I was so amped up in the days and weeks prior to the marathon that I could barely sit still, let alone rest with my thoughts. Those B12 shots had me dancing jigs, rambling excitedly about anticipated pace times, and making lists of my to-do lists.
Now I’m calm. It didn’t come about by choice; it came about because I pushed this ol’ sack o’ bones over its threshold on Sunday and now my only option is rest. Which is pretty much as things should be in the days following a distance race. The funny thing is, my thoughts are calmer too.
So this post isn’t fitness-y, per se. (And shut up. Fitness-y is a word because I just typed it.) But here are some of the things I have been calm enough to notice during my resting days.
As much as I strive for honesty in this blog and on the SweatItOut Facebook page, I wasn’t completely candid with my photos from the race. I cropped out my nasty cellulite. I didn’t want anyone to see the dimpled state of my pasty legs, made brilliantly apparent by the overhead sun. Like two vast moonscapes they were, trudging through that last mile as proud Hubby snapped photo after photo in encouragement. I only look at my legs when I’m shaving or applying coconut-scented lotions. I had no idea they were so crater-like.
So I had my moment of shame and repulsion. And then I remembered what I was doing when those pics were taken. I had just run 25 miles. It was the culmination of six months of training. Despite Epstein-Barr. Despite a sudden onslaught of allergies. I was finishing my fucking marathon. (And no, I don’t feel the need for the little #*@ symbols. My blog, my curses. My fucking choice.) Who cares what my legs look like? They are strong; they are capable; they are beautiful in every blindingly white, cheesy inch. I love my legs, cellulite and all. And here they are, in all of their mile-25 glory:
This does not mean I will be disappointed as they change over the coming weeks, as I know they will. But I will embrace the change because it means I’m stronger and even more capable. Yes, I prefer the look of lean muscle over dimpled fat. But I prefer it because it is a physical representation of my work and my overall health. Not because it is preferred by a jackass CEO creating clothes for a world of douchebags.
And then I saw this picture that a friend snapped of myself and the kiddos this morning at Muffins with Mom:
I’m all slumped over, trying to shrink into a space because I don’t want to take up too much of my friend’s time (she was completely enthusiastic and pleased about taking the photo for us, so this is all my inner turmoil). And then because I wasn’t thrilled with my portrayal, I kind of blurred me out when I posted on Instagram.
I’d like to slap me in the face now.
Because this is a me from so long ago, I rarely see her. I try to stand with shoulders back, chin up. When I am standing, my feet are most often planted shoulder width apart. I take up space because I like to be noticed. Don’t we all? Isn’t that why we smack the various magnets on our cars? (I currently sport a Phillies “P”, a “26.2” – booyah! – and one each for the cheerleader and the football player.) Isn’t that why we wear team shirts, carry mugs with funny sayings (I love my “Caution: Hot Stuff” travel mug), and post photos, status updates, and links all day long? Because we want to be recognized for being us. No one else can do us quite like we can. It’s worth noticing. Even when we don’t look our best, feel our best, or act our best. In fact, those are the moments that it feels even better when someone does notice.
So I’ve decided that instead of noticing in my head, I’m gonna start noticing out loud. That genuine smile from the guy at the gas station who held the door? I told him I appreciated his happy face on a gray and rainy morning. Know what? His smile grew. And I bet it’ll translate into a kind word for someone else he runs into today. Why are we so often quick to throw a cutting word or complaint and label it “standing up for ourselves” and so slow to acknowledge the smaller moments that bring joy to our day? I’m right there with ya. I often catch myself rolling my eyes at the check writer in front of me at Wegmans when I’ve got three unruly beasts along for the errand; cursing the driver ahead of me for making me late when it’s really my own damn fault; or snapping at the dogs because they marked in the house for the 80,000th time today.
But what if…what if instead of honing in on those moments, I noticed instead that the check writer was exchanging pleasantries with the cashier and my kids were being loud because they were laughing? That the back roads I drive daily offer such beautiful views of mountains and farmland that each mile of the journey is picture worthy? That since I’ve returned from a weekend away, and I firmly believe he senses I’m feeling less-than-me, Otis has displayed an overwhelming amount of love and heaps of snuggles?
Just writing that, I feel better. My shoulders actually relaxed and I smiled. I’m sitting taller and taking up my space.
The day is still gray and rainy. But days like these make for great cuddling time with a toddler who’s not feeling his best either. Plus I get to hear all about the Raingutter Regatta classroom races when the Werewolf gets home. I’m cheering pretty hard for the Roughy Toughy to sail fast today. And I got to see some delightfully hysterical photos of myself and the gals from Sunday’s race, capturing me in a round of giggles after running a ridiculous amount of miles. Which in turn gave me a whole new set of giggles remembering the moment.
Also, I have coffee.