"There is no way that fat girl could have won anything"

Being fat is nothing new. America and I have never been tiny except during the horrible times when we were battling eating disorders but of course that didn’t last.

During the last year since starting this blog and our instagram, we have done a lot of work on our psyche to become more comfortable with bodies we have. We are trying hard not to succumb to cultural expectations of our bodies. We are trying to own our bodies. The #SportsBraSquad has been instrumental in creating this positive force in our lives. Given this, America and I constantly try to run shirtless not only because it’s A BILLION TIMES COOLER but also because we want woman who don’t have a typical “runner’s body” to see there is room for them.

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A couple of weekends ago we ran a small local race and from the moment we stepped outside we knew that it would be a tough race.

Little did we know that the weather conditions were not the only thing we standing against.

It was held at a local regional park with plenty of rocky trails. Since we live in Nevada, humidity is not a really a thing, except of course on the morning we needed to race. I got off my midnight to 8am shift, dry heaving because graveyard leaves me with the worst stomach aches. I managed to stuff down a bagel and some electrolytes. America was faring much better. Our goal was to finish and do our best in the process.

We were trying hard not to be late to our 10am race but we were cutting it close. We got out of the car and my first thought was….

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“There is no way in hell I am going to wear a shirt”

 

 

Off it goes.

 

 

 

We walked to the start line and oh do I feel the nasty stares coming in my direction.

This was a small race ~300 people. Everyone seemed to be of different backgrounds and plenty of kids running the race.

Disclaimer because kids were there...I swear my who ha was well covered and there was no chance of a Janet Jackson 2004 super bowl style incidence.

The race started and to say it was cluster would say it nicely. They had us run on a paved walkway that fit one person comfortably and it was awkward for anyone else to stroll let alone run beside you. And of course it was up hill.

I choose to just slowly head up the hill but I was still managing to pass some people. When we got to the top of the hill, the path turned into a dirt road. I was feeling okay and decided to pick up my pace. I started to pass a few more people but now I have noticed I am starting to get a number of slide glances while passing. The women I passed noticed I was a chubby shirtless lady and they started to pick up their pace and tried to pass me. Within 30 seconds they fizzled out and I ran past them…..and they were never to be seen again.

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I would like to say this happened once or maybe twice. It happened 5 times. Thankfully I never heard them say anything because I blasting my tunes.

When I finally ran up the constant uphill and crossed the finish line in the grass, I was surprised that it looked like I was the first one in my age group to finish!

I’ve never finished first my age. I was ecstatic. That was until I received the results email.

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I did not run the 10k….I ran the 5k.

 

I immediately went to the timing booth. They were irritated with me. But were thankful because apparently not everyone comes up to them to correct a finishing mistake they said they would fix it. However, because I did not push for the fact that I was first my age group in the 5k. They did not rerun the results for the 5k or the 10k.

 

 

When the 5k awards finally came, I did not win my age group. It was the woman I had passed in the middle of the race. Fine. I get it. I messed up. I ran the wrong race. No beer glass for me.

The 10k awards were next. I was called up and I rush up to explain the results were wrong. As I head back down. There was a group of men near the beer tent who said well within ear shot

“There was no way that fat girl could have won anything.”

The rage was real.

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But seeing as this was a race put on in partnership with America’s organization I did not want to cause a scene but I also did not stand up for myself.

I could not believe this race. I put up with people giving me nasty glaces. I put up with people feeling dejected when a fat girl passed them so they had to sped up. I put up with not winning first in my age group. I finally allowed myself to put up with disparaging remarks about my body WHICH ACTUALLY WON MY AGE GROUP.

When America finished her first comment as “damn people are not nice today”

While passing a group of women and kids, one of the kids asked

“How can that lady move so fast? She is just so fat.”

 

Why?

I have never ran a race feeling so mad about everything despite performing amazingly. In the past I have just received for support and have never encountered people saying and performing fat phobic acts.

Have you ever experienced like this during a race?

How have you handled it?

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Here are some the microaggressions we have faced

Lazy, fat, undisciplined, unclean, stupid, weak,  

“You would be prettier if you lost weight”

“No man is going to want a fat ass woman”

“Aren’t you too fat to run? Won’t your knees hurt?”

“Ya know, nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”

“You are too fat to wear that”

“Dont worry. One day a man is going to love you even if you look like that”

“Please hide your thighs when you run, they are disgusting”

“Keep running! One day you will be skinny if you try hard enough”

“It doesn’t even look like you workout”

“Don’t you think you should cover up? No one wants to see fat”

 

I shouldn't be a runner...but I am

America's post from www.shecanandshedid.com

 

I SURE AS SHIT SHOULDN’T BE A RUNNER.

For starters, I weigh 260 pounds. That doesn’t make for easy movement.

 

Then there's the asthma. The uncontrolled, scary, my-inhaler-is-always-within-three-feet-of-my-person type of asthma which makes me think every run very well could be my last.

There’s also the flat feet and the giant arms and the big boobs with a mind of their own and the thigh rub. OH, THE THIGH RUB.

 

There’s also the skepticism. The look I get any time I talk about running that says, “YOU? How could someone SO MASSIVE possible move in a way that even closely resembles running!?”

There’s also the running industrial complex. Running is expensive and not always inclusive and certainly not accepting of people with less athletic body types. Look up the hashtag “runner” on Instagram. You aren’t likely to see people who look like me. You sure won’t find them advertised for a lot of running brands, either. Yes, Susan, I am sure that your Lululemons are magical and the best piece of running gear you have, but I can’t spend $400 on a pair of running pants that would fit one of my legs.

All this internalized b.s. sits in my head every moment.

It screams at me when I wake up early on Saturday morning.

It sits with me while I eat my eggs and toast and sip my coffee.

These thoughts are the background music as I fill my camelback and I lace up my shoes.

They get louder when I take a puff of my inhaler and put on my sunscreen and hat.

They quiet down when I start my watch.

They shut up when I start running.

 

Sometimes I can hear these thoughts over my music. When I see my pace dip or someone passes me or when I start to think of my running team waiting for ages for me to finish.

But for the most part, they're silent. Because I am doing what I was made to do.

I am a runner.

I shouldn’t be, but I fucking am. I am strong. I am powerful. I kick ass.

I run races and crush hills and I train on the track like a goddamn Olympian.

To anyone out there who struggles with these same thoughts about running, I tell you this:

TO BE THE NOUN, YOU HAVE TO DO THE VERB.

TO BE A RUNNER, YOU JUST HAVE TO RUN.

YOU DON’T NEED TO BE FAST OR GRACEFUL. OR HAVE A RUNNER’S BODY OR FANCY RUNNING GEAR OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT.

YOU JUST NEED TO PUT ONE FOOT IN FRONT OF THE OTHER.

THE NEGATIVE THOUGHTS WILL QUIET DOWN. I PROMISE.

Out, But Not Down

Today was the 35th Annual California International Marathon. 

And we did not participate. 

Our dreams of running 26 plus miles came to a reluctant end on October 23rd. It was a Monday night and we missed a weekend long run. The plan was to get 18 miles in that night. Or die trying. 

Travel (both of us) and wedding planning (Emma) and starting a new job in a completely different field (America) caught up with us. We were behind schedule and running out of time. Since it was dark outside, we had chosen a local park to run around. The Sparks Marina has a 2-mile paved path that's relatively well lit. 9 laps stood between us and glory. 

Halfway through, we called it, It was a Monday night, It was getting late and the park was not lit completely. And there was no way we were going to be able to do this. 

There comes a time when a runner hits a wall during training. You either push through or you call it and live to fight another day. Could we have run today? Possibly. Would we have made it? Maybe. But would it have been the race we wanted to run? No. Would we have enjoyed it? Likely not. 

We love running and don't want to jeopardize our relationship with this sport that we love for the sake of a race we are not ready for. 

 

So we are going to move on from this. We are going to go back to lifting weights for a while. And sleeping in on Saturdays. And running without expectation or without 500 liters of water and 8 gu packs. And we are going to train for our first marathon again. We are going to do it right. We have a better understanding of the commitment this training takes. We have our nutrition down and know what hydration works best. We won't chafe and we'll be ready. 

 

We have deferred our race until December 2018. We hope to see you there. 

Thank You, Wonderful Kind Stranger (America)

It's hard to train for a marathon with your marathon training partner in a different state but I have been doing my best to carry on. My husband has graciously started attending my weekly evening track workouts. So has our running buddy Amy, who despite her insane work schedule has been putting in work on the track as well and will be running with us in December. Amy, as well as our other running buddy Rachel, planned to run Sunday. I would be taking on 18 miles Saturday morning. 

I was ready. Positive. Looking forward to it. Despite tweaking my hamstring at the gym the day before (stupidly doing some deadlifts WITHOUT warming up), I was stretched out and warmed up.I started my 18 miles run at 11:00 am on the dot. The first few miles were slow but surprisingly smooth. I was worried about my hamstring but it didn't seem to be bothering me.

What did begin to bother me was the heat.  

It was an unseasonably warm day. And it was sunny. And there wasn't much shade along my route. I had chosen to run a few sections of the Reno Tahoe Odyssey that are famous for being brutal during the summer. They were no less forgiving on this day. I slowed down and drank more. My water supply was plentiful but lacking electrolytes. No matter how much a drank, I didn't feel better. 

I found myself walking more which I told myself was okay. Just after half way I stopped at a store and went right past the Gatorade and Pedialyte and grabbed an orange juice. It was delicious but probably not the best idea. 

I reached 10 miles and was surprised to find that I had been running for almost three hours. This was way slower than I had anticipated. I found myself hungry but not being able to take my gels or blocks. Around mile 11 I had to walk down some stairs and nearly buckled at the bottom. A quarter of a mile later I ended up on a large rock by the walking path, absolutely exhausted. 

I started to cry. 

Panicking, I called my sister. She reminded me that this was a huge jump in mileage from last week and told me to stop running and call for someone to pick me up. 

I felt defeated and everything hurt. I started crying harder. 

A woman on the walking path was passing by and stopped in front of me. She took out her headphones and asked if I was okay.  

"I am fine I just...I've just run so many miles today and I am exhaust..-" I trailed off, embarrassed that I was causing a scene. 

"Oh my goodness, it's going to be okay. Oh my gosh, you are going to make me cry. Can I hug you right now?" 

This wonderful kind woman put her arms around me and gave me a wonderful kind hug. She didn't care that I was sweaty and a mess. This lady saw someone was in pain and did what she could to comfort a complete stranger. 

This encounter encouraged me. I doubted I could go on for 7 more miles but I was determined to go on. I started running for a few steps and walking for a few more. My head was really starting to hurt. I was sweating so much it was starting to hurt my sunburned face. I ran and walked and ran and walked until I started stumbling. I cried with every step.

Before and After.

Before and After.

Sometimes runs go great. Like my Thursday track session. I flew. I literally ran my 200's faster than I ever had. 

And sometimes runs are a mix of poor planning, warm temps, and determination.

I didn't get to 18 miles, but I can honestly and proudly say that I ran until my legs and feet absolutely would not carry me any further.

 

And I got a nice hug out of it too. 

Denver Running: Cherry Creek and High Land Trail Review (Emma)

Greetings from the Mile High City!

I am currently doing an audition at the University of Colorado Department of Psychiatry. One of the reasons I choose to do an audition here was because of the lure of outdoor life in Denver.

The city does not disappoint.

I have never seen a city with so many running/biking paths throughout the entire area. The place is incredibly inspiring and makes you want to lace up your sneakers and hit the pavement.

Before my first long run in the city, I started by asking my coworkers if anyone was a runner and if they had any recommendations. The first woman I talked to is currently training for her first half marathon and gushed about all the great trails.

Her first recommendation was the Cherry Creek Trail. When I was Googling runs in Denver, this trail repeatedly popped up.  It is described as a 42 mile long paved pathway that starts in Downtown Denver and takes you to Cherry Creek Reservoir. This sounded like a great option! She did recommend to avoid starting at the trailhead any earlier than 7 am because it has a high concentration of homeless people and many drug users can be found in the area.  😳

The trail was a mile from the place that I was staying and 6 miles from the downtown trailhead. So I had no hesitations of about where I was running.

The essentials. 

The essentials. 

I ran for about 3 miles on the Cherry Creek Trail which was pleasant and nice. Very little hills and the surroundings managed to steal my attention. The markings on the pathway at intersections, however, are almost nonexistent! So instead of running to Cherry Creek Reservoir I ended up on the High Land Trial. 🤦🏾‍♀️ (didnt realize this until I was home).

There's something about a wide gravel shoulder...

There's something about a wide gravel shoulder...

I ended up running almost a giant loop and finally turned around at 8 miles. The trail divided a cemetery and I was okay with not running anymore! High Land trail is nestled in a neighbor and you see everyone’s backyard. Both trails follow a creek so picturesque, I fought the urge to jump in. The trail is great most of the year but there are clear postings that the path will flood, requiring you to detour onto the main street instead of going underneath the bridge.

 

Pros about running the trail

  1. Paved pathway! Some sections of the trail have significant gravel pathways next to it so yay for some softer ground!

  2. Very few interactions with traffic! No worrying about getting hit by a car.

  3. Beautiful scenery. The path is lined with trees and shrubbery that makes the pain of running forever a little bit more tolerable. High Land Trail offers beautiful views of the city of Denver and of the Rocky Mountains.

Cons about running the trail

  1. Absolutely no freaking restrooms! Thankfully I didn’t need a bathroom but there were absolutely no options near the trail for one. Every time I crossed a road I would pull out Google maps and look for bathroom options. Finally, at an intersection, I saw there was a 7-11. I asked for the restroom and the none too happy salesclerk pointed me to the back. He looked plenty of annoyed even after buying a Gatorade.

  2. The cars might not run you over but the cyclist may. The trails are very busy with runners/walkers/cyclist and the cyclists are typically not too happy to be dodging the two-legged transportation. I tried to run on the gravel path whenever possible or close to the edge.

  3. Not the friendliest of runners. Rarely did I get wave/head nod back from other runners. 😕

 

I am so excited to venture out and see what the Centennial state has to offer!

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A 16 Mile Run That Wasn't (America)

It's was supposed to be a 16-mile run. It was supposed to be difficult but rewarding. I was ready. I had spent all day hydrating and stretching and was excited to crush it. The run was going to take place the morning after my 28th birthday. I specifically planned my birthday dinner to be the correct mixture of carbs and protein.

So when I found myself later that night riding the porcelain bus, needless to say, it wasn't part of the plan.  

I woke up (on time) hoping it was just a bug, but was disappointed to find myself somehow feeling worse. I texted my run buddy that I was bowing out and fell back asleep, hoping to wake up ready to run 16 miles. 

I did wake up, slightly less sick but infinitely more determine. I laced up, Vaselined up, and filled my Camelback with sweet ice water and set out. I decided to run around my neighborhood instead of heading into town like I normally do. There's a route that is 8 miles with a few hills and some great mountain views. I planned on doing two laps.

Keyword there is planned. 

I got down my street...and seemed to run out of gas. I started running again, only to start walking a short time later. I couldn't get a good rhythm. I fought off waves of nausea. My playlists didn't motivate me. I was tired and I felt crummy. 

Emma called me during her mile 15 and my mile 5. She sounded so strong while all I wanted to do was cry. I was so slow and I didn't know how I was going to make it. My stomach wasn't happy and my right calve was not happy about me running. She gently reminded me that running after food poisoning was a huge accomplishment and to not push it with an angry calf.  

"You look so strong!" she told me. I replied that it was impossible for her to know what I looked like. 

"Well, you sound strong."

I guess I was. I should have probably not even left the house or gotten out of bed. This wasn't going to be the run I wanted, but it was the run that I fought for. every single mile was a victory.

 

I painfully and slowly made it through miles 6 and 7. At 7 and a half I started dry heaving At mile 7.75 I started walking. As I stepped on the porch, I met my husband who met me with some water. 

"I didn't make it 16 miles," I said, defeated. 

He smiled. "8 is close enough."

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10 Miles and A Silver Medal

Anyone who knows us knows that we are always busy. Whether is running, work, studying for med school (Emma), sleeping in on weekends (America), or hanging out with our crazy family (both of us), our weekends tend to fill up quickly which can make scheduling our long runs a challenge.

 

Such is the case with our 10 mile run. We had agreed to participate in an charity event for former Reno Tahoe Odyssey teammate which meant we had to get in our long run EARLY. It’s hard enough to have the motivation to run 10 miles, let alone to have motivation to do it early.

Our clothes were laid out and the alarms were set. We had a 6am start time

America: I totally dropped the ball on this one. I intended to wake up at 4:30 am. That would give me enough time to eat and stretch and make it down to our agreed meeting place.
Instead I woke up in an absolute panic at 5:41am when Emma called me. I live 30 minutes outside of time. I was going to be late.

We finally made it to our start point. 40 minutes late and ever mindful that we had only a certain amount of time to get the miles in. Running 10 miles can be difficult under the best of circumstances, but running it under a time crunch can be TOUGH.

And it was. It was slow and painful and it was hot and I was stressed out and disappointed for waking up late. I was also thirsty. Very thirsty. I hadn’t ran more than 6 miles in two months and this was a challenge and I forgot that I love to drink tons of water on runs longer than seven miles.

 

Emma: This is when having training partners can be difficult. Having people who depend on you get to up and meet on time is incredibly motivating. It forces you to push the voices in your head that say “just go back to bed. You don’t need to run”
to the background. The louder voice of “you better get up, you have people depending on you” to push itself forward.

But what happens when you are the partner that is waiting for at the meetup spot for everyone else?

Either get mad or adjust.

This day I choose to adjust.

America was supposed to come pick me up because my fiancee took my car to work. When she finally called me that she wasn’t going to be remotely on time, I decided to call an Uber
to to my mom’s house so I could borrow a car.

The gentleman who picked me up was surprised I was dressed for a run rather than for a walk of shame. He was asked where I was headed and before I could answer he immediately starts explaining that he used to run when he was younger. He then explains that he once was running in a field near his house and he kept running until he legs couldn’t carry him anymore. Despite this being tired he was overcome by sheer joy.

“Was this a runner’s high do you think?”

“I think it’s totally a runner’s high. One of the most amazing feelings that a person can feel. Its one of the many reasons I run. Do you think you will ever run again?”

He just laughed at me and pointed to his large belly and “I doubt it but you never know.”

I got out and ran into the house to grab the keys to start my 10 mile run. Rough start but we were able to get the 10 miles in.

 

We grabbed a breakfast burrito and headed to the marina where the race was. We missed our first heat in the race. We stretched, chatted with our awesome team, grabbed some iced coffee, and almost missed our second heat.

If you have never raced dragon boats before, you should. Your team consists of 20 rowers and a drummer. Our race distance was 400 meters. It was difficult to get 20 people who have never practiced to row in time with a drummer, but we managed a win during our second race. We even managed to win a silver medal during our last race.

 

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All in all, it was a good day.


 

Not Quite My Tempo

There are few things more stressful to a runner than the interruption of a training plan. Especially when the runners are insane type-A people with limited time.

This weeks workout was some tempo running and some 800s. We got to a local high school track around 6am only to find the parking lot jam packed with high schoolers. It was Senior Sunrise! Not wanting to crash the first big event for the Class of 2018, we decided to postpone until the afternoon and grab a breakfast burrito.

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After a productive day, we returned to the track.

And it was hot. 30 degrees warmer than when we normally train. And we were tired after our long productive day. And dehydrated. And full of either sushi or Vietnamese carbohydrates.

Emma: I have never had a run where I felt my whole body completely opposed what I was doing. I was hot and miserable. It was like running in concrete or quicksand or peanut butter or something else that is impossible to run in. The heat sucked. Our nutrition sucked. Our hydration sucked. No matter how hard I tried to push it, my body said “Nooope.”

America: It was a mentally tough workout. I kept thinking “if I can’t make it through this, how am I going to run 26.2 miles?” It was a hard mentality to break. I tried focusing on pace but I kept getting discouraged because I was slow. And I tried to just keep running but I was tired and it felt like my legs were just tight and I felt sore and it was a mess.

 

It would be easy to go into a tailspin after such a horrific run.

We are 15 weeks out and these runs are crucial to our success on December 3rd, but they do not determine it.

So we lose this battle and we learn and we live to fight another day.

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When you encounter these types of days. What do you do to push through?

 

We're Doing It. It's Happening.

We are doing it. We are running a marathon. The pinnacle of road races. We have signed up for the 35th Annual California International Marathon on Sunday, December 3rd.

And there’s no going back.

We have run a half marathon and a few of the Reno Tahoe Odyssey relay races, but nothing with this sort of mileage. We have also been on the record of saying the following:

13.1 miles is enough.

I have no idea how anyone in their right mind  want to run a marathon.

I have no interest in running a marathon.
— Us, on various occasions.

You get the picture.

So how did we end up signing up?

Emma: I have had this notion that there would be no possible way I would be able to run a marathon. Even though I am a runner, I’ve had this belief that  a marathon wasn’t for me or for someone with my body type. And then I woke up one morning and thought “well what if I could do it?” I was also really inspired by Kelly Roberts of Run Selfie Repeat and seeing her go through her mission to qualify for Boston. It was inspiration for me to have a goal so big, so insurmountable and to just to tackle it and my fear. And that’s when I called America.

America: Emma called me up one day and told me she was thinking about running a marathon like she was telling me she had a sordid secret. The history with Emma and I is this: Emma will have an insane idea and will say let's do The Thing and I will say I don’t want to do The Thing but then I end up Doing The Thing. And all of a sudden she signed me up and paid for it and it’s happening.

What do we hope to gain from this?

America: For me, as it stands now, the marathon is completely separate from the training process. Right now I am geeking out on the training. I love planning and organizing runs and seeing how training builds up to something. I am really excited for the fact that for the next 18 weeks I will be dedicated to something. At the beginning of this process I am going to be at one place in my running and at the end of this 18 week program I am going to be at a different place. The race is going to be a race. It could be wonderful or terrible. But training is going to be exciting. It’s my favorite thing about running with Emma. She comes up with a crazy idea and a plan and then I organize the plan and keep us accountable to it.

Emma: The focus is on the training.  I love to train. I love to grow as a runner. At this point I don’t really care about the race. I am more focused on changing me and growing. And at the end of the day, that’s what matters. I hope the race is awesome but even if it isn't at least we trained and give it all we could.
 

Motivation.


We are excited for this crazy journey and hope you will follow us!