Friday, September 26, 2014

Wearing a Bikini

Husbands can be difficult to shop for.  Mine is the exception to that.  I feel like I could shop for him for days.  He may return half of it, but I never run out of gift ideas.  I also really like to give experience gifts.   His birthday was over the summer (June 30th).  We were in Seaside for his actual birthday.  About 6 weeks before his birthday, I decided to surprise him by ordering a bikini to wear while we were there.  

The significance of this gift is that I haven't worn a bikini (thank goodness for tankinis) in at least 14 years, but maybe longer.  Like most women, I'd rather have a root canal than shop for a bathing suit.  But I'm thinking a double root canal sounds like more fun than prancing around the beach in a bikini. However, I knew it would mean a lot to Mark.  And it did.  He told me over and over how great I looked and thanked me for stepping out of my comfort zone.  

I'd love to tell you that in the weeks before his birthday I really buckled down and lost 10, 15 or 20 pounds and that when I put on the bathing suit I felt amazing about myself.  However, that's sadly not the case.  It was just normal me in a bikini feeling very apprehensive and anxious.  I will say the only reason I was brave enough to do this is because Mark builds me up constantly.  

Since we met almost 9 years ago, there's not been a single day that he's seen me and not told me I was beautiful.  He says it in a sincere way and I know he means it.  He gets frustrated with me when I don't accept or believe him.  And somedays it's really hard to believe him.  I'm thankful for him and his encouragement every day.

Why am I sharing all of this?  Because as women we are much too hard on ourselves about our physical appearance.  We don't think we should wear bikinis or feel good about the way we look until we reach perfection.  Perfection, by the way, is a myth.  Even the people who I believe should have rock solid confidence, still have moments and days of insecurities.  So my challenge to myself and anyone who reads this - embrace the way you look and celebrate it.  Sure you can work on being fitter and more toned and lose weight, but don't forget to enjoy where you are now. 

Marathon Madness

In just 9 short days, I will have already completed the Wineglass Marathon.  It will be my 5th full marathon.  I'm running it with my dear friend Holly.  It will be her first marathon!  There is something special about your first marathon.  I'm so excited to get to run beside it and experience it with her.

So much goes into training for a marathon.   People look at you like you've lost your mind when you tell them you are going to run 26.2 miles.  Yeah, like that is the hard part. Training is hard.  Running up to 4 hours every Saturday morning for 16 weeks is hard.  Explaining to your friends and family that you can't do something because you have a long run the next morning is hard.  Balancing your diet, hydrating, cross training, work, life and running is hard.  Sure, even the marathon is hard.  But the hardest part of all for me?  The two weeks before the marathon.  AKA - the taper.

A taper is when you reduce your mileage before the race.  You spend your time resting, foam rolling, hydrating, running easy, etc.  It's not the reduced mileage that gets to me.  Let's face it, I'm totally fine slacking there.  Tapering is a mental game.  It's when those ugly emotions of doubt and anxiety creep in.   I question everything I've done for the last 16 weeks.  Will it be enough?  I should have run more.  I should have run faster.  Why did I eat those 57 cookies (not at once, but it's at least that many in 16 weeks, right)? Can I do this?  What is this nagging pain?  I wonder if I have a stress fracture.  Also, I'm an emotional basket case.  I'm already an easy crier.  But for the days leading up to the marathon, I have to hydrate extra for the random tears.  Seriously.


How do you combat the taper madness?  I have no idea.  But a little extra motivation seems to help.  Here are two of my favorite running motivators.

I know when race day gets here there will be plenty of nerves, but deep down I know I'm ready.  I love distance running.  It's a chance to show yourself what you're made of.  It's a test of wills.  As someone once told me, after you finish a marathon you feel like you could conquer the world.  That is a very accurate description.   But if you see me before the marathon, give me a hug and be prepared for me to randomly burst in to tears!  Ahhh, you've got to love the taper.