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Sharing some personal thoughts I had about my body image

Hi everyone! I actually wrote this ages ago on my flight home from the SkyRunning World Championships last October; one of my final races of the season and the most competitive I'd participated in all year by far. I found it on my computer, and thought it might be a good time of year to share with everyones' race seasons kicking off again!

Precursor: not a food blog. This one is more of an athlete blog. I won’t do these often (unless you guys want more of these?), but this was a subject I really want to talk about – body image in sport.

This is actually a subject I’ve never posted about before, on my personal Instagram page or elsewhere. It’s not that I don’t have thoughts around it, it’s that I have so many, and I don’t know where to start! The blog is an awesome outlet, because I can share more about how I think, as opposed to trying to sum up so much of those heavy feelings in to a limited number of social media characters.

I just got back from the finale of the Skyrunning World Series, where I competed against probably the most competitive field of mountain runners I’ve ever gone up against in a single race. Females from all over the world; Spain, Italy, France, you name it, who’s main focus in sport is to be the fastest runners they can be. Then there’s me, Lindsay the multisport athlete with my obstacle racing arm muscles. Don’t get me wrong, I find fit females with all-around body muscle much more attractive than the really thin look, but let’s be honest, when one of your goals is to run uphill as fast as you can, carrying around the extra weight of upper body muscle is a little daunting.

This isn’t something I really think about at home… I fuel my workouts well, I recover well, and my friends can attest that I eat burgers and drink beer like a champ. I of course put a focus on being at a weight where I can perform well, but mental health is just as important in performance. To me, that means living a well-rounded lifestyle, with a well-rounded diet, and allowing myself to work very hard in my training but enjoy a night out with friends. To myself, I call this “the window of performance.” I do try to be lean so I can perform optimally, but there is such thing as too lean when the injuries, lack of energy and associated lack of performance start to creep in. On the opposing side, there is being on the heavy side of that window, when I feel slower and know it’s probably taking a few percent away from my performance… I know of course that I’m never overweight, but when you’re so in tune with your body you can feel these differences, and in the off-season it’s something I’m totally fine with. Giving my body that time to have a higher body fat percentage, especially as a female, I think is really healthy. It’s not good to be race weight all the time. I was really lucky to have some role models in my life in my high school years, who taught me both the dark side and the bright side of nutrition. I saw first hand how under eating can maybe work at making you speedy for a short period of time, but then will result in injury and a very long list of lifelong health issues. In a weird way, I feel horrible to say that I was lucky to experience this, because by the time I started my athletic career I just knew that going down that path wasn’t worth it. As a result, I think I’m a more well rounded athlete, really never have injuries (only one minor stress fracture in my foot throughout all 9 years of my professional athletic career, which is really exceptional for a runner), and I’m definitely happier.

Anyways, here I was, had just arrived in Spain, and am now surrounded by some of the world’s fastest trail runners. If you guys know running, you know how tiny so many of them are! I found myself comparing, and having all sorts of negative thoughts towards my body. Regretting all those desserts at home I had eaten without thought in the past weeks, thinking how short my legs are, worry about any little niggle that had been bugging me. A few days of this negativity pass by, and then luckily, I turned on Headspace.

Do you guys ever use this mindfulness app? I find it so helpful, especially when I’m feeling overwhelmed. I selected a ten-minute mindfulness session called “Managing stress in uncertain times,” because of course I was feeling quite nervous before my big race. I don’t even think it said anything related to body image, but they do a lot of exercises that involve basically channelling good energy through your body. It made me clue in to how negative I had been towards myself in the past days. I had a little lightbulb in my brain go off, and decided that the next four days or so leading in to my race, I was going to be grateful instead.

Sure, my legs may be quite short, but they had won me four podiums in Skyraces that year already, two of them first place finishes. It was free of injury, despite how hard on your body these races are. The number of times I’d literally smashed my legs to bits for 4-6 hours that summer in races far exceeded anything I’d done in previous years, and still, I was whole and feeling strong. Sure, I may have arm muscles, core muscles and lats, but I decided I was going to use them. Bring on the running poles, and suddenly I’m able to output more power on the uphills. To be honest, I love my body. I like the way my curves are shaped!

Thinking of all those negative “what if’s” was exhausting. I’ll never know if having this mindset change actually gained me time in my race, but where negativity can be draining, I definitely think having a positive mindset and belief in myself made me race faster on the day. In the end, I pulled off third place in the race, running 20 minutes faster than my personal estimated time, and FAR exceeding my expectations. Best of all, it was enough to earn me the overall win in the Skyrunning World Series!

I feel like I’m known for being “the healthy one” and am supposed to maintain that image, but it doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes have the negative thoughts that so many of us experience. I do think that sharing this though is only a good thing, because so many of us have these thoughts and this is a conversation that should never be restricted. Thank you for reading, and I hope this will help at least a few people out there to reflect on all the things about your body that you can be grateful for.

Our bodies are miracles and do a whole lot for us, let’s thank them and send them good vibes!


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Apr 07, 2023

Hi Lindsay,

I met you at the Spartan World Championship in AD last year. Just want to say, thank you for continuing to inspire.

I, myself have this kind of doubts, and also, I have people doubting me (also a bit heavier than other girls in OCR). However, for some reason, in the middle of my runs, I always enter this headspace, where everything starts to hurt and breathing gets heavier... I start realizing how lucky/ blessed I am for having two capable legs, strong lungs, having the heart and mind to take myself out of the sofa to the trails. Gratefulness alone gives me the energy that none of the supplements and energy gels can provide.

Always cheering for…


Apr 07, 2023

I love this. Thank you for sharing!

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