It's time for another edition of Take It and Run Thursday. This week's theme is Inspiration. There are so many things that inspire me to run, but today, I want to talk about a very special inspiration, one that is behind me every step of the way.
I am talking, of course, about my butt.
My butt and I have had a tumultuous relationship over the years. When it really began to come into its own, I was a teenager. What had been a non-entity when I was a kid suddenly became very curvy, very bubbly. Not even Sir Mix-A-Lot could keep me from feeling a tad self-consious about it, and in retrospect, what a complete waste of anxiety. I mean, please. I was a teenager, and I was running about ten miles a day. I had no idea how fabulous I really looked. I can't believe I bothered wearing a pair of running shorts over my tights, when really, I should have worn a bikini every single day to show off how amazing I looked. Youth, as they say, is wasted on the young.
My butt and I went off to college, and although I'd get in the occasional run, I also discovered the joys of bourbon, with its accompanying joy of 3 for $1 chili cheese dogs from Stop-In, preferably eaten at 2:00 in the morning. This same trend continued for years after college.
The result? My butt grew bigger and more bubbly, though my waist stayed relatively small. Buying pants became one of the most traumatic things I had to do; it was impossible to find anything that fit right. Pants that fit in the waist were impossible to get over my butt, and pants that fit my butt left such a huge gap in the small of my back that I could have just skipped carrying a purse and put all of my gear back there. And skirts? Forget it. A skirt that was an attractive knee-length in the front was a micro mini in the back once the fabric had made its way around the countours of my heiney.
Then, I got pregnant... and huge. I tried not to look at the scale when I went to the doctor's office, because really, that was not information I was interested in learning. I do wish that the nurses would be a bit more considerate when adjusting that scale. They should really start with the weight at, like, 500 pounds, and then adjust it downward because you are such a delicate little thing, rather than beginning at 100 pounds and knocking that little lever evermore to the right. But I do know that towards the end, Jack and I were over 200 pounds. I also know that not all of that weight was the baby.
At one point during my pregnancy, I got out of the shower and made the mistake of looking in the mirror. I screamed, then found Steve and said, "There are purple stripes on my ass! How long has this been going on?" Steve, both diplomatic and smart, said that he hadn't wanted to tell me, because there was nothing I could do about it. I shrugged it off and ate a ham sandwich the size of Texas.
After Jack was born, the purple stripes faded to a less livid hue, and the butt started to shrink back down. I still had problems finding pants that fit, but a combination of being too busy to eat and lugging around my giant economy-sized baby got me to the point where I had a pair of jeans that I absolutely loved. They were dark denim, boot cut, and made me feel so much cooler and more attractive.
Still, my butt and I were not peacefully co-existing; I couldn't wear those jeans every day, much as I would have liked to. So, I took stronger action. I started Weight Watchers, a program that I loved because it seemed so sustainable. It wasn't that I couldn't eat cookies any more; I had to see cookies in context with the rest of my diet and find the right place for them. More importantly, I started running more.
My body transformed. Not quite to my teenaged self - that ship has definitely sailed - but into something newer and stronger. Before long, pants started to fit me again. I tried on a pair of jeans, giddy at the fact that I was even considering a size 8. I stepped out of the dressing room and asked Steve, "Do these look good? They're tighter than I'm used to." Steve looked at me, his eyes widened, and he whispered, "Get them." I did, and when I wore those jeans the first time three people asked me if I'd lost weight. I immediately went back to the store and bought three more pairs. I still have that dark denim boot cut pair that I loved so much, but I keep them for shovelling show since I can wear them comfortably over two pairs of long underwear.
Since I started running seriously again, my butt and I get along just fine. It's no longer something I have to work around when I'm getting dressed. I can even wear skirts. I've chosen to think of those once purple stripes as racing stripes, and of my butt not as something to run away from, but as a muscle that keeps me moving - both literally and figuratively.