Photo from Mount Royal, Frisco, Colorado.

"That is happiness; to be disolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep." - Willa Cather

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Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Bra stuffing and other things female runners (might) do to seem normal

Am I the only long-distance runner out there who is barraged every holiday season by relatives with accusations of being insane/unhealthy/crazy?

Well, this year I was prepared. Despite only sleeping 3 hours because of hospital call and The Lorax not being able to sleep, I was all ready to appear "normal" for the Christmas dinner SR's mom's family held on the 27th of December.

(I had, of course, taken time to run for a couple hours that morning, most of which with The Lorax in the baby jogger).

I took a shower and shaved the pits smooth. Yes, I've had a change of heart. I used nicely scented soap that SR had picked up at a hotel. I might have even used deodorant if I owned any. I had a slinky red top, tight black pants and my strapless bra lying out to wear. I shortly realized the bra was a bit too big. But that was easily solved by stuffing a small pair of socks in it. Just because I prefer being thin, doesn't mean I don't appreciate the beauty of curves.


Painting of Luisa O’Murphy by François Boucher, 1752


I did my hair in a beautiful braided style and put on my 50 cent beaded bracelet from Guatemala. SR and I even remembered to bring two vegetarian dishes to pass for the dinner. And the kids looked great. It could only be a success...

The dinner itself was wonderful. I just love herring, dark ale, marzipan and chocolates. Plus the vegetarian taco dish SR made was amazing. SR and I both won gifts in an old Danish phrase and climate quiz respectively. It was a really fun party. And I was starting to feel way too full from all of the food.

And then the interrogation started. "Why don't you just allow yourself to eat? Why don't you allow yourself to have fun? Why don't you gain weight? Why won't you let yourself be happy? Why do you run so much?"

It all seemed a little surreal. I am just a happy person by nature. And I sure do love to eat. I even said I wished I were 1-2 kgs lighter, because I thought I would feel just a little better and be a bit faster of a runner. If only I could get myself to eat a little less! But everyone stared at me with concern. Okay, people, I'm not crazy. I'd much rather stuff my bra and be running marathons at 85 than have a voluptuous body now and diabetes and heart disease in 20 years. But I'd never go up to another person and say they had better lose weight or start excercising.

Then poor SR became the center of attention and was accused of being "særlig". This is somewhere between special and weird and where exactly between them it lies is up to interpretation. Part of me felt bad for him, but part of me felt proud. Why shouldn't we just be happy to be "særlige" together? After all, we at least think our life is good and that we and the kids are happy and healthy. We have always done what we believed was right for us and our family and have never just followed trends or the crowd.

Hey and I at least know that neither of us is schizophrenic because neither of us smokes :). But we lay in bed last night discussing whether or not we really do have psychiatric disorders. We ended up deciding on obsessive compulsive personality disorder for me (no surprise there!) and social phobia for SR. Ha ha. At least we have each other. And I wouldn't change a thing.

Note on the cds: It's NOT too late for you to receive the running song cd's from me (best Danish running songs of 2009 and best running songs ever). Just send your address to sealegsgirlblog@gmail.com)

12 comments:

Marilyn said...

No, you are not the only female distance runner who has to contend with comments/concerns/criticisms from well-meaning(?) family members. There is no point in arguing or even responding. A nice smile and a quick change of subject is my favorite reaction.

Fast Bastard said...

I like to think of my disorder as "agoraphobia". Not a crippling fear of crowds, just a preference for avoiding them.

SteveQ said...

Okay, what caught my eye was the schizophrenia and smoking - the only schizophrenics I've known were chain smokers and I've heard it's common, like a sort of self-medication.

"Saerlige." I like it; sort-of like "off-beat," could be a compliment, but probably isn't.

Enthused said...

My mom ALWAYS yells at me for being too thin, and will ask me if I think my very fast marathoning sister is too thin! And you know what? She also gets on my Dad's case for being too thin!!! It's not just a female thing....

cherelli said...

as one of my friends said here: "there is a reason family only gets together for that one special day of the year"... :) It's like anything really - as you change interests or lifestyle the people you CHOOSE as your friends changes a bit...but family will always be there despite where they would normally fit into your social circle if were to be able to CHOOSE them. Plus I love your attitude; as long as you and SR are happy with each other psychological problems who cares about everyone else!! :)

olga said...

While I never was occused by my family of being thing or not eating enough (no wonder), the running question had come up in so many bad ways, I don't tell my parents I run anymore. Easy, since they are an ocean away. When they do ask (once a month?) - I say "no". Problem solved:)

SteveQ said...

Oh - and I have a diagnosis: autistic dysexecutive syndrome.

So screw you, posers.

(For the uninitiated, that's supposed to be funny AND a symptom)

kathleen said...

no you're not alone and actually, I came to FL (where my husband and my families are) very defensive, loaded with all this research and info expecting to get the treatment you got. especially now that i am pregnant. i came to christmas with my own veggie based vegan dish and to my surprise no one asked or said anything about my exercising or food choices. not a thing.

now i don't quite know what to do with myself. lol.

the thing is, you've done your research. made your educated choices and exercise because it makes you feel great. i don't understand why people think that it's their business to tell you what they think the right amount of food and exercise is for YOU. maybe it's guilt. like they know they should be healthier and having someone around who is makes them feel bad about themselves? who knows.

Emily said...

you have OCD and I'm pretty sure I have GAD. anxiety disorders can be genetic. sisters with issues.

sea legs girl said...

Okay, Emily, the time to stop studying psychology is NOW! Oh, I'm just kidding. I'll stop trying to raise the anxiety level...

Marathon Princess said...

Nope, not the only one. I get so many comments about my food choices, size, running, etc from family and strangers. I hate shopping for clothes when things don't fit and they sales people say "just eat more and things will fit". Why is it okay to comment on someone's size when they are thin, but no one would ever think about commenting on an overweight person's size or food choices?
Being pregnant this only gets worse, so funny how everyone else knows what is best, I don't know the number of times I have been told I can't run/workout while pregnant, need to gain more weight and must eat meat. Strange how my OB has none of these same concerns :)

Helen said...

You are too cool for words! Clearly being who you are and not what others thing you should be is working for you guys - keep it up! And Happy New Year!