Mom. Triathlete. Yogi. Foodie. Writer. Boss. Coffee lover. Side hustler.

I run for team Oiselle Volée and Skratch Labs.

My Reflections in the Mirror (Lake)

My Reflections in the Mirror (Lake)

Wow, it's really been that long since my last post.  Eh, I'm not sorry.  Moving on.

Last Monday, while camping in Lake Placid I wrote this in my journal:

I hate my body.
But, at times, I love parts of it.
And, at times, overall, I love my body.
I have shaped, what I could, into strong pieces that do some...[remarkable]...things.
I do things that some people cannot...
— Me

The next day I rode almost one loop of the Ironman Lake Placid bike route.  


I couldn't help but boast with pride on my Instagram account:

Today, I embarked on a journey I’ve had yet to travel. At 10 am we clipped in from the North Pole in Wilmington to ride one loop of the Lake Placid IM course (ish). I fell twice: once halfway down into Keene after popping my chain and another after an awkward stop back in Wilmington - Some scrapes. Lots of language. Three meltdowns with tears and one session of full on sobbing with less than 2 miles to go.
50 miles, over 2K worth of elevation.
One tasty Coke after. Wow. Humbling.
— Me...again.

Allow me to take a moment to elaborate on that experience.  Through all the anxiety, the falls, the anger (as the demons leave my body) and the tears, I was so humbled by all the beauty that I was able to take in that day.  It first hit me maybe at the 20-ish mile mark as we were making the descent into Keene.  The highway (yes, highway) narrows and the poor-excuse-for-a-shoulder is framed out by a bullshit, low rusted barrier which overlooks the mountains and a beautiful body of water.  The sight was so overwhelming that I found myself gasping for a breath and holding back tears; literally breathtaking.  


Following that photo, I downshifted only to have my bike chain drop and I fell over.  

But, I digress.  I conquered almost 3K feet of elevation.  I did a triathlon the night before.  The day before that I swam one loop of the Ironman course.  Goddamn, I was proud of my body.  But why do I hate on myself?

Thankfully, I was saved by the ESPN Magazine The Body Issue 2018.  Lauren Chamberlain is a powerful woman, both on and off the softball field, who talks about her continued struggles with body image.

How am I not shaped and curved like that Instagram model? But you know what? She can’t hit a ball like me or move like me. She can’t do what I can do.
— Lauren Chamberlain

Wow.  Thank you, Lauren.  I shared this on my Facebook page with the hopes that I'd remember it tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that...

And nope.  That didn't seem to be enough.  For whatever reason it didn't resonate enough.  But after an accidental check of Facebook, I tripped over a post of a woman whose battle with a genetic disorder left her feeling as if she didn't look right for most of her life.  Why?  Because because people would ask 'Why?'. 

You look tired, sick, skinny, weird, bony, bad...
— People

She noticed that people would always comment on looks, whether it was a complement or a negative reflection.  She felt that the way you look was the most important thing to people.  As she started to get healthy, her goal was to become more 'athletic' and 'beautiful'.  Something on her journey transformed not only her body, but also her thinking.  It's too good to not share.  

Triathlon will not make you pretty
Triathlon will give you scars from bike wrecks, bruises from running, and tattoos that no one understands. Fried hair from chlorine, more freckles than anyone deserves from hours on the trail, deep tan lines that never quite fade, and we don’t even talk about what it does to toenails.
You may absolutely kill those skinny jeans now (two sizes larger, thanks to your new hamstrings and glutes), but getting them on is harder than the last two days training combined and your arms are so tired. The longer the distance, the more muscle you need, and when did my midsection get that wide? Your arms get big, your butt even so much bigger.
You stop wearing heels because, hell, I don’t need those to stomp on the world, I can do that barefoot. You gain 15 pounds, cut 18 inches off your hair, and forget what nail polish even is because you never have all 10 toenails at once. You will be dirty, sweaty, sunburned, and have the hairstyle of “I swam then put on a bike helmet” a lot of the time.
Triathlon is not a pretty sport, not the training or the competition, and it forces you to let go of that supposed measure of your worth. No amount of masks or facades or meeting societal expectations will bring you to the finish, only your true self will take you there.
So you terrorize your hair and your skin, you live in gym clothes or pajama pants, get another tattoo that no one understands, and wear nothing but tennis shoes. You move further and further away from cultural definitions of “Woman” and “Pretty” and “Ladylike”.
Then one day it dawns on you as you’re training for your second Ironman race…
You don’t care.
In the countless hours you’ve spent alone with yourself out on the trail you have learned who you are, intimately and with brutal honesty. You know your worth as a fellow human. What you look like is so far down on the list of things that actually do really matter that you barely even remember it.
Triathlon has not made me pretty.
What it has made me is fierce, brave, strong, genuine, healthy, empathetic, lovely, true, focused, passionate, driven, willing, happy, assured, radiant, independent, and honest.
— Rachel Wall, Women for Tri Facebook Member
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