Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Leadville: The Other Prep Work

I can say with absolute certainty that I would not have been able to finish this race a year ago. Last October I ran my first 100 miler, Heartland 100. I trained pretty diligently for that running-wise. Right after I completed that race, I started mixing in strength training. First in a 30-minute group session: Sunday Smash, with Whitney Samuelson. I knew my upper body strength was going to be pathetic but I really thought my legs would prove to be outstanding. I had run 100 miles after all. After the first workout, my legs burned like mad for a solid week. I was definitely knocked down a few pegs there. Then I decided to start seeing Whitney for 2, hour-long, one-on-one sessions per week. And what a difference they made!

If you asked me 4 years ago if I'd be happy to know my thighs GREW an inch, the answer would absolutely be no. If you asked me that a year ago, the answer probably would have been the same. But I experienced a major body image change when I started working out with Whitney. Thanks Whit! All through high school and college and even after that for a while, my ultimate goal was seriously to look like a J. Crew model. I wanted a teeny tiny nonexistent butt. I was too stupid to accept that my wide hips would never allow my bum to get that small. And I was also too stupid to know that I had a nice butt already and could look even better if I focused more on strength training than losing weight.

But I was "young" and stupid. And 4 years ago I was really depressed (divorce) so not eating came easy. But I was running! Oddly enough, not eating much does not make you a very strong runner. You end up having conversations with people during 5k's.

Am I a J. Crew model yet?

Actual J. Crew model: Almost!

This is the first time you'll ever hear me admit to having had an eating disorder. I have admitted to being depressed, sure. But not to having a fundamentally jacked up view of what is healthy. But Laurie, you're still skinny! What's up with that? It is true that I'm still thin but I have put on at least 5lbs since that Skeletor picture above. And I eat like a horse. And check out the extra muscles on my legs!

Old Laurie: Oh no, not leg muscles! New Laurie: Oh yess! 

Still I can't claim that I don't get a bit obsessive even now. But I've learned to love my body (and the extra inches on my legs) and I'm not afraid to look athletic. I don't want pecs to replace my boobs or anything (scary) and I no longer want to be a J. Crew swimsuit model either. Hooray!

Well, THAT was a long aside! What I'm trying to say is that coming from Kansas, where we have no mountains, there is no WAY I could have physically finished this race without all the strength training I've done over the past year. And I got the added bonus of a mental improvement too. When you see the women who toe the line at LT100, you realize this. You CAN NOT fake Leadville. There are no out of shape women there: either overweight or underweight. So coming in the bottom half (31st out of 53) of the women does not make me feel bad at all. These were all amazing, strong women!

Amazing like Junko and Amy! (Who both kicked my booty.)


  1. You kick ass, Laurie! I love your curves and how strong you've gotten working with Whitney! Keep up the strength training in Colorado. Miss you!

  2. Nice post lady! And uhm, you make that J crew model look fugly. YOU'RE SO HOT & YOUR LEGS ARE AWESOME!!!! :D I'm so proud of you! You looked amazing out there at Leadville! Ps: I don't ever want to get in a fight with your legs...they could kill someone!

  3. My thighs are huge too, but from lifting and running, not from ice cream. Years ago when they were huge from ice cream I would have said, no, I want skinny thighs! I like it. You whoop ass, woman.

  4. weight gain and body image is something I still deal with 24/7. It's hard. Especially when you are runner (you not me) and that sport is full of slender women. Rock on though. You are still beautiful!