‘Athletes come in all shapes and sizes’

While seeing the awesome pictures of Amanda Bingson: ‘Athletes come in all shapes and sizes’,  I am glad because it is something we all face with social constructed ideas of what does fit look like and what should it look like.  Although,  the images are empowering, make sure you read her interview too.

Amanda Bingson - Competes in the Hammer Throw

While ESPN’s coverage and writing is unsurprisingly problematic, I am still pleased as Bingson generally has an attitude I much admire: “You might be prettier and skinnier than me, but I’ll kick your ass in a game of one-on-one.”  Which is for sure how I felt yesterday (minus the pretty part—I know I am the prettiest ;-)   )

I had a woman I’ve never met, come-up to me yesterday in a ropes class during the water break and tell me to “not give-up” that I could “do this” and I wanted to respond “Bitch, do I look like I’m giving-up or doubting my own abilities?”  I turned to the instructor and asked “When is the warm-up over? I am ready for the real stuff to start.”  Also, that was my third hour of exercise at that point in the day (each a different training).

The women I train with have given me lots of confidence, like National Strong Woman Sharon Moss and World Champion Power Lifter Hannah Ghindea; but not just my competitively elite friends but the numerous badass women around me who set personal goals and train to become fiercer for themselves. Those goal setting women invigorate me. The stronger we women become the more we give zero shits about what others think and the more we love what our bodies are capable of—it is liberating.

Sharon and Elena Mary

Sharon and Elena Mary

Amber, Elenamary, Hannah

Fierce Women (Amber, Elena Mary, Hannah)

No athlete I’ve trained with, no coach, no physical therapist, has ever expressed doubt in my abilities because of my body (this isn’t to say I haven’t encountered douchebags).  I’ve been lucky but generally those who are good at knowing how to push their bodies (and others) know that much of what we push our bodies to do is mental.  Yes, of course physical training and ability is necessary but at some point, it becomes wanting it more than anyone else, working harder than anyone else, and being in the right place at the right time–and none of those have to do with body size or type.

Which also reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:
“I’m just into physical intensity. I’m not saying, like, clamp my nipples and stick pins in my nuts. Because that’s like some passive please-hurt-me thing. Ask any Olympic athlete, they’ll say, ‘God it hurts, but it’s awesome.’ It’s the pain that comes when you try to achieve.” – Henry Rollins

Also, speaking of  “clamp my nipples and stick pins in my nuts”, remember my boobs last summer after a triathlon?

they looked worse a few days ago ;-)

they looked worse a few days ago ;-)

Summer 2015

I still need more stuff for early July, late August and all of September, please make suggestions. Here is how the summer is panning out:

June 14th  Naperville, Illinois Sprint Tri  (doing this with one with Sandra and Poor Little Tumbleweed Adriana)

June 21st  Columbus, OH Tri Tech Columbus  (I am on a relay team for work and am only doing the swim)

July 10th-12th Ruido Fest in Chicago (I won’t be buying my ticket until June so if anyone knows how I can get it any cheaper pleeeeease let me know).

25 de julio  Teques, Morelos Olympic Tri  (hopefully with my god-brother-in-law Carlos)  Having  previously traveled to Mexico with my bike, Keni Styles to Mexico, I’ve decided this is too much and I’d rather just rent when I arrive…so I am open to suggestions on this.  Ideally, I would still like to use SPDs.

August 14-16 Nashville, Indiana Tour de Upland (cycling, camping and swimming with McPocho and Andy)

Voy a necesitar bici en el de Teques…¿algún consejo de como conseguir bici cuando o antes de que llego?

competitions

It has been awhile since I posted and this is mostly so I can keep slight track of what I’ve been doing (I was much better about blogging and keeping a nice spreadsheet of my meets/times before—I’ll need to get back on that for 2015).

OSU 4 miler

OSU 4 miler

OSU 4 Miler  Sept. 21 2014:    Lordy, this race was difficult.  Not because of the distance or weather but because I did it with one of my students.  She was not used to running and it became more of a Fartlek training where she would sprint as hard as she could for about 20 seconds then come to a dead stop, wait until she felt completely normal and then sprint has hard as she could for another 20 seconds—we did this for all 4 miles and it took us nearly an hour to finish.  I think I have felt less tired after Olympic distance triathlons then I did after this race.

Broke Man’s 1/2 Marathon  October 5th:  I loved this race!  It was a no-thrills race–I think it was a $10 entry, and I took it easy.  I did it with my friends Jessica B. and Sandra E.  I  walked a lot of it, enjoying the day and did it in about 3 hours (there was no timing).

Buckeye Barbell Club Push-Pull competition  October 26th:  This was my first power-lifting competition and was lots of fun!  I had great encouragement from strangers and friends, Amber, John, Norm, and Suzanne.  I had no idea how much I could actually lift and had never practiced.  My buddy John didn’t tell me what he put down on my third deadlift and just told me to get out there and try…and I lifted it…later finding out it was 185lbs.  I’d like to lift 200+ by the end of 2014.  Video (elenamary deadlift) was taken by Amber doing the 185 deadlift.  Warning I say a vulgarity.

Amish 1/2 Marathon November 29th:  By the time I finished the race I hadn’t slept in 30+ hours, I had driven to the race straight from work and only when I arrived there did I realize I also hadn’t eaten since the previous day.  I remembered I had a slice of Hounddogs Pizza (i should get them to sponsor me) in my gym bag.  I stood surrounded by competitors waiting for the race to begin while eating my slice.  There were tons of hills, I was exhausted and hallucinated an ocean.  I had hoped to finish at about 2 hours…I finished in 2:53.

strong women

Image

I went on two dates with two different men this week, and the best part was after the second date I got to home to a bag of trail mix and to the documentary Strong! (I’ll include it below and hope you’ll watch).

ladies I train with

I am on the far right. These are a couple of the lovely strong ladies I train with

Date #1 let me know that he was more attracted to petite women, and women whiter than me.

Date #2 explained that he didn’t like women with lots of muscles.  It is just “too much muscles for a woman”.  He used my gym girlfriends as examples of unattractive.

I came home feeling fat, big, too masculine, unattractive and pissed that I felt those ways. Pissed at myself for being illogical, pissed at those men, pissed at societal norms, and culturally standards of beauty that I tell myself are absurd, however, truth is, they still fucking hurt.  Luckily, I’ve great friends like Sharon Moss a national Strongwoman, who by great fortune, posted a link to the movie Strong!  I’ve wanted to see Strong! for a couple of years now, and for this week only it is available for free viewing at PBS’ Independent Lens.

You know, I am not as strong as I’d like to be, but I am strong, and getting stronger and it is coming from the encouragement of the women around me who lift.  Women who value all bodies for their strengths.  Here is a video of me lifting with encouragement from my friend Hannah.  No matter what anyone says I love how I look in it (although I need to work on my form)!  Now, I just need to find someone else to train with as Hannah moved away earlier this week.

Elenamary lifts (click for video)

always lube

they looked worse a few days ago ;-)

they looked worse a few days ago ;-)

Always lube. More importantly for me, always lube the boobs. I need to remember that. A couple weeks ago I did a sprint triathlon and chaffed a tad in the boobs and thought “man, I should’ve lubed”. This past Sunday I did an olympic distance triathlon (a longer distance), I didn’t lube.  I remember thinking, “meh, it will be okay”. It wasn’t okay I chafed the hell out of my boobs this time. When I saw my doctor Monday, she asked during the breast exam if my partner had done that to me or if I’d done it to myself.
I explained that, I had done it to myself, as an idiot for failing to lube on race day.

the triathlon running that caused that boob chafing

the triathlon running that caused that boob chafing

Truth is, however, I don’t feel like a total idiot, I feel hardcore.  Just like the new calluses and dead skin falling off my hands, the blisters on my feet, the lack of toe nails, I love all of it. I love what my body is capable of. I love the formation of it becoming a stronger person.  I was showing off my scars to my friend Hannah, a power lifter, and she “ewwed” and told me to put my boobs away (in her defense we were in public on the TRX machine).   I explained that no, I would not be ashamed of my boob gashes. My wounds are impressive and magnificent just like the fact that she has bruises up her legs and no skin on her shins these are things to be proud of.  We are living life fully, pushing ourselves, and it is awesome.   All of this, reminded me a great article I read  When Women Wear Bruises to Work,

Almost every bruise, scrape and scar on my body comes with a fond story. The dent from that tree I didn’t quite dodge, the scar from the scrappy rappel, the bump from that confoundedly sandy 5.10 sport route. They are the marks of living life passionately. And the women I want to spend my time with also proudly bear the marks of living in pursuit of adventure.

Like the author, I am glad I am finding adventure and surrounded by other women who are too.

Tri for Joe 2014

too tired to write but want to remember some points for future reference/lessons learned.

1. Adjust boobs better in this suit or else the right boob will come out during the swim.

2. Do not get over confident about my time/place.  This is why I got second.  I thought I had it, and I took my time in transition and look where it got me?  I am a first place loser.

3. Be nice to children. That mom almost made me cry, thanking me for helping her daughter; remember her words and be kind to others.

4. Always bring extra of everything not just a suit (this includes running belt!).

5. Train harder, race more. Push my race limits.

6. Pack instant coffee.

7.  Have more confidence in my ability to adapt to the cold weather.

8.  I don’t need music, I just need my mantra.

9.  Stop thinking I run 10 minute miles—  I don’t.  If I can do 9 minute miles after swimming and biking surely I can do that when training?!

10.  Enjoy it.  This is a good life.