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I won something and I’m angry.

IMG_0006_2I raced my first tri of the season this past weekend, and it was fantastic. The weather was perfect (overcast), I enjoyed every minute, pushed myself to a level that still felt comfortable, and placed in my age group – a first for me! But today, I’m kind of pissed off.

I’d been doubting how prepared I was for this race because:

-I’ve only been working out about 4 times a week.
-I’m about 10 lbs over what I consider my “race weight.”
-I’ve been really down on myself about the way my body looks right now.

You see, I turned thirty a few weeks ago – which was a blast, and believe me I’m NOT worried about being thirty – but there were photos taken of me in a bathing suit and I was horrified.

Here’s a sample of the offending photos (full disclosure – this sh*t is not touched up):

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On the left – my not so chiseled abs. These ones made me cringe a little.

On the right – my big bootie/thunder thigh connection in the full throes of the competing forces of gravity, momentum and muscle flex. I saw this pic, and felt absolutely mortified.

How f*cked up is that?

I have a body. It has fat on it. It also has muscle and skin and hair and is shaped differently from your body, or her body, or my friends’ bodies. Why do I feel badly about that?

Sometimes it’s a little heavier, sometimes it’s lighter. Sometimes it retains water because I’m having a good time celebrating. Sometimes it looks really svelte because I’m only putting great things in it. Sometimes it looks really svelte because I’m stressed and don’t feel like eating. One isn’t better than the other, it’s just the reality of living my life.

I’m a real person, living a really spectacular life. That means I’m not going to look like something in a magazine every time I take a picture.

So yeah, I’m pretty pissed that I KNOW all this – I know I’m strong and healthy and frankly, kind of a badass – and I still see a picture like this and feel bad.

TIMG_0011_2his is my stand. I’m so happy to see so many body positive messages and more body diversity in the media. It’s awesome. I genuinely hope that all the young women growing up today feel like their bodies are beautiful.

But this is for all the ladies in my generation. I know we all grew up feeling like we should be as waif-ish as Kate Moss. I know we all know better. I know we all still feel the pressure in spite of everything. We hit a tough time. We were raised in a world with increasing quantities of processed foods, a huge jump in rates of obesity and type II diabetes, yet the media presented us with an ideal that was desperately thin. I know my body’s never going to look like that of a 90s supermodel, but there is a part of me – however tiny – that will always wish that it did. I’m not proud of that, but it’s ok.

My imperfect body – second thigh/butt and all – is f*cking awesome. Yours is too. Whether you’re built like Kate Moss or Rosie O’Donnell, your body is awesome. Take care of it and try to love it as it is. I will too! Let’s be real – we’re worth a lot more than what we look like anyhow.

And oh yeah, here’s my big butt bringing home a third place finish.

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The Places that Make Us

A little exposition: I wrote this post months ago and never went live with it, but it feels like a nice little tribute to Global Running Day, so you’re getting it now:)

I’ve been thinking a lot about place lately. Places we’re from, places we live, places we go. I never thought I was particularly attached to places. In my parents house, there’s a framed piece of embroidery with the lyrics of Billy Joel’s You’re My Home: 

When you look into my eyes
And you see the crazy gypsy in my soul
It always comes as a surprise
When I feel my withered roots begin to grow
Well I never had a place that I could call my very own
That’s all right, my love, ’cause you’re my home

It’s apropos, because when they were first married (and in the first few years of my life), they moved a lot. I don’t rIMG_2502emember most of our moves – actually the only one I remember was when we moved from Raleigh, NC to Bucks County, PA when I was 9 – but I’ve never associated home with a place. Home is where your people are. Simple.

But lately I’ve been thinking about how much place has shaped me. I might not be “Straight Outta” anywhere, but I don’t exist in a vacuum.

Since I don’t do things by halves, I decided to feed my fixation. So I visited some of my places. And I bought a book about places. And I mulled over the places I choose, and the places that chose me. Do you know what I figured out?

I’ve left pieces of my heart all over the place.

In the same way that you leave little pieces of your heart with your people – you can leave them in places too. And in the same way that you’re filled with joy when you see your people – you’re filled with joy when you’re in your places. Places have changed the shape of my heart.

Lucky for me, since I’ve been running for awhile, I’ve got miles and miles of places. I may not know where I picked up the 5 different weird accent elements that my family busts my balls about, and I may not belong in any one place, but I can always feel at home on my own two feet on an open road.

Challenge Accepted.

IMG_2115Hi friends! I have been the worst and raced two triathlons and made the switch from training to off-season without reporting back. Sorry! I’m still hopeful that I’ll pull together a NYC Tri race report for you before the summer’s up, but don’t hold your breath.

Frankly, it’s been a summer of total upheaval in my life and it’s left me with little time or inclination to write. My very long term relationship ended, which meant I had to move out of a place that I’ve considered home for the past few years and learn how to be an independent lady again. All changes for the best, but as you know, change is never easy.

But today I killed a giant water bug. All. by. my. self.

And I didn’t freak out about it or lose my shit.

Would it have been a whole lot nicer to be able to grab someone else to kill that sucker? Hell yea. Do I wish there was no bug at all, and I could carry on in my delusion that I found an apartment in NYC with absolutely no bugs? Uh, yes.  But it does feel pretty good to have done something that scares the bejeezus out of me (no matter how trivial). And so, I’m feeling pretty damn proud of myself.

I am a bug-killing, triathlon racing, early morning running, getting it done at work, badass grown lady.

While this summer has been one of the most challenging of my life, it’s also been one of the most gratifying. I’m learning what I’m capable of, how resilient I can be, and am consistently reminded that I have the world’s most amazing friends and family. (Seriously, I am SO, SO grateful for all of you – THANK YOU!)

I know I’m not alone here, so if you’re struggling out there, know that that you’re definitely not the only one, and if you need a listening ear, you know where to find me. Here’s to taking on new challenges, taking chances, and learning to be the very best version of ourselves!

Down with Negative Thinking!

Whew! Is anyone else feeling like time just needs to SLOOOOOOOW DOOOOOOOWN?  I can’t believe it’s already March (even though it still feels like January, brrrr). I sort of feel like I’m constantly waiting for life to slow down, but it never does.  Busy is the new normal?

Let’s get through the housekeeping first! We’re about halfway through the DOU Pinterest Challenge, so follow the board and I’ll invite you to start pinning the recipes you’ve tested!  (C’mon, we need each other for quality control – sure those recipes look good, but are they? Here’s our chance to join forces and find out!)

Mardi Gras 2012
Mardi Gras 2012

Next up – Laissez Le Bon Temps Rouler!  Today is Mardi Gras! Fat Tuesday! Faschnaut Day! Pancake Day! Carnivale!  Whatever you call it, and whatever you do to celebrate, I hope you were able to indulge today!  (I know I’ve had one too many snacks to honor the occasion.)  I think it’s my duty as a good Catholic to be either gluttonous, drunk, or lecherous on Fat Tuesday.

Alas, with the indulgence of Fat Tuesday comes the asceticism of Lent.  When I was a kid, I was taught that you should keep your Lenten sacrifices to yourself – you know, “don’t let your left hand know, what your right hand is dong” – because if your making yourself a martyr it kind of defeats the purpose.  People aren’t supposed to tell you how wonderful you are for the sacrifices you’re making.  That said, a solid 80% of my Facebook newsfeed today is an announcement of what will be abstained from for the next 40 days – and yes, I’m amused by all of it. Best of luck to you all, and for the love of life, if you are giving up cheese or chocolate, stay away from me until Easter!

I haven’t decided if I’ll “give anything up” for Lent (I’d like to give up cold weather, but ya know), but I will definitely be conscious of squashing negative thinking during this mindful time of year, and I challenge you to join me!

So, when the person in front of me is walking sooooooo sloooooow as I’m scurrying to catch my train, I’m going to remind myself that contrary to my initial thoughts, they’re not the worst person on the entire planet, take a freaking breath and patiently make my way to work. There is probably a very good reason why they are moving so slowly, and it’s not helping anyone for me to shoot the evil eye into their skull as I stew silently.

And when I catch a glimpse of my larger than average thighs in the mirror, I’m not going to think about how terrible I am for eating dessert six days last week.  I have a healthy, capable body, and though it doesn’t look exactly the way I want it to, there isn’t anything wrong with it.

I’m going to try and be more mindful of the times when senseless negativity takes over my thoughts, and squash that beast.  I won’t be suffering, but I think I’ll learn something, and I’m pretty sure that by Easter I’ll be a happier, more centered individual.

What did you do to celebrate Fat Tuesday?

Scenes from my weekend

Hi friends – Happy Valentine’s Day/President’s Day hangover week!

I’m a little under the weather, so I don’t have much to say today – except down with the cold virus!  Anyhow, I wanted to pop a quick reminder that the Pinterest recipe challenge started on Monday, and you can still join!  Just follow the board on Pinterest and I’ll send you an invite to start posting on it.  You’ll be sharing amazing recipes you’ve tried out in no time:)  I already made these delicious Paleo Chicken Jalapeño Burgers for the challenge -yum!

I had a fantastic weekend with friends, family, food and adventure – but I think I may have overextended myself since I picked up a cold somewhere along the way.  I trekked down to Red Hook on V-Day and ate some INCREDIBLE meat at Hometown BBQ with my love and some friends.  I went on a spa day expedition with some fabulous ladies on Saturday. (We ended up at a Russian Bath in Coney Island called Mermaid Spa because every other place was full.  It was…an experience, but I totally loved it!)  Sunday was a day for getting sh*t done – like buying a much needed new set of sheets and a bathmat (my life is SO glamorous) – and family dinner (MEATBALLS!!!!).  Monday was the cherry on top of a fabulous weekend because I went out to New Jersey to see my brother rock out on stage.  He’s in the NATIONAL TOUR of American Idiot, so I don’t get to see much of him, and seeing him in his element on stage was just awesome.  It didn’t hurt that one of my best friends and a ton of family and family-friends were there too – love my people!

I’m definitely feeling the effects of a go-go-go weekend, but it was amazing.  Here’s a glimpse of the goods:

Snow-weary travelers head to the Russian Baths...
Snow-weary travelers head to the Russian Baths…
I loved this simple and creative centerpiece at the restaurant where we caught brunch!
I loved this simple and creative centerpiece at the restaurant where we caught brunch!
Literally, nothing is better than homemade meatballs - this is one of my favorite things about dating an Italian :)
Literally, nothing is better than homemade meatballs – this is one of my favorite things about dating an Italian:)
Tulips from the corner deli - that MUST mean spring is coming soon…right?
Tulips from the corner deli – that MUST mean spring is coming soon…right?

Hope you had a great long weekend – and that your back to work week hasn’t been too bad!