Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Baby got back

"If you finish this thing," said my physical therapist, Dave, "It's because we did a good job training your butt."

Ah, my butt. My poor abominated butt.

It wasn't until I was 12 that I even knew that a butt was a thing.

Remember Private Benjamin, the blockbuster hit of 1980? On her wedding night, Goldie Hawn's new husband tells her that she has a great ass, that he loves her ass, something like that. This was a complete and utter revelation to me: 1) Men love asses! 2) There are asses that men love and there are asses that men don't love! My highly impressionable, generally self-deprecating pre-adolescent mind quickly put 1 +2 together to form 3) My ass is not good enough!

Just like that, a whole new belief system about my butt. Before Albert Brooks even had his heart attack and the scene ended. Honestly, I think it's kind of a miracle that I made it to 12 without hating my butt...I bet few girls today get that far. There are so many layers in this discussion, so many injustices that break my heart.

Not long after my discovery, I was cutting through Poppleton Park on my way home and some college-aged man yelled "nice butt!" What inspired him to pick on a young innocent stranger, I don't know, but he and his friends laughed when I croaked "thank you" back, the best I could come up with in the moment while my face burned, even though I was still unsure of whether he was making fun of me. (He was.)

Thus launched a life of butt loathing. The first glimmer of hope came, funnily enough, 20 years ago today, which I only know because it was also the day of OJ Simpson's legendary Bronco chase, while I was traveling solo in Mexico. "You have a bery beeg butt!" a young man said to me. Before my horror took hold, he leaned in close and winked. "Eet's GOOOOOD!" And I knew that he meant it. Which was a new revelation: I just need to find a culture that celebrates a little more junk in the trunk.

And later, much later, the revelations that it doesn't matter one speck what my butt looks like, that what men think has no bearing on anything, that my distorted body image holds me down, that my physical appearance is of no consequence, and so on ad nauseam ad infinitum. Do these jeans make my butt look big? A work in progress.

I mean, seriously. It's not that big. I mean, it's a little big. Actually, I have no idea. At this moment all I care about is that I did hill repeats again this morning, and my big old butt is getting stronger and firmer and it jiggles less, and it also happen to be the very engine that powers me all the way up Chestnut Street, eight times.

In fact, it's believed that our butts evolved specifically to make us good at running. The gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in the human body, but it basically does nothing when we're just walking around. We need it for running. Here's a quick look at some of the running adaptations seen in homo sapiens (butt talk starts at 1:44):

And finally, the real reason I wrote this. I really just wanted to re-post this video of Sir Mix-A-Lot with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. Shake that healthy butt, baby.


What I've been up to:

Thu: Swim: 3 x 800, 30 seconds rest, first 800 out 300 very fast, second 800 negative split, last 800 easy. Bike: 2 hours
Fri: Swim: 16 X 25, 10 seconds rest, 16 x 50, 15 seconds rest, alternate easy and fast. Bike: 30 minutes. Strength training.
Sat: Run: 2.5 hours
Sun: Bike: 5 hours
Mon: Rest
Tues: Run: Hill repeats, 8 x hill. Swim: 25x100

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