Life After D1

Life After D1

Learning to stay fit- on my own terms
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Quick backstory here:

I started running in middle school because my dad ran and it looked fun. I enjoyed the challenge and stuck with it through varsity cross country and track in high school and then three years of division one college cross country with Niagara University. It wasn’t until seven years after I started running that I took a year off for my thesis. That’s a long time.

Naturally, not running felt weird. I rarely ever took more than a single day off during a week, and even then I usually still did core exercises and short runs on my off days just to stay fit. Most mornings I woke up early to do workouts and long runs and I raced once, sometimes twice a week for long stretches of time. Not running was relaxing and it gave me vital time to work on my massive thesis paper, but something felt like it was missing. A big part of my life was just gone.

Now that I've graduated, reclaiming that part of myself has become something of a project for me. Job searching is still my primary focus so competition is no longer on my mind at the moment, but the need to stay in shape is something that doesn't disappear after a collegiate career has been completed.

That's what it's about, really; not just being healthy, but feeling healthy as well. Sometimes, too much competition can be mentally draining. Too little activity can make one feel lethargic though, so there's a balance that I need to learn to strike through trial and error. I've never had to learn how to do this until now because I've always had a constant regiment to follow, so figuring myself out has been something of an adventure in itself. Learning to read the signs my body is showing me and slowly work back to where I once was in terms of physical capability has come in fits and starts, but I know I'm far from the only one who has had to do this. I feel confident, and I look forward to a life with running for me and no one else. That's the beauty of being free to run what feels right for myself.

And who knows? I might end up taking on the marathon some day. Today though, I feel just fine writing and relaxing, and that choice is mine and mine alone. It's liberating.

Cover Image Credit: Hype Orlando

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I was 12 the first time a boy said: "you got a nice ass." I was taken back. What did you just say to me? Back then I wasn't as strong in knowing who I was/am. That comment stuck with me for a while. I recently thought about it. I realize now what that comment really was. While a boy thought it was a compliment, it wasn't. It was the start of harassment that boys are never told is wrong. Therefore, they continue to do it.

When I think about that comment from junior high, I think about the junior high students I know. I think about how upset I would be if one of the boys said that. I think about how much I would want to hug and remind the girl of who she really is. You see, these "compliments" start at a young age. Girls figure it means the boy likes her. They assume that he'll be different when they're dating. I beg to differ. It will get so much worse.

Some boys and men only see women as objects. They only see her as a thing of pleasure. They don't see the beauty that is in her personality. They don't stop to think about how intelligent she is. They skip over the fact of her being a human. It truly breaks my heart.

I keep going back to the first time a boy touched my butt, and how violated I felt. I told my teacher, and they did nothing about it. They said, "Oh, well he's a boy!!" WHAT. No, I am human and I demand respect over my body. When that boy touched my body when I never asked him to, I wanted to hide. I was not "turned on" by it like he thought I would be. I was not OK with it. And all I got was a form of "it's what boys do."

Your compliment about my body isn't a compliment. I am uncomfortable with it. I don't want to hear about how much you love my butt. Your compliment about my body has led me to be nervous around guys who have any sort of interest in me because I think they are only interested in what you once told me.

I am here to stand up for myself, finally, and other girls and women who are scared. I was once scared, but not anymore. I don't want to hear or read your pick up lines you think will flatter me. I want you to respect who I am. I want you to know I am not flattered by those gross comments about my body. I am here to stand up for those who are scared to be loud. That was once me, but not anymore.

Your compliments are not compliments. I am ready to see a change in our world. I am ready for your gross comments to stop. I am sick of seeing and hearing the same thing over and over again. I am more than a body. I am a human. I have a personality that I would love for you to get to know, but your pick-up lines are insulting. I would appreciate if you stopped.

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