Monday, January 31, 2011

Mirror of the Erised

Along with being a runner and a foodie, I am an avid reader.  Everything from James Patterson to John Grisham to Dan Brown to Danielle Steele....I pretty much haven't met a book I don't like.  Sometimes I venture into the teen section (because who doesn't remember the Babysitter's club and Sweet Valley High?) and I've read the whole twilight series (Team Edward, thank you very much) and all of the Harry Potter series.  My 12th grade english teacher got me hooked back in '99 (yes, she assigned Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone for AP English...go Ms. Hamm!) 
As I've grown up, I've maintained a love of reading I've had since I was a little kid (I was the dork that read under their desk instead of listening to the teacher, or brought a flashlight to bed to read under the covers.)  Yup, I was the bookworm.  And a fondness for snickers bars and reese's while reading also made me somewhat pudgy, even while ballet dancing and "running" cross country in high school (I use that term loosely-I joined the team because I was "in love" with one of the boys.  Silly Rae).
When I read the first HP book, I could completely relate to Harry's obsession with the mirror of the Erised.  When one would look into this magical mirror, you could see what you wanted to.  Harry saw himself with his mom and his dad, who were dead-but in the mirror, he could be with them.  I began to contemplate what I would want to see.  For me, the answer was easy.  I was a smart kid.  I had friends....but I was also pudgy and funny, and not by any of my own standards "pretty" or "athletic".  I've struggled with this since I was 12 years old...from the way I want to see myself, to comments from well-meaning relatives and short sighted ballet teachers who encouraged me to "drop a few pounds" so that I would be a better dancer.

Screw that.  Through all of my struggles with body image and wanting to be "skinny" or "athletic" I have learned a few things.  Skinny does not equal healthy.  Jeans size does not equate with self-esteem.  Muscle adds pounds-which means while I might never be skinny on the scale, I can look pretty damn good.
Its sad to say, but it's taken me even several years as a triathlete, runner, marathoner, IRONMAN to even be able to look into the mirror and see what I so desperately want to as a kid.....
I am an athlete.  I am strong.  I am determined.  I don't quit.  And I am an Ironman, baby!

I wish I could go back to my teenage self and tell her that.  But someday, I know I will pass it along to my children and maybe pass along the good word through my volunteering this spring with Girl's on the Run.

Todays kick butt workout:
Tempo Run: (8:10 pace...supposedly)
Warm up .5 miles at 8:30 pace
3.17 miles tempo: 24:07 (7:36 pace)  oops...but I killed it :-P
.5ish cd
=4.25 miles @33:07
Lower body strength (30 mins)

How could I even argue with that?  Clearly, that mirror shows a strong woman and an athlete :-)  Bring it, National Marathon!

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