Posts Tagged ‘ running

re-picturing RESPECT

Although I can talk until I’m blue in the face about loving my body, one of the most frustrating experiences for me as an artist, researcher, and photographer is running into women who strongly dislike or hate their bodies or particular body parts. I want to shake my head at these women. And tell them how wrong they are…that they should love their bodies. Perhaps if I convince them, I can also convince myself. I love my body in a lot of ways, but there are still some aspects that I have yet to completely embrace.  And lately I’ve wondered whether love is the end game when it comes to our bodies.

Is it possible to love your body completely and fully all of the time?

I don’t think so. Progress and not perfection.

I’m wondering if a first stop along the way to the loving destination is to respect our bodies.

Generally speaking, respect is conceptualized as esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person. Applied to the body, it would involve seeing the body as worthy, even if it is not completely lovable. In fact, you could respect different aspects of your body without even necessarily liking (much less loving them).

Case in point. Have we ever talked about my feet? If so, you will definitely remember. I am not a big fan. My feet our wide and my toes are stubby, short, and crooked.  A friend of mine once told me that he would never walk around without shoes on if he had my feet. And last week, my physical therapist added further insult to my running injury.

Well sort of.

He told me that I had the biggest fat pad on my heel that he’d ever seen. Great. Another thing to hate about my foot. What is a fat pad, you ask? It is a one-inch structure on the heel that is designed to absorb shock and cushion the heel bone.  Although I’m not crazed about being a fatty when it comes to my feet, that fatty heel is one of the things that keeps me from injurying my foot during running. Do I love my fatty heel? No. Do I respect it and am I grateful for it? Well, yeah.

Do you think there is a difference between loving and respecting your body? In what ways do you love your body and in what ways do you respect your body?

re-picturing NEW (YEAR’S) RESOLUTIONS

This is the time of year for new beginnings, resolutions to stay the course or chart a new one, growing into the best possible version of ourselves.

And, we often have a list (sometimes a very long list) of resolutions that involve changing our bodies. Lose 20 pounds.  Stick to a new exercise routine. Sleep more.

But, how new are your new year’s resolutions? Mine seem hauntingly familiar to last year. And, guess what? I weigh the same as last year, I’m exercising the same as last year, and I still have chronic insomnia.

I wonder if the problem isn’t our bodies, but rather our resolutions.

Perhaps instead of resolving to change our bodies in radical ways, we might resolve to radically change how we think about our bodies. Perhaps instead of making sweeping changes on January 1st, we might try to make small changes throughout the year. I’m trying to love (or at least appreciate) a different aspect of my body each month. I’m starting with the easy ones…my ability to run, breathing as a way to feel totally alive in the moment, using fashion to accentuate the body parts I love (or at least don’t hate).

Are you making some truly new, New Year’s resolutions when it comes to your body? If so, I’d love to hear what they are and how their going!

Cheers to a new year and new (year’s) resolutions!

re-picturing HIGH EXPECTATIONS

I have high expectations (like really high expectations) for myself and others. I take pride in these high expectations and I suspect that you might too.

I’m what psychologists call a maximizer. A maximizer is like a perfectionist, someone who needs to be assured that they are making the best decision or reaching the best outcome possible at all times.

However, sometimes high expectations make us miserable.

Case in point. I’m training for a marathon. I went from not running, like not jogging, not running down the block, not really exercising at all (besides the running to the fridge for a yummy treat)… to trying to run 26.2 miles. Last weekend, I was supposed to run 18 miles, but at 15.5. miles my knee pain (recurring injury) became unbearable and I had to walk the last 2.5 miles. The entire time, I was thinking about the 2.5 miles I wasn’t running, instead of the 15.5 miles I had already run. What the heck? What’s going on here? By all standards, I had a run a long distance, like a very long distance. And, it made me frustrated, disappointed, angry, bitter, and generally ungrateful.

This week, I’m trying to feel a bit more grateful. I’m trying to focus on the positive instead of the negative. The negatives and positives both represent truths. Just tonight, I ran 8 miles and my knee is aching, but I just ran 8 miles.

Have you been focusing on the miles not run, rather than the miles run?

re-picturing SECRETS

Dear readers, I have not been completing open with you. I’ve been holding something back. A lovely, little secret. It’s not the type of secret that will spread like gossip from old men over coffee and donuts or that will cause an internet frenzy as people share the latest and greatest over Facebook and twitter. It’s just a plain, little, lovely secret that I’ve been keeping for months, but have a sudden urge to share.

I’m training for the Honolulu Marathon on December 11th (26.2 in Honolulu). This will not be surprising for those of you who have read my running ramblings (secrets have a way of finding the light, despite our greatest efforts to keep them in the dark) or for those of you who have trained with me or cheered me on during my brief long-distance running stint from 2004-2008. However, for some reason, I’ve desired to keep my training and return to long distance running under wraps since I started in August. And, it has gotten me to thinking about why we keep secrets.

Often, it is not our embarrassments, our failures, our  “why did I say that’s,”but its our deepest yearnings, our dreams, our “wouldn’t it be amazing if I could actually do that’s” that we keep secret. Although we might say that we are being realistic or modest, in actuality (if we are honest with ourselves), our lovely little secrets are often kept out of fear.

Fear that I might not make it to the finish line. Fear that I may be seen as a fool for even trying. Fear that I might encounter a challenge that I can’t overcome. Fear that others will think I’m too grandiose, too conceited, too selfish, too whatever for even dreaming my dream, much less putting in the hard work and time to go for it.

Voicing our secrets aloud makes them real, especially when we voice them to others. What if I get injured? What if I simply can’t cut it and I have to take my running shoes home at mile 20, alone and defeated. What if I try to fly off the edge, but instead I fall (fail)? These are the secrets that make us feel most vulnerable. But, by sharing them with others, we give others the courage to voice their own secrets, their own vulnerabilities. Besides, if we do fail, our friends, our supporters, and our believers are going to be the ones to break our fall, to carry us over the finish line, or to give us the strength to get up and take the next step, even if it means starting all over again.

What secret are you keeping? What is the cost of keeping it closed to others? Could you imagine being open to and sharing it?

LOVING THE RUN

I want to give a shout out to the Team at Loving the Run (my favorite running blog) where my post on the Journey is featured today! Happy 4th of July weekend!

re-picturing THE JOURNEY

I’m tired. Sweat blurs my vision. The sun and humidity feel especially oppressive on this Nebraska summer day. I’m strangely impatient when my sweet, curious Azura (our 2-year old yellow lab) veers off the path to investigate a rose bush or stops to leave her yellow calling card next to the fire hydrant. My legs are screaming with the uncomfortable mix of burning and itchiness that comes from running after my exercise hiatus.

I focus on one step at a time. If I think about the next step or the next step after that, I may just quit and slink home. It is difficult to find the strength to muster another step when I think about the hundreds of steps still in front of me.

I’m reminded of a poem by David Whyte that Meghan read to The Tribe during that magical meeting in Manzanita. That moment feels lifetimes away right now.

Start close in,

don’t take the second step

or the third,

start with the first

thing

close in,

the step

you don’t want to take.

This makes sense to me. When you are overwhelmed moving forward on a goal or dream, focus close in on the first step. But I’m wondering…Can you be moving in the right direction when you don’t know where you’re going? When you feel directionless. When you don’t know what your dream is?

I flip the question over in my mind for what feels like the millionth time, but no answer comes.

I’ve been feeling a little (okay a lot) stuck these days. Stuck at work. Stuck as an artist. Stuck in life, I guess. My immediate reflex with this “stuckness,” this lack of direction, is to make a list. Yes, a list will fix everything. I figure out what I want and lay out a step-by-step manual for getting there. A clear road map to go from point A to point B. I have made thousands of lists in my lifetime.

My current problem is that I don’t know where I’m going.

Can you be moving in the right direction when you don’t know where you’re going?

I am reminded of Agnes de Mille’s sage advice.

Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what next or how. The moment you know how, you begin to die a little. The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark.

So, I run. I send an e-mail. I write a blog post. I take a picture. I plan a new study. I’m thinking about taking singing lessons. These are the first steps. Toward what? I’m not sure. But I keep doing them because deep inside I know that I must continue on the journey, even though the destination is unclear.