solid mile. And it's all pretty much my own fault, although I like to blame it on other things (i.e., the heat wave, my knees, "I just needed a break from it"). Really, it boils down to being incredibly inconsistent in my running. Had I taken only 1 week off of running post-half, I have a feeling I would have run yesterday's race straight through, hills or no hills (AND OMG WERE THERE EVER HILLS)!

But there was only one reason I did yesterday's race- to see if I could reinvigorate my running spirit. To find out if "runner" really is something that lies within me. I'm so very happy to say that, yes, I AM a runner. I felt myself WANTING to try to muscle it up those hills. And when I zoomed across the finish line (if only I could run the whole race like I run the last .1!!), I felt elated, strong, and ready to train again.

A big part of me wishes that I had waited to run my first race at a time when my running buddies (including my fabulous co-blogger) could join me, as there is nothing quite like running a race with friends, but I knew to strike while the iron is hot. And while I feel in many ways as though I am starting from scratch, I know that isn't true. The first time I ever ran (many many moons ago) was on a treadmill in a gym in South Florida. I couldn't eek out even a quarter mile at a slow pace then. I couldn't go 1 minute at that point, really. Yesterday, even though I was woefully under-trained, I managed a solid quarter mile up a hill and then some for my first run- and then I ran many more times throughout the race, often for longer stretches than .25 miles. And, um, this was outside- NOT on the treadmill!

So even when it feels like you're starting over AGAIN on the SAME goal- you're not. Even when it feels like everything you've worked for is gone- it's not. That applies in running, and it applies in life. No matter how many times you have to start and stop and start again- you benefit from them ALL. And when something deep inside you says "You want to do this- you want to BE this".... listen. No matter how far away that goal might feel, that voice is your truth.

Now I'm going to go find another race. Hopefully one my lovely running sisters can join me on. Because while I AM still a runner all by myself- it'll be better with my friends.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Beach has Been Reached.

This weekend was pretty crazy – crazy in a good way, that is. I spent the weekend with all of the krazy kids (of all ages) from City Year New Hampshire at Reach The Beach, participating as a runner for the first time. It was a harrowing event, for sure – fraught with a stinky van of runners in various stages of sleep deprivation and subsequent caffeination, worries (mainly from me) about not being able to complete assigned legs and “letting down the team”, and a tire that no one was REALLY sure would make it until the end of the race. Add in the (rather unexpected, judging from the clothing we all brought) SNOW, a last minute change in course because of Hurricane Irene, and a few missed hand-offs, and it was, indeed, an experience.

Here is where I wax sentimental about City Year. Basically, the young men and women that serve in City Year are some of the most AMAZING people I have had the pleasure of knowing. I kind of forgot that having been away for several years and having had a rather difficulty service year. Seriously, though. Being around the open, generous, heartful, positive, wonderful culture that is City Year and City Year Alum was amazing. Despite being by FAR the slowest person on my team (our team came in with an average pace of 9:04 as the preliminary results have been posted, and my average speed was probably about 13 min… ) The camaraderie, support, and love was all there. Even on my run that started at 4:30, my team was there, cheering me on – everyone got up from their sleep to see me off and cheer me back in on all of my legs, knowing I needed the support. I got congrats and I got TRULY positive feedback, because we were all there to have fun and to do some crazy race that some crazy person dreamed up. Sure. It would be nice to have a good time. To finish better than CYNH had every finished before (which we actually managed to do), but more importantly, we were there for each other. We bonded over shared experiences (the corps and running), and enjoyed each others’ company. I would happily let anyone that I rode with crash on my couch, so long as they still wanted to after meeting my crazy dogs. I was offered more couches, beds, and spare floor space than I could possibly take up in one weekend when I headed up here unsure of what my plans were as far as sleeping arrangements. That’s the thing about City Year. The people who are involved with it, and especially those who stay involved with it or close to it once they have finished their time as a corps member are so giving, caring, and helpful; someone who falls into that category has an automatic “vouch” from CY as far as their trustworthiness. I felt perfectly comfortable sleeping on a strangers couch, and they felt perfectly comfortable having another one of the runners let me in after they were asleep and letting me crash at their house. This is a rare thing in this day and age.

I served in CYNH in the 07-08 school year. Of the 14 people involved in the team (12 runners and two drivers), 4 were from our year (and we were 4 of the 6 girls involved – yay girl power!), which was just amazing. Of the people who I know where they came from for this event, 2 came up from DC, one from California, I can from North Carolina, and two came from Milwaukee. Wow! It was amazing to see some of the people who came before me and to meet some of the people that came after me. A bunch of people from my corps year were there, and I got to catch up with many of them. Those who are not rocking it out in City Year as Staff members are doing some amazing things to contribute to the world and to the communities that they live in. We have someone working at a college, a few teachers, myself and another mental health worker, several people working for non-profits geared towards bettering educational opportunities for minority youth, some working for the Student Conservation association and I can’t even remember all the other absolutely amazing and giving and caring things that these alum are doing. Yes, I had a difficult corps year. Yes, I ran into (and am still running into) some professional roadblocks because of changes in rules and laws that happened during that year or that I would not have run into if I had not taken a year off after grad school. Having these people in my life, however, makes it all worth it. This weekend really helped me put that back into perspective.

Now for some ramblings on the running and the importance of training properly. Because wow! I was not trained properly! Now, I knew this going in to the event this weekend, but I also knew I made a commitment, and I knew that I hadn’t seen New Hampshire or a lot of my friends from CYNH in over 3 years. So I decided I would go and tough it out. While I don’t regret that decision in any way, shape or form now, maaaaan did I regret that during my first run, which was 5.1 miles. That doesn’t sound too bad despite the fact that I haven’t run more than 3.3 miles in… oh… forever, right? But this was 5.1 miles AND HILLY. The net elevation gain over that 5.1 miles was 144 ft. Again – sounds totally doable, even if you have been training on flat runs. Then you realize that it’s cold. That you have Asthma, and that Asthma isn’t really a fan of a)hills, b)cold air, or c) things it isn’t used to. And that it’s actually running UP 551ft of elevation gain with some reprieve thrown in there to bring the net gain to 144. OOOOPS! Now, my asthma is pretty manageable. I can train it to handle a lot of things (like… oh… running…) though it does sometimes flare up out of the blue and it does slow me down overall I Think. I just really did myself a disservice by not training hills (not much to be done about the weather.) PSA for the day – train for your run! Don’t just train – train for each specific race that you are going to race! If it’s hill – make sure to train some hills. If it is going to be humid, get your butt out and run on humid days! If it is going to be dry and cold – try to find some dry and cold days to go and run! Train, train, train, and listen to your body. If you have to walk, walk. If you have to take a day off, take a day off. Train, Train, Train, and remember to throw some fun in there too. Listen to your body and listen to the “Experts” (i.e., do your research), and you will be much better off on race day for the effort :-)

That’s definitely MY plan for my next big race (in Feb) and… dare I say it? For Reach the Beach 2012.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Today I went on my longest run in a great long while. I had a distance goal (no speed goal) of 4 miles, and a vague idea that I might try out my understanding of the Galloway method and run for 3 minutes and walk 1 minute for as long as I can. The first half of the run went very well- maintained that ration for 1.75m, then needed to walk a little longer, so planned to switch to a 2:1 ratio. Unfortunately, midway through my first 2:1, right about the 2m mark, my left ankle barked at me that it had a blister.

I tried to walk it off, adjust my position and generally determined to *just deal with it.* I briefly paused to check my ankle and noticed that the band-aid I'd lovingly placed over my blister spot (trying to be pro-active!) had slipped off. Annoyed, I attempted to reapply and adjust my sock and *just keep going.* And the more I tried to just go through it, the more pain I was in- both from the blister and from doing things like walking on my toe, walking on different areas of my foot, and trying to move past it. Finally I broke down and realized I was just gonna have to walk the rest of the way. Even that was too much and finally, I stumbled over to a bench for support and decided to take the still-functioning band-aid off my right ankle and relocate it to my left, hoping it would manage. I tied my shoes extra tight, determining that this would help and, if I had to sacrifice the top of my foot to a bruise from the shoelaces that this would be better than further ripping the skin off my ankle.

Unfortunately, all those things I was doing to try and muscle through the pain made it impossible to run more. The entirety of the second half of the run was a walk- but a power walk. And it got me thinking.

A blister is nothing but a small wound that is insanely irritating. I began to think about what emotional blisters people might have- what small wounds are insanely irritating and effect your choices, even though it seems like they must be tiny. In what ways do people try to deal with those things that ultimately make them worse? And when do people finally realize that maybe, just maybe, it's ok to need support for the small stuff? That it's ok to stop and truly course correct- whether that means sacrificing a goal, sacrificing something else that might be going ok, or sacrificing an innate sense of stubbornness that, perhaps, needed to be sacrificed anyway.

And then maybe you can learn a lesson or two. For instance, I'll now be packing my new Camelback MiniMULE with fresh bandages (nothing like a little coping ahead)- and perhaps doing some reflecting on what emotional "blisters" might be holding me back in other areas of my life- what may need to be "sacrificed" for an overall betterment of my life.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Too Pretty to do Homework

My friends, being my friends, often know the sorts of things that I like to get pissed off about, and last night they surely delivered. My good friend Arielle sent me this link last night, and then I saw some other people had posted about it on facebook this morning.

The link and the posts were about this shirt, which came to us thanks to JC Penny:

Now. This didn’t piss me off nearly as much as Urban Outfitters did back in the day…. But I am still pretty appalled. First I should say that J.C. Penny DID do a good job by listening to consumers and listening to consumers quickly. They took the shirt off the shelves rather quickly, and issued an apology statement (or, as close to an apology that you will get from a large retail company.) But I am still appalled that this shirt made it to the racks in the first place.

Let’s think about the messages that this shirt sends.

1. Pretty girls don’t have to do homework
2. Because homework is lame.
3. Boys are good to use for completion of lame tasks. Like homework.
4. Boys are good at school.
5. Because ugly girls are not pretty, they have to do lame tasks
6. Like homework. Ugly girls do homework.
7. So smart girls are ugly.
8. Being pretty is way more important than school.
9. Who really cares about school anyhow?
10. Being interested in school is lame
11. Or at least being interested in school is for boys.

Seriously? Is there no mother or father of a young girl in whatever department of J.C. Penny chooses what they will carry in their stores? Did they not think about what sort of message this is giving a young girl aged 7-14?

End Rant.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Back and Forth, Round and Round

Went on an outdoor run for the first time in a little while this evening. For the past several days, I've thought about so many different blog posts for this rabble rousing blog and most of them revolve around "starting over yet again."

My relationship with running feels like it goes around & around & around. I start... I go... I start improving... and I stop. I start... I go... I start improving... and I stop. Repeat ad nauseum for about 3.5 years. Why I stop is an issue that probably belongs in a personal diary, but what I'd like to talk about here is why I keep going and how, despite the challenges, starting over does get easier every single time. Take tonight, for instance. I'm coming off of 2 weeks minimal exercise at all (illness), but I still managed the majority of my neighborhood loop with only 2 walk breaks and 2.0 miles in less than 30 minutes, which (for me, right now) is great. It gets easier to get back on the horse every single time.

Along with my co-blogger, I work in the (same) mental health field- and with a very specialized population. That job simultaneously keeps me running and makes it hard to go. Sometimes I feel like the things I preach are not the things I practice; other times, I feel they are directly in line. Oftentimes, I remind myself that I, too, am human. I, too, am allowed to struggle with things and thought patterns that maybe, just maybe, aren't entirely effective or healthy. It doesn't actually make me a hypocrite; just a human.

Running has taught me MUCH about myself. But the first and foremost thing that it's taught me (which likely could have been recognized far earlier in my life) is that I am incredibly determined and resilient. Sometimes I may be in a "beginner" running group, sometimes an "intermediate".... but ALWAYS a runner.

I'm excited to explore what that means in this blog. Pardon the rambling (perhaps that can be a fourth "r" for this lovely alliterative blog) as I become accustomed to blogging to a wide audience!