After being inspired by a few close friends, I made the decision to give up artificial deodorant. I observed the other day, by mid-afternoon, as my body warms up, I smell like… an actual body. Not a perfumed apricot. Obviously, part of my motivation for removing one more source of chemicals on my largest organ was driven by health and environmental concerns (we’d all like to prevent cancer when we can). However, I am also appreciating that I am combatting a media standard that women are not sweaty or stinky when they are engaged in athletics. Oh, what is with the fiction that women end their exercise with perfectly bouncy ponytails, not a single flyaway? That they have smooth, cellulite-free skin bereft of body hair? That their bodies are hourglasses, but not too curvy; that their muscles are toned, but not too large? To be strong and active looks so different, depending on the body, the preference, and the activity. Let’s take a moment to celebrate that fit and strong women do not fit into a specific mold.
I am in the midst of enjoying my Wednesday routine. Deep water running with a friend at lunch followed by hot yoga in the evening. My yin class is helping me to grasp what it means to surrender. As I look ahead to the half marathon, I muse on the importance of both pushing through and surrendering. Endurance is critical to the accomplishment of a long distance run, but so is acceptance. When I lace up my shoes, and I start out on the first few blocks of what will shape up to being perhaps a 9 mile run or longer, I must accept and embrace what is to come. I surrender to that experience. I know that I am looking at more than an hour or two of pumping my legs and pounding the pavement or trails with my feet. I know that a podcast or music will only provide marginal entertainment. I know that parts of my anatomy will become tender or exhausted as time goes on. My spit might start to taste metallic, my sense of smell dulled by the congestion accumulating in my sinuses. My lips will dry out, and they will be salty when I run my tongue over them. The sweat will trickle between my ribs, and from my hairline into my ear canals. My fingers may chafe as my hands moisten. So much to fight, or so much to accept. This is the long run. Every long run is a surrender to the practice.
During this tapering week, I reflect on the surrender to come. I surrender to the natural appearance, smells, and sensations of my running body. I surrender to the first steps of a 13 mile journey.