Nypaver recounts the story of Hillary Allen after her winning of a 34 mile sky race. Hillary Allen was asked how she could run so fast weighing so much.
How confusing, do you have to weigh a certain amount to be a runner? Hillary's body is to be admired. Regardless, the fact that the way she looked was much more important to comment on rather than a simple congratulations on winning the race.
Sally McRae is the amazingly talented runner whom we love to watch grow on social media. Always inspirational. She is a Nike Trail athlete and has finished in the top 10 women for Western States 100 twice, won the 2016 Salmon Falls 50k, won the 2015 Mokelumne River Trail Running Festival - 50 Miler and won the 2014 Sean O'Brien 50 mile for the golden ticket to 2014 Western States.
Laci is also a Nike Trail athlete and just won the 2016 Western States 100, won the 2016 Silver State 50 miler and came in 2nd at the 2016 Lake Sonoma.
Sandi won the 2016 Broken Arrow Skyrace, won the 2016 Ultimate Direction Dirty 30 - 12 Miler and took 3rd at the 2014 UROC 100k and provides coaching/nutrition plans to athletes.
The picture above that I have re-posted from Sally's Instagram provided me some personal growth. Sally's reply to someone's comment regarding her weight:
"Yesterday someone asked if I was an MMA Fighter. Two weeks ago someone wondered why I don't lose more weight if I run so much. And another curious mind asked why I'm not a triathlete since I'm "built more like a triathlete." And to that I kindly say, "This is how I was created. I am Sally McRae. This is what Sally McRae "looks like". I don't need to "look like a runner"...I need to look the way I was created to look because it is then I can DO exactly what I was created to do.""
Reading about the comments that these women have received made me look at myself…these AMAZING athletes, whom I think look amazing and I strive to be like, were dealing with negativity towards their appearances. If the people criticizing them saw me, what would they say to me - my running form is off, I don't have the muscle they do and nor do I have a powerhouse company like Nike backing me.
Then it actually happened, I was criticized. I was badly body shamed by the person I previously HIRED (gave money for a service) to make sure I was on track nutritionally, fueled correctly for my training and looked to for advice. It didn't happen once, it happened twice. I actually felt it was happening most of our provider/client time together. A women, actually trying to body shame another women! In my opinion, runners were not what she considered athletes. She didn't think we could ever be "thin" or "muscular" (she obviously doesn't know these women nor the majority of the professional marathoners like Shalane and Kara). I received a message, more like a rant, telling me that I looked terrible, scary, sickly, malnourished, that she should call the cops on my boyfriend for not getting me to a doctor and that I couldn't look in the mirror and possibly think that I looked good (Two weeks prior to this message I would have to assume that she was board line calling me fat and flabby). I was not even this women's client anymore for her to claim she needed to reach out and tell me about my appearance.
It took some time for me to gather my thoughts about this: I was her past client, she didn't know where I was in my life at this moment. I could have been sick, on the verge of a disorder or had fallen on hard times. For me to receive a terribly cruel and unwarranted message like this could honestly have pushed me over the edge to a place dangerous.
At first read I was hurt, shaky, thinking about my problems areas, my training blocks and what I ate this week. I am not these elite women, I don't have 50 mile wins, big biceps, abs and a lot of speed. But then, somehow, her cruel comments made me start naming all of my accomplishments that I never took the time to look at.
I don’t have muscle? I ran an 18 min PR only 4 months after the NYC Marathon at ANOTHER marathon DURING my ultra training. I ran 31 miles…in A DAY…only two months ago. I am only a beginning runner and I accomplished so much in just a 4 months of training.
I am scary looking? Thank you, my body can kick some a$$. I should be scary looking. Get out of here that I am sickly.
My self-esteem grew from this. I was in a running funk and then the next day I started googling what race to train for next. I replied to her message that I have too high self-esteem to let her words bother me but just how unprofessional and dangerous it was to send that message and I feared for other women out there who are in touch with her.
Society today is full of hate. It focuses on many things: race, religion, gender, sexuality and appearances. Women still have to fight to be recognized for their accomplishments rather than their looks. No one should have to justify how their body accomplishes the things it does. The tiniest person can win a 50 miler and the above average built person can finish a 100 miler. In the end you did something for you! Not for anyone else. Let the negativity push you harder and get the best out of you. Never be ashamed of what you are. You have the ability to make yourself great and to take all that hate and put it towards doing something wonderful for yourself. You have one life, one body and you will never truly be able to bring your body to its fullest potential....but by God try! You will be amazed at what a difference it makes for you.