Sweat is Pretty

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I was recently speaking with a woman I know and she said, “i don’t sweat. Ewwww. That’s just gross”.  Of course I was inwardly rolling my eyes as I like to sweat.  It makes me feel good.

A few days later, while on a run, I started thinking about it again.  “It’s gross.  Ewww” popped into my head.  I started my run a little later in the day so not only was I sweating, I was drenched.  My hair was plastered to my head and my shirt was looking more like a pathetic entry in a wet t-shirt contest.  I didn’t feel gross though.  I felt awesome.

I love to work up a good sweat.  This is good for my soul.  I know I probably look my worst when I’m out on a run but this is when I really care the least.  I’m not self conscious.  I don’t care how “bad” I look.  Whether it’s a good workout or one I’m struggling to complete, I am still grateful to be out there and thrilled that my body allows me to do the things I do.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I think I am this beautiful runner.  I still feel like I am mimicking Phoebe at times and I am perfectly aware my face gets beet red.  This is actually probably a good interpretation of me when out on a run:

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The weird thing is, I am more self conscious when I’m not sweating.  When I’m dressed up to go out, this is when I am harder on myself.  This is when I think, “how do I look? my hair is so frizzy. I should have changed.  blah, blah, blah”.  None of these types of things creep in to my head when I’m out working up a sweat.

I hope to never think sweating is “ewwww” and will be grateful if I’m still able to get “gross” many years from now.

Letting go of perfect….

While out on a solo trail run the other day (where I do my best thinking), I thought about how long it has been since I have written a blog.  I write in a journal every night so keeping up with a blog shouldn’t be so hard.  I think I finally came up with the honest conclusion that I stopped writing blog entries because I was concerned they might not be perfect.  Is it what someone wants to read?  Does anyone even read it anyway?  Is it grammatically perfect?  Is it uplifting enough?  Is it informative enough?  Probably not, I guessed.

I ended up spending my entire run wondering why I even care about any of this stuff.  I am entirely too hard on myself, that’s why.  There, I said it.  I struggle with being “just ok” with something and I beat myself up over it.  I am shy and this irritates me.  I have my own set of body image issues and this irritates me.  I’m not the best athlete and this irritates me.  I’m ok with admitting this.  I think.

Keith always tells me to stop looking at what I think I can’t do and look at what I have done. I have done marathons, an ultra marathon, a half ironman, started my own business, and left behind a job that didn’t make me happy.  These were conscious decisions that took a lot of gumption, probably more than I give myself credit for.  I, for some reason though, still feel like I am striving for “perfect”.  Not the perfect job or family as these I feel like I have achieved but the perfect ME.  What is perfect though?  I have no idea.  I am not a competitive person but I have this inner demon that forces me to achieve but it also makes me question if I am “enough”.

I came across an old email from Keith today and it was referencing a blog he saw that made him think of me (http://runmantra.tumblr.com/post/100112586481/embracing-the-real-you).  I remember when he sent it, thinking “what is he thinking, this is so not me.”  Well, it is me and I now acknowledge it.  I am choosing to let go of perfect. I’ll continue to set big goals for myself because this is what gives my belly butterflies but I’ll be happy when I have achieved them instead of wishing I had achieved them more perfectly.  I will work on positive self speak and be proud of what this 41 year old body has done so far.  Although Wonder Woman has always been my idol, I now admit that I won’t ever be her and I’m ok with this.  Actually, this is a lot of pressure off of me!  Those would really be tough boots to fill.

So, anyway, I may blog and I may not and you may get something out of it and you may not but, beware, it won’t be perfect.  It will just be me.