We’ve been out of town for almost two weeks now. In just over a week, I did 10K training runs in St. Louis, in a little town north of Dallas, and near the Ouachita National Forrest in Oklahoma.
This is blog-worthy because I have never, ever continued a workout routine while on vacation.
Like pretty much every woman alive, over the course of my 31 years I’ve embarked on a handful of epic “Body Projects” and they’ve all been fundamentally motivated by a profound dissatisfaction with the way I looked. In the process, I’ve discovered it can be hard to sustain the motivation to exercise when it is primarily driven by a negative self-image. Even worse is I’m fairly well schooled in the feminist literature on how my often negative body image is created through vehicles like the media, and then enforced through participating in group self-criticism with other women. It’s hard to have a lengthy conversation with another woman without one of us bringing up how gross we think we look and how we really need to do something about it. And I’m usually the one bringing it up.
When I started running to raise money for Compassion International’s Child Survival Programs back in January, I was motivated by getting across the finish line in July for mothers and babies rather than losing inches. I started drinking less alcohol because it dehydrated me and made my runs miserable. I made more healthy food choices because it meant I could run faster.
I am finally starting to think of my body as an instrument rather than an ornament. And I have never felt better.