Thursday, April 17, 2008

No Ifs, Ands, Or...

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.


daisybones said...

OMG: stretch marks as racing stripes- brilliant!!!

:) I'm starting, um, OK- right now to count points again with Weight Watchers. Have not, amazingly, gained back my little bit of jumpstart weight lost, so I am heartened.

Also need to reacquaint body with treadmill and the path in the woods. I want a Betsy Butt!

XOXO for being a wonderful font of fitness inspiration:)

Jess said...

Excellent story! Very engaging.

newsjunkie said...

You go lady! I bet you have the sexiest butt out there on most days.

Shelah said...

I'm so glad that you and your butt are now friends. Isn't running great?

audgepodge said...

Just found you from Runner's Lounge... love the story! I can definitely relate to the booty issue :)

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Amy@RunnersLounge said...


I can't believe after you meeting you in person that you and your butt ever had issues - wow - you look like you were always fit and perfect.

This gives me hope that someday my hips and tummy will also become friends - maybe closer friends than me and my cookies. :}

TriGirl Thea said...

Inspiration indeed.

My butt is large enough the have its own gravitational pull. But at least now I feel assured that running can help me to shrink it to the size of a small asteroid.

I love your blog Betsy...youre a very funny lady.

Non-Runner Nancy said...

OMG sister, you are hilarious. And I spotted you at the marathon FROM THE BACK and it was BECAUSE OF YOUR HAIR (not your butt.) I can't believe you were ever that big with the Jackster. You look awesome. I love the hub's comment on the jeans, very cute.

Amy and I are going to try to run our butt's off this afternoon. 10 miles. Send us some good vibes :D

Nibbles said...

I think milk just came out of my nose. You are hilarious!

What made you start to want to run seriously again?

Non-Runner Nancy said...

And did you say bourbon? I knew I loved you!

kate said...

HA! I love this post! Unfortunately, I am still running from my butt, we are not on good terms. Maybe someday...!

Mazurka said...

I distinctly recall being jealous of your butt in high school.

I think you look hotter than in high school - now you're tall, lithe, graceful...and with the wisdom to listen to your husband when he whispers, "Get them." Smart man.

Laura said...

This is a very delayed reaction but... your story reminds me of the extra footage at the end of "Spirit of the Marathon" about Deena Kastor. She was cooking Mexican and adding tons of cheese, and my gut reaction was, "wow, if I run more, I can eat all the food I want. Just like Deena!" :)