Marathons, Family, and Bodies

So, a couple weeks ago, I spent a weekend with my brother, including watching him run a marathon. (That’s kind of his thing.) This was a very good thing, since I don’t see my brother nearly enough.

And yet, at the same time, being around him and his runner friends dredged up all sorts of insecurities about my own body and my own lackadaisical exercise routine. Most days, I can do pretty well at accepting myself where I am, but around him, not so much.

But then, something cool happened. I was sitting on the living room floor doing some stretches after a walk. A walk that I’d done longer than I probably should have because I was comparing myself to my marathon-running brother. I was doing what, for me, is a simple, basic, easy stretch. Sitting on the floor, one leg bent, touching the other leg. (It looks like this.) In yoga, it’s called a head to knee stretch, but my head definitely doesn’t touch my knee.

My brother walked in, saw me stretching, and said, “I wish I could do that.” And I let that sink in for a moment. I, the fat, easily winded, non-runner, doing something that is easy for me. And my thin, muscular, 3:30-marathon-running, hundred-mile-a-week brother *wishes* he could do. (I don’t even consider myself terribly flexible–there are a lot of yoga poses I used to do when I was practicing regularly that are beyond me now.)

Bodies are different. Different strengths, different weaknesses, different potential. Not better, not worse, just different. And I know this, but a reminder is always good, and almost always needed.

Now, I’m going to take a walk, and do some stretching.

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