So, I like to run. For me it’s a hobby, just like cooking or reading or any other number of pastimes. Yet unlike my other hobbies, when I say I’m training for a race or enjoyed a long run, people always ask me why. This question is normally followed by a proclamation like “But it’s so boring!” or “You’re crazy!”
Note: I’ve never, not once, asked anyone why they like playing guitar or reading comics or anything else that brings them joy.
But, to actually answer the question: Sometimes, I lace up for exercise. Other days, the need to clear my head or bust stress gets me out the door. Sometimes, it’s to explore a new trail or enjoy perfect weather (even though that may feel like a distant memory during the throes of the polar vortex). Other times, it’s a social thing – the equivalent of a catch-up over coffee or drinks.
And it’s that last reason that prompted me to write my blog post for the Toronto Yonge Street 10K. Which is another cool thing about running – you get to meet other amazing, incredibly healthy and dedicated people and occasionally cool opportunities come up, like being a TYS10K Digital Champion. It lets me be part of a cool and very supportive community – and I already can’t wait for race day.
Check out the TYS10K team here to find great advice for everyone from newbies to pros and tell me: Why do you run?
Or, if you don’t run, what’s your stress-busting hobby?
I recently gained a significant amount of weight.
Isn’t that just a horrible thing to admit? It was probably one of the least devastating side effects of a drop in my thyroid hormone levels. For months, I struggled with why I was feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. Why, while changing nothing, I was packing on the pounds. For a chronic overachiever like me, having an under-performing thyroid feels incredibly frustrating.
Luckily, a tweak to my medications (which I’ve been using for three years) meant the waterworks stopped and I could stay awake. But, I’m my own worst critic, and those extra pounds have lingered as an affront to my vanity and a reminder that I can’t always control everything.
Always a pretty average gal – my size 7.5 shoes are amongst the first to sell out, and I don’t tower or disappear in a crowd – I’ve been looking at myself since last autumn with a pretty critical eye. Skipping certain wardrobe items. Feeling a little more self-conscious than usual.
And then, I read Lauren Fleshman’s piece in Runner’s World. She shares a rocking (post-baby!) shot of herself on a New York Fashion Week runway, then follows it up with a photo that she hates. Both shots are taken the same week, and she’s an elite athlete. Obviously, she’s still looking strong in both, but she does paint a great picture of the difference between the runway fantasy and the day-to-day reality. Even more interesting: it took two months (and six revisions) for her to feel brave enough to publish the post online.
Her post really struck me, because she owns it (even if it took a while to reach that point). She celebrates her body, and her strength. Which made me think: I can run a marathon. I can ice skate, swim, bike, kind of ski and even do two pullups. And I’m struggling to get dressed in the morning? What nonsense is that?
So, for Lauren, here’s a shot that I hate.
I’m on the beach in Nicaragua, at probably my heaviest point, and can point out at least 11 things I dislike, but you know what? Ultimately: I’m on a beach in Nicaragua, I’ve just gone surfing, I’m celebrating completing my first marathon, the sun is shining and, really, life is pretty good.
So, maybe it’s time to put a few frocks back in my rotation and start re-casting those negative self-assessment habits.