running: where I am

Over the last two months I’ve dropped off of running, more or less. Hard to believe I actually ran a 13.1 mile race back in May, right? Needing a long term goal, I signed up for Grete’s Great Gallop, a half marathon in October. October 5th, to be exact. A great time of year in Central Park. Plus, it’s a course that I love.

My training plan is simple: we’re about 9 weeks out, so I started at 4 miles, last week, and am adding a mile each week until the week before, when I’ll drop down to 7 or 8. I’m also going to try to work on speed in some of my runs, and hopefully carve a little bit off my time. I’m aiming for 3-4 workouts a week (which is something I didn’t necessarily do last time I was training). My goal is to be better prepared than I was for the Brooklyn Half.

Last week was my first official of training, and it was incredibly difficult. All three days were hot, humid, and I had a stroller. I also wasn’t expecting the changes in Cleo; back in the spring she would sit or sleep in the stroller for an hour or more on my long runs. Not so much any more. She’s a toddler, and behaves as such. Snacks flying, arms flailing – a full out toddler. I’m realizing I’ll need to adjust my training plans accordingly, and distance may not necessarily be a possibility with my tiny partner.

Shoes 1

Shoes 2

Shoes 3Still, I’m excited to have a long term goal. The next 9 weeks will be a mountain, but I’ve done it before. It’s possible.

And there’s nothing really great about the glory if you don’t have a climb, anyways.

lessons on bathing suits, from a little girl in lycra

Over the last twenty or so years I’ve bought more bathing suits than I can count. I’ve coveted expensive pieces; despised ones that simply don’t fit (and should have never been purchased). I’ve found a select few that were perfect (and sadly, didn’t last forever). I should add that I’ve also invested in a stack of modest cover ups, like any self respecting woman.

I still remember one of my first swimsuits – a wonder woman one piece. I wore that thing to bits, because who wouldn’t? Conquering the monkey bars was possible simply because of that suit. I was a four year old on a mission, baking in the hot Louisiana sun. The world was my oyster. Clad in a little piece of lycra.

Since then, bathing suit memories are littered across my past; tributes to summers well spent. The skimpy pieces I wore throughout high school and college; the more refined ones I now choose as a mother of two. I have a swimwear drawer that reflects the changes my body has experienced over two pregnancies and breastfeeding stints. Selecting a swimsuit two months postpartum isn’t anything to scoff at. Finding something that’s appropriate for nursing on a pool deck? Equally complicated. In certain two pieces I still have moments when I wonder whether the line of my c-section – the best battle scar I could possibly hope for – is showing. Who cares? my husband says.

He is so right.

When I first found out Gemma was a girl, I made a conscious promise to abandon any body image issues – or at least confine them to my own mind. I certainly didn’t want to pass that type of negativity on to my girl. And now, with two daughters, it’s a goal that’s  even more poignant. I want them to feel beautiful because of who they are, and what they can do, versus how they look. Easier said than done, you say. Agreed. But I strive to be a rock in the sea of images and voices that consciously (and subconsciously) echo “you’re not good enough”. Because those will always exist. And it’s my job to drown them, as a woman with over thirty-six years of experience.

I am strong. And they will be too.

I first spotted a tiger suit on the JCrew website two months ago. It was perfect for Gemma, my big-cat obsessed daughter. I pulled the trigger on the 39.50 price tag (a bit steep, but did I mention it was perfect?). Since then, she’s worn it practically every visit to the pool. She’s become “the girl in a tiger suit who pretends to be a tiger.” Diving and jumping and floating (and even growling, periodically). A tiger.

Last weekend, we visited my parents in Connecticut. Gemma selected the suit for a dip in the pool. Her grandparents were impressed. We all discussed how “incredible” and “beautiful” it is.

“it’s not beautiful,” she responded. “It’s fearless.”

And my heart sang.

If only she can remain so fearless. Clad in a little piece of lycra.

tiger 2