I have until now not written much about weight and nutrition. This is the first of many posts to come. I as always will be brutally honest. All I ask is when you read these posts you take into consideration my feelings. I am a real person who has ups and downs. If you have something negative to say, please consider keeping it to yourself. If you want to contribute to a healthy discussion about weight and how it affects both male and female runners then by all means jump in and tell us your thoughts.

——

I am not blind to the fact that there are people who read my blog not because they find me wildly interesting [insert sarcasm], and not because they are inspired by me, but because they want to become a faster runner and I have done just that. I have taken my marathon PR from 4:20 to a 3:13 and I just took my 10K time from a 1:06 to a 40:23. They want to know my secrets so they can get faster too.

I’m betting some of you think it’s because I am thin. I say this loosely because most thin women don’t think of themselves as thin. I do however realize that in terms of comparing me to the average American woman, I am on the smaller size.

At one point in my life I obsessively entered in my weight and height to a BMI[body mass index] calculator, striving for it to say I was underweight for my height. I got to that point. No I did not starve myself and no I did not have a full blown eating disorder but I wasn’t eating enough calories to compensate for the amount I was burning.

2009
Smaller and not cuter – right?

This summer I was 3 lbs off from my lowest weight I hit when I ran my fastest marathon ever in 2010. I won a small marathon that year with a time of 3:21 and weighed less than I did in high school. I was convinced in my head that it was the racing weight I had hit that helped me take my PR from a 3:31 to a 3:21 in one training cycle. It couldn’t have been the fact that I trained my butt off – it had to have been the weight. WRONG.

2010

This summer I went on a emotional and physical journey and have learned to embrace my body more than ever. I fight the terrible voice in my head that doesn’t want to see my friends when I know I weigh more[for the record my friends never notice when I weigh more] I fight the voice that tells me I am only pretty when I am small. I fight the voice that tells me that I need to weigh less to run faster.

The fact that I have gotten faster this year has helped me gain confidence. Why? Because I weigh more. I can tell you in all honesty that I ran Columbus Marathon 6 pounds higher than my ‘racing weight.’ If weighing what my body wants to weigh means I can run faster than I’ll take that any day.

6 lbs more and 8 minutes faster

Let me define racing weight for you. Racing weight is a weight at which you can not maintain that body weight for any length of time. Typically you are only at that weight for a week or so before your body does all it can to put on the weight it needs, the weight it wants. Racing weight is important if you are an elite athlete. Their job is to win races, and even a minute advantage can help them tremendously. The women who run in the 2:20′s are thin. They work hard to stay that way but I’d also venture to say they were blessed with thin bodies, just like they were blessed with the gift of running. No amount of me wanting to be an elite will ever get me to a 2:20 – it’s physically not possible for me – but it is for them.

This summer me and my 6 extra pounds started to worry. I had trained hard for a PR marathon. I was worried my weight would hold me back. I called a girl that I look up to for so many reasons, but who also happens to be one of the tinniest people I know. I knew I could talk to her about this and she wouldn’t instantly judge me as having an eating disorder [because I don't]. I told her I would eat healthy all day but then be ridiculously hungry at night and it was making me crazy. I was sick of eating, sick of feeling hungry and didn’t want all this weight to stop me from pr’ing. The advice she gave me back was a wake up call. She weighed 5 pounds more than me.

I was confused.

How could she possibly weight more than me? How could she weight 11 pounds more than what I thought my racing weight should be.

What I realized was that my body does not want to be a 0. I might wish it did, but it doesn’t. My body was making me crazy hungry at night because though I thought I was eating enough during the day, I wasn’t.

I am pretty sure my ‘racing weight’ was much higher than the number I got down to.

I tell you this story – why?

So you will get rid of that crazy, silly, ridiculous idea that to get faster you must get skinnier.

I ran 8 minutes faster 6 lbs heavier. And guess what – since that race I’ve gained 3 lbs. Maybe I’m a little more round than I like but the point is this - being a strong, wise runner means that you have to work with your body not against it. Maybe your body wants to be bigger. Maybe this will make you bigger than your friends. That’s okay. It’s okay not to be the skinniest girl in the room.

I ran a 10K PR this weekend 9 lbs heavier than what I thought my ‘racing weight’ was. For an instant I thought to myself – Dorothy you could have gone under 40 if you had been lighter. I silenced that voice. If I had been thinner maybe my body would have been missing out on things it needed and maybe I wouldn’t have pr’ed at all, maybe it would have gotten injured, maybe I would be dealing with other physical issues.

Healthier and Happier – 2011

Eat healthy. Eat real foods. Eat foods that are as close to their natural form as possible. Eat an avocado, some tomatoes, and mozzarella cheese rather than smearing a low carb bagel with no fat cream cheese. Eat real peanut butter made from well PEANUTS – instead of some sort of processed low fat version. Make the right food decisions and your body will take the shape it wants to be.

I now rest in this fact…..

When God created us – he didn’t think to himself – I’m going to make some of you pretty, others of you ugly. He thinks we all are beautiful – he created us to be unique. We may not look like what society deems as pretty but I don’t really care what society thinks anymore. I’m worried about building up my treasures in heaven instead of worrying how little I weigh here on earth.

You may also like this post on body fat – Click Here
Want to connect with me on facebook? – Click Here

Comments

  1. Thanks for being so honest, Dorothy. I think a majority of women want to be thin, whether they are competitive athletes or not and it's an especially hard balance for faster runners I think. (Me, assuming… since I am not one of those.)

    I'm glad you are silencing the negative. You look fab (duh) and are strong. Isn't strong better than skinny? I think so!

  2. This is a BADASS post! Thank you!

  3. girlevolving.com says:

    I'm a new reader, Dorothy, and I am loving your blog. Thanks for this encouraging post. It was a good wake-up call to me to silence that voice, too. I'm strong and fast when I train and take care of my body, not when I'm a certain weight.

  4. Thank you for writing this post. I'm fighting to get faster. While on my run this morning all I thought of was, "if I could only lose 5 more pounds maybe I could PR the Philly 1/2 this weekend". I need to focus on losing the baggage in my head, not the unnecessary 5lbs. Thanks for the reminder :)

    I'm also a new reader and am truly inspired by you and your messages. Looking forward to reading more.

  5. mollyberrieshodgepodge says:

    Oh goodness. This hits home to a former version of myself. I always have been more muscular with thicker legs than the majority of my friends, all my life. In college on my cross country team I was definitely one of the larger girls, and it made me self conscious, especially with the uniforms we wore – we wore racing briefs instead of shorts, also affectionately called 'buns' or 'bun huggers'. After awhile I realized that spending time in the weight room and doing hill repeats made me STRONGER, which made me FASTER. I began to let go of the idea of being smaller = faster. As I entered the world of marathons I realized that ladies all ages, shapes and sizes could kick my butt at this distance. I have a 'race weight' that fluctuates 5 pounds. On the days I weigh the lowest I actually FEEL the worst. This training cycle I really focused on imrproving my flexibility, strength and making my training runs quality. I've always been a really healthy eater, but I think we all have room for improvement, but I did my best to focus on whole foods and tried to avoid as much processed stuff as possible. I eat peanut butter, all sorts of nuts and avocados daily. The college version of me would never eat those things once a week! I feel great, have more energy and am empowered and feel like I have much faster times in me. Cheers to embracing the bodies God gave us, and glorifying him through our runs and how we fuel these temples. Keep on keepin' on, you are such a beautiful and inspiring soul!

  6. Lindsay @ Lindsay's List says:

    My post for today is about my eating disorder that all started by going on an innocent diet before cross country season. SO thankful that I'm not in that place anymore. Weight is simply a number. A number that I no longer let dictate my life.
    I say you should throw out your scale!

  7. Scarlett Elliewood says:

    I love this post. Loooove it. I work with so many women who diet all the time and look great on television -which adds about 8 pounds to your face- , but none of them run. I run and eat and feel greeeAaat. Sure, i still watch my weight and would like to be a little thinner, but i also know that being strong can feel as good as thin

  8. Thanks Dorothy for sharing with us. I really needed to read this morning. I am always striving to get thinner thinking it will make me faster. I to hear thoughs little voice in my head all the time. Your not skinny enough or pretty enough. I hate fighting with my mind on these issues.

  9. Great post! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and struggles.

  10. A new reader to your blog and I am glad I started with this post! I really appreciate your honesty with this issue. It is very important to listen to what your body needs (even if it is a few extra pounds). You will ultimately be happier and healthier! Thanks again =)

  11. LOVE this post Dorothy!! Thank you for sharing!! Sometimes I struggle with certain things that I don't like about myself and I remember that God made us in his own image and everyone is unique and beautiful in His sight :)

  12. I love this! I think this is so true. I got to my lowest weight in January 2009. I was sick constantly which made running difficult. I felt good about myself but my running suffered. 9 months later and 10 pounds heavier, I PRed in the 5K, going under 20 minutes for the first time. I'm interested to see where my new "racing weight" will be after just having a baby…

  13. runthelongroad.com says:

    very true! i took my marathon time from 5:25ish to 3:43 with nothing but hard work and determination. my weight throughout those marathons remained the same.

  14. Like all those above me, I agree that this is a great post. I actually think this a lingering issue within our sport. I once read (and now can't remember where) that the three sports with the most reported cases of eating disorders are: gymnastics, dance, and running. It makes sense – I always look at the fast runners who I aspire to be one day, and they are all thin. I really love your perspective and insight because I look up to you as a fast runner and reading your thoughts about this issue helped put everything in perspective.

    Just yesterday, I was talking to one of my girlfriends who is also a runner and I said, "I think I eat too many calories in a day." She stopped me immediately, reminded me that I fuel my body with health, whole foods and that I burn a lot through tough training. It's always nice to have friends and training partners who can help remind us of these things.

    Thanks for emphasizing this quote in your post: being a strong, wise runner means that you have to work with your body not against it.

    I'm adding it to my training log for this week.

    Take care!
    @megmroberts

  15. Good girl!

  16. Well said! Thank you for this!

  17. Racingtales - Alison Gittelman says:

    Great post. And also interesting, because I saw your Columbus pic and my first thought was, "wow, Dorothy looks really skinny!" Perception is everything. I gained a lot of weight after the half ironman because I continued eating as if I were endurance training…finally realized that has to stop! All things in moderation. :)

  18. Nicole Wagner says:

    Great post!!! I am a small thin person by nature but I know my weight doesn't make me faster. I have been past by some girls who are easily 20 pounds more than me:) and I think you are gorgeous at 9 pounds more. Your body is adorable and you are healthy!!!! Great post darlin!!!

  19. Love this post. I struggle with this myself. I've been losing weight out of stress like a man woman lately and I've gotten addicted to my "skinny clothes" becoming bigger and bigger on me. You are right – weight does NOT matter in the slightest. Eating healthy and feeling good are so much more important. I agree with you – I don't have an eating disorder, but I am always proud of myself at night when I go to bed a little hungry. This is something I need to change!

  20. lizardruns says:

    I love this. I'm learning a lot of this right now myself. As my eating gets healthier and I'm strength training and training harder, I'm not losing weight, but I'm still getting smaller and faster. I wasted so many years obsessed with a "perfect" body that doesn't exist. I hope someday soon to be completely over that stupid mindset.

  21. Thank you for such and honest post. I will never be thin. I am what most weight calculators would say is at the upper edge of "normal". I've gained about 5 pounds since my marathon and it frustrates the hell out of me, but it's because I'm not running like I was for the past 3-6 months. I don't know what dropping 10-15 or 20-25 pounds would do to me. I think it would make me extremely UN-healthy. I don't have the naturally thin body type and fighting my body to get there would be counterproductive.

  22. foodandfunontherun.com says:

    Thank you for posting this! I think that far too many people (men and women) think that you have to be your skinnies to run the fastes. And like anything, I believe knowing your body comes with experience, and it looks like you have truly found where you need to be. I really look up to you and what you have done with your training, and it is amazing to hear that you know where you need to be – even if it is 9 lbs higher than you originally thought.

  23. Thank you SOOOOO much for this post. Yes, I do read your blog and follow you on Twitter because you are an inspiration as a mom who runs fast. Yes, I see how little you are and am envious. I am not a small person, and I am having the hardest time accepting that. I know I can lose weight but also know that I will never be "skinny" and it is nice to hear that you can get fast. I am faster than I have ever been and I can't seem to lose 2 pounds. It drives me crazy, but as a mother, I must accept that this is my body that was given to me and I can work with it. Thank you so much for being honest!

  24. That is a very honest post. Thank you

  25. Michele @ nycrunningmama says:

    I love this post, Dorothy. I felt like I was reading the story of my life when I read it. I struggled for years with the number on the scale. I would weigh myself numerous times a day – in the AM, after a 3-hr cardio session, in the PM…and was NEVER happy with what it said. The amazing thing is that once I stopped stressing about how much I weighed and how much (or little) I was eating, the number on the scale actually started to go down. I weigh about 5 lbs less today than I did 10 years ago when I was a cardio queen. I eat when I'm hungry – regardless of when my last meal was or how many calories I may have already consumed during the day.
    Thank you for being so honest in this post. It's beautiful!

  26. Thank you. I could cry reading this. I neede this post.

  27. A well needed post for all female athletes or anyone who likes to be active. Thank you for writing it.

    Like most who have commented, I have struggled with this very issue my whole life. I have finally gotten to a point in my life where I have learned to accept my body type and it's limitations as well as strengths and not to fantasize that I am an elite runner by any means. But even with this realization, occasionally those negative body image thoughts creep in my head and start to corrupt my progress.

    One little mantra that I find myself repeating on tough days is "Progress, not perfection." Life is about progress and once we stop progressing we have lost something of ourselves. I will always strive to be as "perfect" as I can be within my progress because that is in my nature but sometimes I need to remember, as we all do, to give myself a break. I have a full-time day job, I am a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, and a friend. I am pulled in many directions on any given day and the fact that I can still make time for myself to get out and run is what I consider to be a great success. That I don't run the fastest, or win any races is secondary. I am out there, doing something, something for me and only me and for that I must remember to give myself a pat on the back every once in a while and stop focusing on the number on the scale as if it supersedes everything else in my wonderful life. Thanks again for posting this and for helping to demystify this topic.

    Dream big!
    @jenarina

  28. Yes, Sister, hell yes.

    You are freakin amazing.

    Carla

  29. Cat@ Breakfast to Bed says:

    I did the same thing with the BMI calculator. I am now perfectly in the healthy range, and I'm healthier than ever. Rock on.

  30. I totally agree that it's not about the weight. There are "stocky" people who run extremely fast races and even win races. And then there are the toothpick types who come in at the very back of the pack. It is much more important that you are getting the nutrition you need and not overdoing it on the sweets/fatty foods. This is coming from someone who has chocolate and ice cream every day!!!!

  31. This is wonderful and beautiful post. Too often women are obsessed with being, not just skinny but skeletal. To obsess that if they eat an Oreo they have to punish themselves. All I can think when I see women like that is- how can you even be happy when weight and size is all that concerns and consumes you?

    I would love to be faster. Someday I may be a little faster than I am now. But that will never dictate my life nor will my weight. I may not be the thinnest or anywhere close to the thinnest person at the starting line, but I'm happy with myself for making it there. For putting in the effort.
    It was actually a blessing to me the day I read in your blog that your thighs still rub together. I don't mean that in a harsh way, but rather that if someone I admire and am inspired by can deal with the same issues I have, maybe I'm not the worst out there.

    THank you for always being honest and willing to share and support others, rather then being someone that relishes in lifting themselves up by lowering others.

  32. You didn't mention this but I think it's worth noting.

    I know in IRL and blog, runners who were once obese or overweight have improved their times as they lose weight. The time improvement has had to do with their training and not having to carry excess weight on their bodies.

    That being said, I agree that it is a different story once you reach a healthy weight. I would describe tip-toeing into underweight as dangerous territory.

    And I also agree with one of the comments above that folks can win a race at any size.

  33. Jerilee E. says:

    Love love this post. I am constantly thinking that I need to lose 7 lbs, then I would be able to go faster. While it MAY be true in my case ;) , this helps remind me that what will help me reach my goals is to work hard, train hard- that should be my main focus. Healthy eating is still a goal I am working on, but that isn't so much about losing weight as it is about eating right. This was a long comment, when all I wanted to say was Thank You for this post!!

  34. This post is another reason I admire you so much! Thank you so much for being so honest. <3

    I've actually had problems the other way. I randomly decided what my perfect racing weight is, and if I dip below that, I overeat to get it back. This post made me realize how ridiculous I've been!

  35. if this link works I think you might like this song. It is something I want my daughter to learn and something I strive everyday to believe. I also work with the youth in my church and I am trying to teach them this as well. If the link doesn't work go to youtube and search "I am his daughter"
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Co-c4Cq1X3A
    thanks for posting.

  36. This is a truly amazing and inspirational post. Thank you so much for your honesty. This is something I needed to hear. Posts like this are why I read your blog.

  37. Amen Sister!

    This post was a true inspiration to me this morning. Thank you for being honest and for speaking with love.

    Mariah
    @cupcakesnbier

  38. What a great post! This is my first time on your blog and I can't wait to see what posts you write in the future.

  39. Thanks for the post Dorothy! I so struggle with self image. This next race year I'm doing something out of the oridnary. I'm dedicating it to a friend battling cancer. I'm going to go out and having fun. I'm going to learn to like myself no matter what I look like. Something I really have never been able to do unless I'm a certain size. So thanks for sharing that you too struggle. And by the way, you are very inspirational!

  40. Excellent post!! Thank you for sharing this.

    Kim

  41. A great and honest post. I'm a fairly new runner and hope to keep running for a lifetime. I lost 70 pounds on my own, and another 20 when I started running, which brings me down to 148 – still considered 15 pounds overweight since I am quite short. I know that getting down to the "normal" weight range would probably help me be faster, but honestly, it kind of scares me! I love my body so much just the way it is, the thought of it changing so drastically is a bit unnerving, even if I know the results will be good.

    I needed to read this, to remind myself to take the focus off the numbers. If I keep training right, eating the right foods, and not depriving myself, my body will eventually balance out and find it's "happy" weight. And if that happens to still be above normal, or on the high-end of normal, then so be it.

  42. Jen @ Run for Anna says:

    Absolutely love this post! A great reminder…thank you!

  43. Running for the Kitchen says:

    oh my goodness I love this post, but your bit at the end threw it over the top. you are so right-God created us in HIS image and we are all beautiful children of God. He created us to bring glory to Him, through honoring our body and using the talents and passions He has give us

  44. Dorothy! I was JUST asking my Physics professor about how to figure out the perfect weight for any given runner that maximizes their weight. Force = mass x acceleration and there's a magic amount of weight one can be to get the most out of the muscles they have. Anyway, interesting thoughts and I'll let you know when I figure it out.

    On another note, having a little bit of weight helps you sleep better, recover faster, keep the stress levels down (which is ALWAYS better than being 9lbs. lighter). All good things for training.

    Keep up the good running, smart eating, and searching for the best training regime for you!

  45. Suz and Allan says:

    Great post Dorothy! Thanks for talking about this!

  46. Great post Dorothy! And well timed for me. As I come off an injury w/ a little more weight than I'd like, I can't help but focus on leaning down now that I can run, bike, and lift. But it's so crucial to keep it in perspective and be on top of nutrition. Thanks for the post!

  47. Carly D. @ CarlyBananas says:

    I love this post. Mostly because I am a very small person and everyone always assumes that I'm really fast and athletic and it used to make me feel really terrible about myself. It actually used to make me steer clear of exercise all together because it's frustrating not to live up to an expectation. When I ran my first 5K (in 33:54) I was elated with my time. And when I told people the general consensus was "Oh, I thought you'd be faster than that! But good job!" So that was awesome. Now I just ignore people and run because I really like to.

  48. Jennifer P says:

    I love this post. Thank you!

  49. Chelsie Varga says:

    This is a beautiful post. Thanks for sharing, we all need the reminder to silence those voices in our head.

  50. Andrea (Run. Learn. Repeat.) says:

    I used to have the exact same mentality with the weight issue. However, I'm slowly learning differently like you. I was at my lowest "racing weight" this year for Boston, but the race went horrible. I ran almost 30 minutes slower than I was trained for because I had gotten the flu the week before and all my glycogen stores were depleted. I think a major reason I got so sick was because I had pushed my body to the limit with the hard training and calorie restricting. I now weigh about 8 pounds more and just got a half marathon PR a few weeks ago. I hadn't Pr'ed in the half since 2007. I was pretty surprised that I was able to PR at my heaviest weight, and I felt great the entire race.

    Awesome post. I think a lot of runners struggle with this.

  51. Right on.

    When we met, I thought you looked like a small powerhouse. When one is overly thin, "powerhouse" is not the word that comes to mind :)

    Great post, Dorothy!

  52. Thank you Dorothy. Since I've begun marathon training I've gained weight, about 4 pounds or so. I read that this could happen and while I don't think I'm eating more than normal, I get frustrated. I have decided to not weigh myself anymore during this training because I started becoming obsessed. After reading your post I feel so much better. Being short is difficult because I feel like a few extra pounds look way more than what it really is.

  53. YAY YOU! Great post! So honest and real. That takes courage. You are inspiring Darcy!

  54. An honest and raw post. I've never considered your view before because I run and exercise to help get me fit and loose weight so I can be healthier (a work in progress) but it will certainly be something I will bear in mind for future reference once I'm there but I can certainly understand how you feel.

  55. TeamRamsden says:

    That's a very honest, brave post and I really appreciate it!!!

  56. I enjoyed this post and appreciate the comments as well. I do have one thought though…I always wonder about the stastic that I have read in a few different places that Xlbs. more weight = some percentage of additional effort to achieve the same pace. I can't remember exactly what the numbers are, but hopefully you have seen it. How do you think that plays in? Do you think that it true once a person gets to a healthy weight? While I am fit and healthy and definitely not "overweight", I would say I am definitely heavier than most runners I see at the same pace as me (5'8", 145ish and a 3:45 marathon PR). I do truly believe that if I lost 5 lbs, I would be faster.

  57. Once again, an amazing post Dorothy! I am struggling to lose a bit again only because I know around what my ideal weight is and it is definitely not extremely thin by any means! Love your honesty and your message rings true!

  58. Beth @ RUNNING around my kitchen says:

    Love this! It's such an important topic and message and you articulated it perfectly :)

  59. love this post!! i'm 20 pounds heavier than i was 2 years ago and i'm faster than i've ever been. i eat too much crap. i'm probably 10# over weight. at my skinniest (20 pounds ago) i was still bigger than you. it didn't matter. my body wasn't getting/retaining enough iron. i was anemic. which mean my body couldn't carry the oxygen to my muscles. which mean my runs sucked. wind (and other things).

    thank you for stepping up to the mic and sharing your story with us!

  60. Kristin Miller says:

    Whoa Dorothy comment heaven! Seriously though, you saying "You don't need to be the skinniest girl in the room" is totally applicable to me. I'm in constant weight anxiety limbo. Once a fat girl, always a fat girl mentally. Plus I live in NYC, the land of Central Park STICK THIN runners. I lost 7lbs this summer because I needed to. I "thinned out", never felt hungry, and took on a more natural eating lifestyle as I began training for the marathon. My body responded extremely well, I never felt hungry and always had energy. I stopped counting calories around September, when my mileage really got amped up for my November marathon. The week of the race I weighed exactly the same as August. PERFECT. I know I made smart decisions, ate appropriately, and refueled sufficiently. I tell me Yoga enrichment club students, "Food is fuel. You eat so you can have energy!" It's a good mantra that I need to tell myself in my darkest former fat girl moments.

  61. Great post Dorothy!

  62. great post
    this is all relative of course. for someone who starts out thin being thinner may not make you run faster…for me getting thinner DID make me less slow, I cannot use the word fast, it does not apply to me :)
    I lost 75 lbs..ok but now I don't see that loosing OR gaining one more lbs would affect my pace.

  63. As a runner who has struggled with Anorexia for ten plus years, this is reassuring. Thank you so much for the blog & insight!

  64. Mile Posts by Dorothy Beal says:

    Caroline – great point – however I'm not talking about if you have excess weight to loose. I was 30 lbs heavier than I am now – so yes loosing that weight did help me get faster, but it was not just the weight loss, but also the hard work I put into trying to get faster. I am more so speaking to those last 5 – 10 lbs we think we may need to loose but don't. I also think the word FAST applies to everyone. FAST is a state of mind. I was fast when I ran 11 minute miles. Your fast pace is fast, just because it might be someone else's slow pace doesn't mean it's not fast. :)

  65. Very awesome post!! Thanks for keeping it honest. Prior to my pregnancy I was at, what I thought, was an almost perfect weight (128lbs) but then I got pregnant and my body put on 20 lbs in the first 3 months and that had never happen to me that fast before and then I gained an overall 74 lbs for my pregnancy. I did, like you said, "I obsessively entered in my weight and height to a BMI[body mass index] calculator, striving for it to say I was underweight for my height", I got close..my BMI was 19. After gaining the weight I did with my pregnancy I realized that I had never been overweight before and was actually healthy looking when I was at a "normal weight" for me which was 138 instead of 128. Now my goals have realigned to be healthy and fit and not look at the scale obsessively but to train hard and look good in the clothes I have and not try to be as skinny as I was in high school which was 125 lbs. Being 5'8" it's healthy to be an athlete in the 130-140's.

  66. thethinksicanthink says:

    I have always wondered "will I never be as fast as xx:xx pace because I'm not thin enough?" Thanks for this.

  67. This is why I'm going to have my girls in Girls on the Run program when they get old enough. Building healthy self esteem and getting in some exercise. We try to emphasize healthy eating with a few treats and not weight. I know from experience everyone has a different running weight and even tho I am on the thinner side, doesn't make me faster at distance. Thanks for the post!

  68. I never, ever comment..but this post was incredible. thank you for writing it. it will be in my mind next time i tell myself i am not good enough as i am to achieve my goals. seriously amazing post. thank you.

  69. Jess @ THIR says:

    As an Athena triathlete, I think like this. ALL. THE. TIME.
    I am never going to be under 80kg (175ish pounds) because I am tall. I have incredible ridiculous muscle mass for a girl my height.
    My goal weight for a long time was 60kg. 20kg LOWER than what it should have been.
    It drive me crazy. It made me do stupid things.

    And no matter what I did, I couldn't get faster. And then I realised that I'm not designed like that.
    And it's ok.

    Thank you for reinforcing this for me today. I had a shocking bout of the "can't be f%$&ed's" last night because of this.

  70. enthusiasticrunner.com says:

    Very interesting!! Great post!

  71. New reader here- and loving your blog. You are a true inspiration.

    Also-perfect timing on this post. I am running my first marathon since having my second child. While I was at my lowest weight 7 months after her birth (doing a lot of cross-training), I am now struggling with extra pounds during my marathon training. It happened to me last marathon too. I hate the fact that my jeans get tighter when I am running so many miles ( I gain in my lower half). It's frustrating and at times makes me not want to be a runner at all.
    I was just complaining about it to my husband and he reminded me that I ran a PR 20K this past weekend. Then, I came on and read your post.

    Thank you.

  72. First of all – you look amazing. At the risk of sounding like a creeper – I think you have the body that many female athletes strive for – compact, toned, and strong! The first time I met you my first thought you just looked like a fast runner (if that makes sense).

    Anyway…moving on :) I think this is a great post. And not a very common sentiment. Body image/weight are things I've struggled with for years. I have always been a naturally muscular/curvy person, and when you grow up in a family of skinny girls that can be pretty tough. Then I ran in high school and college, and wasn't built like many of the girls I was racing against, even though I could run just as fast. At first, this was tough. I tried to lose weight so that I would look more like a runner, thinking that would make me faster. I got skinnier, but the speed didn't follow. In fact, I was hungry and probably under-fueled, so it did more harm to my running than anything else. Today I weigh more and yet I run a lot faster. I've learned to embrace the strength in my legs because they carry me through marathons. When I lift and cross train, my focus isn't on getting smaller but getting stronger. I love how you said that you need to work with your body, not against it. That's definitely something I've come to embrace. Because at this point in my life, I'd rather be a bigger size and a 3:00 hour marathoner (someday!) than a size 0 and a slower runner.

  73. Lance Beebe says:

    I just went through this…and to some extent still going through it.
    My BMI is 165 and it kills me to be above that. I went as low as 159 and stopped.
    But, my half marathon and below times got better as I lost more weight. Yet the biggest speed adjustment came when I started striking on my front foot more.
    My marathon distance has suffered because of the need to keep refueling during that distance. I'm in a new body and don't really know how to get it past 19 miles. Now I'm under the mindset that I need to gain some weight so I can last the marathon distance without running out of fuel. Either that or carry a belt full of supplies to keep my fuel going. but then i see those tiny runners up front and wonder how they get it done…are they continually refueling in the race like I seem to need to be doing?
    It's a complicated topic!
    Thanks for the post.

  74. Carolina John says:

    I also wrote a series of posts categorized "how I got fast", and the first one was on weight loss. I did actually just push down to a racing weight for IMFL 2 weeks ago, and have put on 6 lbs since then. I'm ok with that. Just like you said, I never expected to stay that thin after ironman. I did have to drop over 40 lbs to get down to racing weight, and I know i won't put all of that back on. So yes I would argue that getting thin to get fast works – to a point. Like almost everything else there has to be a point of diminishing returns.

  75. Anna Crouch says:

    LOVE this post, Dorothy! I read all the time, but rarely ever comment (only because I never have time to comment on blogs…but I'm making the time right now :) )

    What hilarious is that I hardly ever weigh myself, and went to the doctor the other day and was weighed for the first time in…..6-7 months? I've been working through (an unofficial) eating disorder-ish recovery for about a year, all the while running, getting stronger and getting faster. I knew I had gained weight (obviously since I'm "recovering") but I didn't know how much. Well….I discovered that in the last year I have gained 17 POUNDS! Yes, SEVENTEEN! I was kind of floor to say the least. I'm 17 pounds heavier than I was 1 year ago, yet I have increased my longer distance PR by 7 miles, have slashed my best mile time by 2 minutes, beat my 5K time by about 7 minutes…….ALL WEIGHING 17 POUNDS MORE. If that aint proof, I don't know what is. And as a side note, I was mostly surprised because I thought "How is it that I hated my body when it was 17lbs thinner, yet I love the way it looks so much more, when it is 17lbs heavier?" I don't know how the heck I was that thin…..I view myself as pretty thing now and when I'm hungry think "I need to eat….I don't need to lose any weight……" Whereas before I would take advantage of the opportunity to lose more. Alright, now I'm getting off on a tangent that wasn't really your original post….but it got me thinking about how far God has brought me. For that I am SO thankful!!

    You inspire me Dorothy….Have a great day!

  76. Thank you for always writing from the heart and being so honest. I always think about my weight and it has been on my mind more that I have started training for my first marathon. My commitment to myself is to eat healthier to fuel my body properly, but it is still a struggle.

    I think you look awesome and would never guess you weigh more now than a month ago!

  77. Ann ~ Sporty Girl Jewelry says:

    This is a very interesting post. I'm still trying to figure out my racing weight. I'm very thin, and am a few lbs lighter than when I ran my first marathon in June. Problem is – I'm feeling slower,not faster. Now is that bc I"m really busy w/ life so I"m tired? Or is it bc I'm not XT like I was in the spring? I don't know – but I'm trying to listen to my body and if I need to gain a few lbs to be faster, then I want to do that. Please continue to post on this subject. :)

  78. What a great post and so inspirational. I struggled with an eating disorder in college and although I was fast, I wasn't happy. It's important to find that balance and to do your best with the weight your body is naturally meant to be at. Thank you!

  79. Running Moose says:

    I LOVE this honesty! It is so true!

  80. Jay Stancil says:

    Great blog post! It's something I needed to hear

  81. So you post this with a picture of you racing in your sports bra? And your 'above race weight?' Please. Get a grip.

  82. Anonymous – clearly you did not read the post…..

  83. Dorothy…I am just reading this post. Thank you for sharing. Weight is such a tricky thing and it is something that I think most women struggle with. I am not my lightest ever right now, but you know what I eat healthy, whole foods. We will see how my training cycle goes:) Happy Holidays!

  84. this is a fabulous post. It's about time someone started being honest about their feelings around weight and food. How could anyone have anything negative to say about this. You are saying out loud what most of us are thinking in our heads. Well done!

  85. This is great and you do a good job. Thanks again.

  86. I’m browsing your website through Google Chrome and not all of the pictures is showing right. Were you aware about this?

  87. thank you — thank you — thank you for writing this.

  88. Thank you so much for this. I am a high school runner and face so many pressures of being skinny. All the super fast runners seem to be 5’5 and only 100 pounds, and for the past few months I have had to silence the voice that tells me I need to be just like them. Thank you for reminding me that God created us beautifully, that my body does not want to fight with me, and that if I’m training hard to run (not training to lose weight) and eating healthy it will show. I have been working hard and feel stronger and have track season coming up, and am hoping that I will learn to appreciate my body no matter what. 5:19 mile and 11:19 two mile…here I come. God Bless.

  89. Awesome post. Thanks for sharing… this subject is definitely something I stress out about way too often! It is so easy to be consumed with size.. as a runner and as a woman. God Bless!

  90. Thank you for writing this post. I needed to to hear something like this. I’m not thin…not sure if I ever will be. I’m also not comfortable with my body, but I’m making changes. However, none of this will deflect away from the end result and that is the finish line. Do I desire to be faster? Yes, but my foremost goal is to be healthier and FINISH. I have to put time out the window for the time being.

  91. This is what I’ve been needing to hear for a year. I’m 10 pounds heavier than I was for my last half marathon PR and scared to death that I might never reach those times again. Maybe it’s my attitude that needs to lose instead.
    Thank you so much.
    Jessica recently posted..What NOT to do the week before a half marathon raceMy Profile

  92. Thanks for nice sharing your great experience..Thanks lot everyone
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  93. Wow, I enjoyed this read sooo much!!
    And just goes to show: I ran a personal best on a 4k last night, weighing 10kg’s more than my previous time!!

  94. I L-O-V-E-D!!! this post!!
    Was searching the web on how to run faster if I’m skinnier :-)
    And your post is just so inspirational!!
    And it inspires me to find my perfect weight and not have to hunt for the first place running weight.

    I’m 10kg’s heavier than my post pregnancy weight. And want to loose that still.

    But last night I ran 45sec’s faster on our weekly 4km Time Trial than when I weighed 10kg’s less!
    And the whole combination makes me super excited.

    But again, your post has just put in into perspective to not go overboard but find that happy medium of healthy and happy!

    Thanks!

    Maringa
    Maringa recently posted..Another 21-day challenge (day 4)My Profile

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