I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: nobody but you can decide what you can do.
A few months ago my exercise physiology professor said I “don’t look like a runner”. It was a brief stereotype. Then he asked in reaction to my frown: “well are you a runner”. And then when I said I had run my whole life and was getting back into it after having a baby, that most runners looked “emaciated”. Was that his polite way of telling me that my postpartum belly fat was acceptable as long as I didn’t run?
But I do run. I ran when I was six in Texas and 14 in Wyoming and I ran even when I was a smoker and drinker in college. I have taken time off and of course had a baby but I always return to running.
And you know what? No one, not your mom, not your dad, not your partner, sister, friend or exercise physiology professor can tell you what your body can do.
When I was in high school I remember observing other girls with really long, slender legs and thinking I wasn’t enough of the body ideal. But I was one of the fastest girl on my cross country team. Sure I wasn’t number one and I was on Wyoming, but I was right up there doing something pretty well and beating some of the long legs and feeling pretty good about it.
And I’m feeling pretty good about it now. I’m training for a rugged half marathon up a freakin mountain in September and after that I want to run a marathon and maybe after that I’ll run an ultra. Because why not? This is MY body- my shape, weight, age, condition. I’m finding my health and balance again- in body and time- as only a postpartum mom can do. In some ways, after having a baby and being through the life experiences I’ve had since my first half marathon in San Francisco five years ago- I feel mentally stronger and physically wiser than ever. This is MY body and I know what it can be and what it can do.