ACOTJ News Round Up #3

A Roundup of News Stories and Articles: Who Gets It, Who Doesn’t

Like many of you, I spend a good amount of time consuming this and that around the interwebs. However, I can’t help but view things through a different lens now that I’ve been through Overtraining Syndrome and Hypothalamic Amenorrhea. Luckily, there are quite a few people that seem to have gotten the message that more is not better when it comes to training. They offer an alternative view from the mainstream advertising and fitness-influencer stupidity telling you to suck it up and keep going or that your self-worth has something to do with your body fat percentage. I am doing this news roundup to share some of what, in my very biased view, gets it right.


BUT. There is also a lot of crap out there that makes me sad for the people who read it and don’t see that it’s total BS. There are articles and stories that make me angry because they keep pushing the stereotypes that are not helpful. There are people who spread a message of “health” that might work for them (Ahem...maybe), but is certainly not going to be good for everyone. So, I have to point those out too. We need to know that not everything we see makes any kind of sense...at all.


If you like what you see, tell, me. If I am wrong, tell me. If you think I am too much of a Pollyanna to be overly controversial...you’re right! Either way, use the comments below or shoot me an email acaseofthejills@gmail.com.


Here we go!


5 Ways Social Media Can Be Toxic for Athletes (and how to fix them)


I feel like every day I find something new to be upset about when it comes to athletes and social media. We’re either being told that we are not working hard enough, that real athletes wear certain clothing/eat certain foods/train in certain ways, or that we are supposed to be putting up KOMs or FKTs on Strava or else we are pretty much failing. Oh hey and do all of this while taking shirtless selfies with a 14-er in the background and tag it with #sponsored. Sigh. Sometimes ya just gotta’ step away people...or do what I do and follow accounts like @ollie_the_hedgiee because hedgehogs.


When Your Body Says No


This article is so, so good. It’s emotional and beautifully written. Christopher Solomon is, of course, talking about a very different reason why his body said “no” when he wanted to keep running, but the outcome is the same. When we spend years of our lives running, it hurts like hell when we’re forced to let it go. Dive into this one with an open mind. My favorite line? “We were built to break down.” Preach, Papa.


What Really Drives Runners to Go Really, Really Long?


What’s sad about this article is that this is the kind of thing I would have read years ago and actually felt some kind of pride. Instead, a year and a half into my masters degree in Psychology, the only thing I see is a user’s manual for burnout. After asking study participants to explain why they were motivated to run ultramarathons, it was found that “The ultrarunning group was driven more by qualitative motivations, like life meaning and affiliation.”  People, get this straight: if you think that anything outside of your own heart is going to create community and define your life, you’re already in trouble. You are perfect, beautiful, and worthy of relationships, health, love, and success whether or not you ever put on a pair of running shoes, step in a gym, turn the pedals on a bike, swim one stroke, etc. You are good, right now...always.


5 New Year’s Resolutions All Runners Should Skip


I really can’t believe that I am recommending an article from an athletic wear company, but this article on the Under Armour/Map My Run website actually gets it right! Instead of heading into 2019 with goals that require restriction, pain, or forcing ourselves into uncomfortable situations, let’s consider ways to be realistic, add in healthy habits, and consider our natural abilities and preferences. My favorite line from this one: “For most of us, a regular 4 a.m. wake-up call is going to do more harm than good.” THANK YOU.


It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work


I have not read this book yet, but I am pretty sure it’s something that all of us should put on our “To Be Read” pile. Remember that stress, ALL stress, adds up and will eventually contribute to burnout. We might think we can mitigate life stress with a long training session, but it doesn’t work that way forever. Gaining a healthy attitude about work will help you more than adding on the mileage. This quote alone is amazing: “What’s worse is that long hours, excessive busyness, and lack of sleep have become a badge of honor for many people these days. Sustained exhaustion is not a badge of honor, it’s a mark of stupidity.” YES.


And to wrap things up...here’s a bit of a MINDBLOWER:


Kelly Diels and the Perils of the Female Lifestyle Empowerment Brand


I listened to Kelly on the Heavy Flow Podcast  from Amanda Laird (who you should follow, btw) and my head just about exploded. I sort of knew that we female athletes are being played by marketers aiming to capitalize on our insecurities, but damn...it runs so much deeper than I thought. Some of her material makes me super uncomfortable because I, personally, need to sit and think whether or not I am inadvertently participating in this rhetoric. Anything that makes us nervous like this is worth delving into a bit more.


I am not going to lie, I really dislike the way that I see women being sold a concept of what it is to be an athlete or dedicated or goal-oriented in any way. My personal pet peeve is the over-usage of the term “Badass” to signify some kind of diligence or power and I think it does more harm than good. In fact, take a look at this article by Kate Kaye “Why We Should Stop Calling Women Badasses”  or this slightly older one by Jesse Sheidlower that REALLY breaks it down called “We’ve Hit Peak Badass. It’s Gotta Stop.” I guarantee you’ll think twice about using that term again.


Listening to Kelly talk about how the very messages that claim to “empower” women are the ones that hold us down confirms to me that the more we look outside ourselves for confirmation of our greatness, the more we become vulnerable to being taken advantage of. By the way, I DO NOT think that this is specific to women. I believe that men are marketed to in much the same way, especially under the guise of “fitness and lifestyle”. Be an informed consumer and don’t let yourself be played. When in doubt, look INSIDE.


Have a great week!!