Strong > Sexy

When I was in high school, I was very tall and fairly thin.  Strangers often asked me one of two questions:  1) Did I play basketball? or 2) Was I a model?  One woman at a supermarket even asked me if I was a Swedish model.  I don’t know what made her think this brown-eyed brown-haired girl was Swedish, but I was flattered nonetheless.  I never did play basketball, but I did play one year of high school softball.  I never aspired to be a model, though I was once invited to walk in a fashion show for evening wear, which I accepted.  I modeled three or four different dresses, and I enjoyed the experience.

As a young woman, I remember looking through Victoria’s Secret catalogs and wishing that I looked like the supermodels on the pages within.  Most women want to feel sexy and desirable.  (There’s a sermon here about vanity, but don’t worry, I’m not going to preach tonight.)  Thankfully the good Lord blessed me with a husband who has said I am sexy through all my different sizes and shapes, and would find me desirable in a potato sack.  But as I’ve gotten older, my idea of “sexy” has changed and matured.

athelta

I used to get excited about a new Victoria’s Secret catalog, but now…not so much.  Now I look forward to receiving my Athleta catalog.  (In case you’re not familiar with the brand, Athleta is Gap Inc’s line of athletic clothing.)  I look at the women – mostly my age – in the pages of an Athleta catalog, and I know I would choose to look like one of those models over a Victoria’s Secret model any day.  Some of the VS models look fit and toned, but most of them look thin and frail.  Athleta models look active and strong.

Sexy...And that’s what I want to be…strong.  I want to be strong so I can play with my kids now and with my grandkids later in life.  I want to have the energy to make it through my crazy-hectic schedule each day.  I want to remain active as I get older.

If nothing else, this “trick hip” I’ve developed (it pops in and out of place) has reminded me that I’m getting old.  I will be 40 in three and a half short years!  My body and my overall health are starting to require more maintenance.  The skinny body of my youth is long gone, and I’m perfectly okay with that.  It wasn’t a particularly healthy body.  I ate a Taco Bell bean burrito, a Snickers, and a Coke several times a week for lunch.  Not exactly the diet of champions.

...Strong

This goal of trying to get back in my wedding dress is not some attempt to reclaim my glory days, because I think my glory days are still ahead of me!  I want my body to be a tool for God’s service, and that motivates me to get in shape more than getting in my wedding dress.  He’s not done with me yet, and as long as He chooses to leave me on this earth, I want to be ready for whatever adventure He assigns me.  What better way to ready for action than with a strong and able body?

That’s way better than sexy in my book.  :)

Asics Gel-Nimbus 15 (aka: one-fourth of my paycheck)

New ShoesMeet my new running shoes – Asics Gel-Nimbus 15’s.  Aren’t they pretty?!?  At first I thought it sounded like something from Harry Potter, but they are indeed a magnificent pair of running shoes.  (And they should be for what I paid for them!)

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been having some wicked shin splints (but more on the inside of my leg), and I knew that I needed proper running shoes.  I called my sister-in-law, a CrossFitter and a previous resident of Little Rock, and she suggested several specialty running stores in the area.  This past Sunday afternoon, I set out to find the perfect pair of running shoes for me.

Here’s what I learned at my first stop, Easy Runner in Little Rock:

  • I have a “neutral gait,” no special inserts or corrective shoes needed.
  • A good pair of running shoes should last 300-500 miles.
  • I have been neglecting stretching before I run (tsk, tsk, tsk) which could be one culprit of my shin splints.
  • I should be taking in electrolytes before, during, and/or after my run to help with muscle recovery.
  • Asics loves to make very loud shoes.  No dull, boring colors for them.
  • There are special compression socks for running.  They support your arch, have a seamless toe, and wick away moisture.
  • Running can easily become a very expensive habit.  There was all kinds of neat gear in there!

I tried on several pairs of shoes at Easy Runner, but didn’t find any winners.  I did buy some fizzy electrolyte/sodium tabs and a special hand-held water bottle for runners.  I moved on to Academy Sports in North Little Rock…no luck there, either.  Although I did get some running socks there.  My final stop was closer to home at Hibbett Sports in Searcy.  I had already tried on several pairs of shoes at Hibbett last week, but I wanted to look in Little Rock before making my decision.

A nice young man helped me narrow down my options until two pairs were left:  a pair of Brooks and a pair of Asics.  I loved both equally, but the Asics had more rugged soles.  Because all my running is on asphalt, I figured that more rugged was the way to go.  So I handed the young man one-fourth of my take-home pay to buy my first pair of running shoes.

New Shoes x 3I wore my shiny, new Asics Gel-Nimbus 15’s for the first time tonight for a run with a couple of friends from work.  Each of us has purchased new running shoes in the last month, so I had to snap a pic of our new kicks.  :)

My new shoes were a dream!  So springy and comfy.  I think I made a good choice.  Now I’m not only running to “get in the dress,” I’m running to get my money’s worth out of these shoes.  Ha!  I still have a lot to learn about running, but I’m ready to hit the pavement again.  And hopefully it will be less painful now.

Shin Splints & Brown Rice

Wow!  What a week it’s been…and it’s only Tuesday!  Yesterday was the first day of school, both for my children and at the university where I work.  My youngest son started Kindergarten.  <sniff, sniff>  Needless to say it’s been an emotional couple of days.  <sniff, sniff>  The workplace has been a zoo, especially last week.  In college administration, the week-before-fall-classes-start madness is always a crazy time.

In other news, I have been slowly increasing my walking/jogging efforts, and now have shin splints to boot.  They are strange shin splints, though.  Not so much on the front of my legs (where I’ve had shin splints before), but on the inside of my legs.  I feel pretty certain that a lack of good running shoes is one culprit, but decided to call my sister-in-law – who’s in the medical field – for further possible causes and treatment.  She had some great tips for me, and I’m anxious to explore each one…stay tuned for more on this!

In still other news, my husband and oldest son have recently taken a liking to rice.  They are two of the pickiest eaters I know, outdone only by my youngest son.  I have been fixing white rice at least one night a week since this amazing discovery was made.  One nutrition book I’m reading suggests that brown rice is better for you than white rice.  Dedicated to buying better foods, I picked up some brown rice at the grocery store on Sunday.  Guess what?  Brown rice takes twice as long to cook as white rice.  I let it cook for 30 minutes (per package directions), and it still wasn’t tender.  It is still in the pot on the stove.  Yuck.  Back to white rice we go.  At least until I figure out the secret of cooking brown rice.

Well, I guess that’s all for tonight.  Gotta go elevate my legs (ouchie!) and get some shut-eye.  And brainstorm about what I’m going to do with a partially used bag of brown rice….