Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Dear Body,

Before I have to finalize holiday preparations, I've been purusing all the blogs I follow. I came across a link up on Jill Conyer's blog: the Fit Dish. She suggested writing a thank you letter to your body, putting a positive spin on what is usually a difficult subject for most women. What a great topic for a blog post on this holiday Eve! After all the stress of preparing for the holidays and taking care of all those sick kiddos the past couple of weeks, it seemed like a great idea to think about me, my year, and all that I've accomplished! I rarely have down time. Today, I spent a few hours redesigning the blog to reflect what I want to accomplish on social media. As an "older" runner (I prefer the term "seasoned"), I want to show other women that getting older doesn't mean slowing down. I've struggled a little bit with being in my 50s--not physically, but mentally. This is the year I've finally accepted my age--even embraced it! And felt really good about my body. Because this has been the fittest year of my life. So here we go!


Dear Body,

I haven't always been happy with you. When I was a teenager and in my 20s, I hated my body. Especially my stomach. I always wanted flat abs. And this was in the days before "fitspiration!"  I felt like I was fat. Even though I know I wasn't. I've never been fat. But I just didn't like the way I looked. Once I started running, I started feeling better about myself. You started to show me what I could do. 

But when I tried to get pregnant, you let me down.  I always wanted to be a mom, and you just wouldn't cooperate. And when I did finally get pregnant, the first time, well, that pregnancy wasn't meant to be. I was angry at you. It took me a long time to feel good about you again. I ran through that anger and eventually, I forgave you enough to pursue a pregnancy again. 

I did get pregnant, but you wouldn't completely let me enjoy it. Bleeding throughout the first trimester, I was on edge the whole time. Of course, I couldn't run, because I was so afraid I'd miscarry again. Thankfully, I gave birth--not once, but twice--to 2 beautiful baby boys. But even my deliveries weren't easy. Yep, body, you really let me down in that department. But you did let me grow 2 babies, and for that, I am grateful.

The one area that you've been pretty reliable is with running. You blessed me with long, strong legs that have carried me fast and far. I finally got up the courage to run that first marathon 3 years ago--but you pooped out on me. I was so disappointed with you, even after all that training I did. And then there were injuries. A year of recovery. Plantar fasciitis. Stress fracture. 

I really felt like you let me down. I thought maybe it was time to give up running. But instead of quitting on you, I got some help. And through weight training learned to treat you better. Why didn't I listen to you all those years before? I gave you what you wanted, and you responded! So much so, that I got up the courage to tackle that marathon again. You responded to all that hard work and you liked the balance that Becky put in my training plan. 

Thank you body, for rewarding me with the best running year of my life. For that amazing Chicago marathon--I don't know if you'll let me top it! I look back on my anger and disappointment in you, and realized that you were trying to tell me something. This was the year that I listened. And you gave me what I wanted. You showed me that I'm strong. You showed me that I can be as fit and fast at 52 as I was at 32.  But now I'm so much smarter. You taught me that too. And for that, I can finally feel grateful. 

What would you say to your body? Are you happy with your body? How do you see yourself?

17 comments :

  1. Wendy, this is beautiful; thank you so much for sharing your "letter" to your body. I am pretty mean and ugly to mine much of the time but, like you, am always reminded during a challenging run and through training that my body really is a miraculous thing. I'm so thankful that it allows me to do what I love to do best! Merry Christmas!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Tara! It was hard to write and put it out there...I feel kind of naked right now! But it was great to reflect on how far I've come and how good I feel about my body these days...we'll see if that holds out as I continue to age!

      Delete
  2. Hi Wendy. I'm happier with my body and more accepting than ever before. I know writing this and sharing wasn't easy for you but you will inspire all that read it to embrace who they are! You are such a strong and beautiful person mentally and physically! We both finally LISTENED! I look forward to following your journey in 2015!

    Nuun is going to have the best ambassadors ever in 2015 :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jill! It was a great idea for a blog post and I'm glad I did it!

      Delete
  3. I almost forgot! Chicago is one of my all time favorite marathons and I'm hoping to run it again in 2015!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Your letter is awesome. I really love that you shared it with us, all of it. I think we only get better and wiser with age and we're going to be those 80+ year old runners if we continue to listen and respect our bodies. Merry Christmas to you!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I won't lie...it was hard to hit share! But that's what the blog is all about!!

      Delete
  5. Very nice, Wendy. It's strange for me to think back about certain things I didn't like about my body way back in my 20's. Now of course I would kill to have that body again. I try to apply this forward and be grateful for the healthy and still relatively young body that I have and all the things that I can still do in my 50's.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I only wish I appreciated what my body could do in my younger years. But I'm pretty excited about what it still can do, in my 50s!

      Delete
  6. Thanks for being so honest. I've NEVER had a good body image even when I've been in the best shape of my life. Not sure why, There is not one part of my body that I can look at and embrace, I always criticize it and I really need to work on that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've always been ashamed of my body. I have no idea why. But I will say that as the years go by, I've definitely come to feel better about myself. But then there's those wrinkles...

      Delete
  7. I am 61 (and a half) and I have lose skin from being pregnant that no sit-ups or planks will rectify, a huge varicose vein on the back of my left knee (I used to have "killer" legs from all my marathons/ultras/cycling), color my hair every once in a while, and use a face cream at night. I can still churn out 2000 meters in a pool in 40 min., keep my bike average at over 16 mph (road bike) and am still tackling portions of the downhills on my mountain bike that freak me out (but I have conquered several times). I have plans set to train for my 123rd triathlon, a two mile lake swim north of Redding Ca. and several other triathlons for my 34th season of racing tris (44th year of running). Who has time to think about what in hell my body looks like while I actually get to DO things like this? If anyone doesn't like the way I look, well, they can look away. My hubby still thinks I am "beautiful" and that's all that matters to me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awesome! Keep your success stories coming. This is why we do it, to feel good about ourselves and what our bodies can do. Not to worry about how we look, right?

      Delete
  8. The experience of being a mom is a true blessing :) It is inspiring that even though your first attempt at the marathon didn't work out like you planned you did eventually accomplish it. I've always struggled with liking my self and running has helped that for me. As I approach 50 I think I hate to see my wrinkly skin, but I am trying to just accept it, it sure isn't going to get better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think what has helped me with aging is the amazement of what my body can still do. Wrinkles and all!

      Delete
  9. Eka Pada Urdhva Dhanurasana- wheel pose with one leg up! And pigeon sitting up…bring back leg up to shoulder.. wish I could drag a pix here to show you…Yes my yoga keeps me running! /Users/cpalen/Desktop/DSCN5358 2.JPG
    I am 61…state of mind is more like 28 tho.

    ReplyDelete