Tuesday, May 21, 2013

I Hated My Runner's Body

Faking it. We've all seen it. That guy at the local 10K who is decked out from head to toe in the latest running garb, has a wrist computer roughly the size of a Jr. Whopper, and is doing some sort of aerobic routine al-la Richard Simmons to warm up. Most likely, this is his first rodeo, and he's trying to fake being in on this whole running thing. It's not the worst thing really. I'd much rather smile at that guy than grimace at someone toeing the line in hiking boots (I've seen this).

Sadly, I must admit that I have been faking. I've been faking about not being a runner.

For the last month or so, I've been keeping myself off the road for the sake of spending my athletic energies in the gym. My heart and mind are always on the road, but for the last little while my body has been leaving those two behind and started to head toward a stack of weights instead. I've always enjoyed cross training, but the only cross in this training was written over my running workouts.

Why? What led me to fake? It's because I have a runner's body.Yes, I can hear your scoffs, but hear me out.

Thanks to genetics and my chosen hobbies, I've always been a bit underweight, and my body has roughly the same contours as a sheet of printer paper. That quote from Once a Runner "Gaunt is Beautiful" comes to mind.

I'm not sure when it started, but I started to see this as a negative. I started to want a UFC/CrossFit-esk physique. Why you ask? Uh, have you seen those guys? They look powerful. They look aggressive. Their physicality effortlessly demands respect from those of us without so much muscle fiber. This started to bother me. Occasional "harmless" little jokes asking me when the last time I had a steak didn't help much either.

Alright, place your bets. Who's going down?


Truthfully, GSP isn't even a fair comparison among other UFC fighters. What a machine!

So, I made like a runner and put my time into strength training. I started getting into a rhythm, and kept up the momentum through some very unusual kinds of muscle soreness. I added 4 pounds in 3 weeks and could already see a change in my vanity muscles (biceps, delts, quads, etc.) .

The biggest change, however, was the inner conflict this lifestyle change created. I enjoyed the workouts, but not in the same way. I was always eyeing the treadmills or wondering how long it would take me to circle the gym 100 times. I missed running, but I stayed off the road because running isn't really known for helping you put on the pounds. I was slowly getting what I wanted, but I just didn't feel right.

Finally, I have had enough. I'm over this. I have realized that some of us are meant to look like we could take down a rhino with our bare hands, and some of us are meant to look like we might be recovering from a hunger strike. Life is too short to waste it trying to look like something I'm not. Changing your life based on your thoughts about your appearance is a losing game for everyone.

I am a runner, and I am ok looking like one.I hope others will read this and take more pride in their frames, regardless of its type.

I know it sickens some to hear that I am having trouble keeping weight on, but let this article serve as proof that body image issues affect the petite as well as the plump. The grass is always greener on the other side, but it's a bi*%h to mow on every side.