i will tell you what i don’t find inspiring: the stream of scantily clad skinny minnies who (used to) fill my instagram feed. ironically, that’s exactly what they need: fed. these are the images that women (and sadly) our girls see as “icons” of what is beautiful, and worse they see it as what’s expected. perhaps i’m inundated by it by being in this industry, but unfortunately you see it everywhere. when shopping for a sports bra at victoria’s secret recently, my boyfriend was gazing at the posters of the perfectly proportioned models and what came out of his mouth next was not what i expected. i mean, c’mon – they’re hot. so it shocked me when he uttered: “and we wonder why women have body image issues, when this is what they see.” (side note: i’m not silly enough to think he didn’t enjoy what his eyes gazed upon, but nonetheless i was shocked at his response. if i’d been a dude, i’m sure words would have been more along the lines of “damn, she’s hot.”)
but do images of those cellulite-free buns, stick-straight thighs that don’t touch, and perfectly perky boobs inspire me? no, not really. they frustrate me in fact because it’s not reality, well for most of us that is, and my life’s work is to change what we define as “healthy”. but rather than ramble on about what doesn’t inspire me, let me tell you what does.
at 10:56am today, my business partner (official title: director of non-important business) and my dear friend, carlos crossed the finish guess who inspired me to run my first half-marathon. and guess who inspired my line at the chicago marathon after 4 hours and 45 non-stop minutes of pounding pavement. he did this only 5 days before his 60th birthday. after seeing a friend run in chicago just one year ago, carlos set a goal to finish a marathon before he bid his fifties adieu.
his journey began slow, starting off with just easy runs, eventually running his first 5k, then 10k, and next a half-marathon in san diego before finally running the full. because i’m training for the san francisco half-marathon (next weekend!) at the very same time, we have been sharing tips, wallowing in our aches and pains, and talking paces like the pros. but what i admire most about this man is his ability to inspire anyone that has the pleasure of meeting him. ask anyone that knows him, and he is in fact the kindest, most generous, and yes inspiring person you could ever know. him choosing to run a marathon has been a trickle-down (or inspired-up, if you will) effect.
boyfriend (we’ll just call him billy) to run with me? you guessed it: carlos. then after losing mom, i wanted to find something healthy for my dad to do and knowing all i know about exercise, obviously this was my solution. but it wasn’t until dad came to california in april and saw what carlos was doing, that he decided to give running a whirl. starting out easy with the couch-to-5k program, dad has been running for six months now, and he would be the first to tell you that the running has been pivotal in helping him handle the stress and grief of losing mom – he cherishes his runs on the path him and momma used to walk. but i didn’t inspire him to do this – carlos did. then after dad started running, about three of his buddies at work have since started the same program and started training. after i decided to run the san francisco half, i inspired five more people to join team fitbook and run with me. but i didn’t start it, carlos did. now that, my friends, is inspiring. so if you ever wonder if your little choices in life impacts others, remember how carlos’ choice to to push himself to greatness inspired so many others around him.
this man didn’t just decide to run a marathon. oh no, he dedicated himself to it fully – for a year straight. and not just the running: he spent hours researching programs, trying this new shoe and that new gadget. geared up head-to-toe from the running hat and water belt (note: it’s not called a fanny pack) down to the braces donning both knees and compression socks with snazzy shoes, yes, this man quite closely resembles the terminator before heading out for a long run. then his post-run ritual is equally as entertaining, with him sprawled in his recliner with ice packs on both ankles, moving them precisely 20 minutes later to his knees, while refueling with tortilla chips y tequila. then get this: he woke up at 4am for four weeks straight before the race so he could adjust his body to the central time zone in chicago. and taking his nutrition quite seriously (not), “carbing up” was his new-found reason for needing to eat more pasta and bread than he ever did before. yes, this is dedication.
what you look like in the mirror, in my opinion, isn’t what’s inspiring. it’s the dedication behind what it takes to get there – and those you inspire along the way.
felicidades callitos, you inspire me more than you will ever know, and i am unbelievably proud of you.