Doing ultra: that awkward moment when you feel that among the tribe of triathlete ladies you are still different.
Rachell Wall posted a text copied below “I don’t want to look pretty, I want to live in a world where it’s irrelevant”
I got lost in the lists of hundreds of “Amens”.
I was taken for my looks for so many years with “You look …. ” (“pretty”, “great”, ” beautiful”, “gorgeous”, “tied”, ” are you OK? ) by people that for reasons of language or cultural barrier could not connect with who I actually am, that I’m coming from another side.
I know my body sometimes looks from externally as what people see from outside as their version of what they call pretty. And the way people perceive my looks from outside while not seeing the way I am as a person for different reasons, became so irrelevant to me so long ago that learned to balance the habit of keeping looks the way I , not society around me, wanted to look like, chose to look like, along with “training looks”.
There was time I looked goth, I colored my hair blue, fire-red or charcoal-black years before it became fashionable among teenagers, I wore Russian high hills and short skirts, Indian sprees and salwar-kameezes. Office attire and beach – bum shorts. I finally was happy to find the tribe of athletes ladies that don’t care about looks.
Turns out they actually do and that there is an underestimated importance of an internal cry those ladies carry unspoken so much that it’s time to heal this up.
Among the list of ” Amen-sista”-s I have missed seeing the simple acceptance of power of natural female beauty: the powerful Devine feminine beauty.
I do enjoy giving way to the inner feminine to shine through the looks even during races. I love wearing make-up and pretty dresses for races. I love being visible with the “prettied up” looks altogether after running another back-to-back marathon or swimming for half a day with goggles marks branded into my face.
After miles and miles and multiple hours and hours of dancing in the woods on trails I love getting back to civilization and prettying myself up. I love living up the feminine part of my human experience as much as I love living up the rest of my life.
“What you look like is so far down on the list of things that actually do really matter that you barely even remember it.”
What I look like is part of my strategy of not going mad playing with my wild side for days on trails. When you tap into that wild side for long enough, what you look like keeps reminding you that you are not just an animal in the woods – you are human and you are a girl – human.
It’s somewhat between feeling like a homeless man on streets of a big city looking for a mirror and soap to prove to himself that he still exists as a human. And feeling being seen only for the color of hair and light skin being from Russia.
It’s not un-important, I think. I do think that it’s that part of human experience that does also matter.
It’s also my way to proclaiming to the world that the Devine feminine is beautiful, pretty together with that strength. Moreover: by using the “inner goddess” strength I get to experience all the ultra-adventures with even brighter experience.
The trail is She as I ask Mother Nature to share it’s power after hours out there, and I get it. The ocean is Earth’s breath rocking me as I merge with it, not deny it.
I don’t want to exclude this feminine part of me or set it “down the list”.
I know that if girls would try to exclude or suppress the feminine from their world, and essentially the world around them, trying to be ” just fellow human” – that would be a tremendous loss to this world. And would harm women more then bring good.
I think this world needs these outstanding strong ladies leading this world to shape it up with the new “upgraded” definition of feminine beauty without denial of it.
I also think that the most important point here to communicate to the world is – freedom. That all these strong outstanding ladies are entitled to choose to look whatever they decide to choose to look like. And by denying one part of these looks we might deny this freedom as well.
“Run happy. Run free”
Below is the post by Rachell Wall.
Below is the post by Rachell Wall.
“I don’t want to be told I’m pretty as I am, I want to live in a world where that’s irrelevant”.
That quote sums up a huge part of my “why”. It is astonishing to me how many people comment to females about how they look. Strangers, family, friends, lovers, it seems that, without fail, within the first few sentences of being with someone you hear “You look….(fill in the blank)”. Sometimes it’s a compliment, other times a criticism, but either way it seems like the way we currently look is the most important thing. Intentionally or not, our culture teaches women that what we look like equals our worth.
I spent most of my life feeling like I didn’t look “right”. Growing up in the South, I was just different, and also because I was born with Hereditary Angioedema, I was always very small and even frail at times. More often than not I heard “You look tired/sick/skinny/bony/bad”. All of my life. And as much as I said I didn’t care what people thought, it really got to me.
So when I began treatment for the Angioedema and started to slowly get healthy, the first thing I wanted to do was be beautifully athletic, like all of my friends I grew up with. My mom is a badass triathlete, I decided to train for a short distance Tri with her.
But here’s the thing….
Triathlon will not make you pretty.
Triathlon will give you scars from bike wrecks, bruises from running, and tattoos that no one understands. Fried hair from chlorine, more freckles than anyone deserves from hours on the trail, deep tan lines that never quite fade, and we don’t even talk about what it does to toenails.
You may absolutely kill those new skinny jeans (two sizes larger, thanks to your new hamstrings and glutes), but getting them on is harder than the last two days training combined and your arms are so tired.
The longer the distance, the more muscle you need, and when did my waist get that wide? Your arms get big, your butt even so much bigger. You stop wearing heels because, hell, I don’t need those to stomp on the world, I can do that barefoot.
You gain 15 pounds, cut 18 inches off your hair, and forget what nail polish even is because you never have all 10 toenails at once. You will be dirty, sweaty, sunburned, and have the hairstyle of “I swam then put on a bike helmet” a lot of the time.
Triathlon is not a pretty sport, not the training or the competition, and it forces you to let go of that supposed measure of your worth. The course doesn’t care what you look like. No amount of masks or façades or meeting societal expectations will bring you to the finish, only your true self will take you there.
So you terrorize your hair and your skin, you live in gym clothes or pajama pants, get another tattoo that no one understands, show up to work with goggle face, and wear nothing but tennis shoes. And one day it dawns on you as you’re training for your second Ironman race…
You don’t care.
In the countless hours you’ve spent alone with yourself in the water and out on the trail you have learned who you are, intimately and with brutal honesty. You know your worth as a fellow human. You are real. What you look like is so far down on the list of things that actually do really matter that you barely even remember it.
So, no, triathlon will not make you pretty.
What it will make you is fierce, brave, equal, strong, genuine, healthy, empathetic, true, focused, passionate, driven, willing, happy, assured, radiant, independent, and honest.”