You’ll be happy to know that I still love the name defiant athlete and will not be changing it this week.
This week was a little tough for me. It had its ups and downs. Things are going to get a little TMI right about now, so feel free to skip ahead to the ten list.
I was on my period this week. You’d think after 25 years I’d have the hang of this thing by now, right? But yeah, not so much. It knocks me on my ass every single month. Since I was 14. Every month. Now, there is some good news. See, usually I get the flu for two days before my period. Like clock work. A two day flu, followed by five days of misery, every single month since the summer before the tenth grade. That’s a quarter of my life, yo. Suckage.
Turns out, the flu thing is tied to gluten. I’m not a doctor, and I can’t even get a doctor who will listen to me tell them that I have a gluten issue, so I don’t know what eating gluten has to do with my period. But I do know that this month, like every other month where I didn’t eat gluten for the weeks prior to my period, it snuck up on me. That doesn’t happen to me. Ever. My period arrives with flags waving and trumpets blaring and me feeling like the whole damned parade marched over my poor body. Except if I’m gluten-free.
Also the five days of misery are reduced to two, which I will take. But there are still those two days, and they still leave me feeling like a weird, dysfunctional creature for a while. My mother had similar periods to me, by the way, and when she was my age she had a hysterectomy and went on replacement hormones. She said that the surgery gave her back her life. Unfortunately, the hormones took it 8 or 9 years later when she got breast cancer and the they made it grow faster than the doctors could treat it. So, this period thing is a big deal to me. I really, really don’t want a hysterectomy. Ever.
Okay, this long and winding TMI story is basically to tell you that this week was a little up and down for me. While the week of doom was reduced to two days of the icky blahs, I still had some of the mental stuff that comes knocking every month. For some reason the only time I ever really feel fat and super uncomfortable in my own skin is when I’m on my period. The rest of the time, I know I’m fat, but I feel functional and healthy. I still had that discomfort in my skin thing this month, but it was less and for a shorter time. So that’s good.
All of this is to explain that I decided to take two days off of exercising this week. In a row. When I’d already taken one day earlier in the week. At first I was upset with myself. My inner Debbie Downer was all “what a fucking lard ass. Get out of your chair and go take a goddamn walk.”
No, really. That’s what she said.
But, since I wasn’t exercising, I was spending more times reading some pretty amazing things that some pretty amazing bloggers have to say about body acceptance and HAES. And I realized that, while food and diet get the bulk of the press regarding HAES, movement and exercise fits in as well. And learning to listen to my body and then honor what its telling me is a huge step in achieving the level of self-acceptance that I’m aiming for. It’s as important as removing the moral judgment from chocolate and cheese. It really is.
I’ve worked out 5 or 6 days a week for five weeks. This sixth week, I only worked out 4. And that isn’t good or bad. It just is. It’s morally neutral, just like I’d believe it was if anyone else on the planet Earth told me that they skipped two days of exercise.
Yeah. Learning to treat myself as well as I’d treat any stranger off the street is taking some time, but I’m getting there.
This week’s ten list:
1. I tallied 830 training points this week. This was super exciting, because Sally Edwards says that 800 to 1000 is the training load for someone aiming for a sprint triathlon.
2. I walked 2 miles once (outdoors) and 2.5 miles once (on a treadmill with hills) this week. This is the furthest I’ve walked in at least five years.
3. Today I walked for thirty minutes on the treadmill, on the hill setting, at 2.8 mph. This is the fastest I’ve been able to walk in weeks. My shins didn’t bother me at all!
4. I do feel a knotted muscle in my left butt cheek. (I am the queen of TMI tonight, right?) It doesn’t feel like a serious problem, just a tight muscle. I’m going to use my special softball-on-my-mattress trick to work it out tonight.
5. The softball-on-my-mattress trick involves placing a softball, or a baseball, between my body and my mattress and rolling gently over it on sore muscles to work out the knots. It works like a charm.
6. I have alternated pretty wildly this week between utter inspiration and almost crippling doubt. The inspiration is winning.
7. I’m worried that all this talk about athleticism is maybe making people who have mobility issues or other differences in ability feel like they’re left out of my enthusiasm or like I just don’t think they count as defiant athletes. I’m planning on writing about this in the upcoming week, because it’s a topic that means a lot to me.
8. I need a senior study project for my BFA, and I’m 90 percent sure that Defiant Athlete is it. I have huge ideas. Great big ones, I’m telling you. I’m so excited, it’s hard to contain myself sometimes.
9. I have decided I don’t like my exercise journal. I don’t like that I have to ignore that half of each day’s space is supposed to be used to record calories and fat grams. I’m seriously considering designing my own, which could then become part of my senior study. Something tiny, that I can bring with me to the gym without looking like I’m lugging my little black book around.
10. I’m curious about something. If I did design this little HAES-friendly Defiant Athlete journal, would you be interested in having one? My idea is maybe a little monthly 1/4-size 16 or 20 page ‘zine with pages in the back for recording your training and maybe some art/photographs/words in the front. Something worth holding on to. If something like this was cheap–like not much more than the cost of producing and shipping it (I’m thinking something like $2.50 per book delivered in the US and a little more internationally, but I have no idea what it would actually cost to produce. This is a price I’ve seen on other ‘zines though, so I’m assuming it can be done) would you want one? Theoretically, of course. I won’t hold you to it. If its something you’d consider, what would you like to see inside of it? Ideas?