6'0 Tall wife to Muscle Man, mother of 3, full time career woman, with an addiction to running wherever her size 10's will take her.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Big Girl

From the name of my Blog you can tell that I EMBRACE my height.. I have always loved being Tall!! I have been active in sports for most of my life, often surrounded by women as tall and taller than myself.

BUT....

When it comes to running I don't always feel Tall, I feel BIG.

On more than one occasion I have been called the "Big Girl" generally used in the context of a Basketball practice but it has stuck with me. I have broad shoulders, muscular thighs, big bones and I often tip the scales 190-205lbs. When I line up at a race I look around hoping to find someone who resembles my build, generally I am much Taller (Bigger) than the field of female runners.

Is there a normal female runner??


I don't think so. At the larger races you will see women in all shapes, sizes, heights, weights, ages... There may be the average female runner, but in general there is no mold. I have always wondered what it would feel like to be "small" and go for a run. When training for Boston I often ran with Janna and Tink... It is easy to see how I would have liked to swap bodies mid run. Yes I have the LONG stride, but I also have to pack the body that comes with the legs.

At Hood to Coast my teammates and the ladies on team Nuun were fit and fast. While I normally feel pretty confident I found myself fixating on my tummy lapping over my spandex. I am not about to rip off my shirt and run in a sports bra, I am too big for that, but I would love to know what it feels like to rip off my shirt and feel 100% comfortable.
My friend Amy texted me while I was at the Boston Marathon, she is my height, she said "It looks like you at a Gymnastics meet." She was not meaning anything offensive to my shorter stature buddies, but it is very apparent that I am BIGGER than most.
To be Tall for me is also to be Big. This is the body I was given and most of the time I am happy with that.. But there are days... like anyone else when I wonder how it must feel to be a different size.. I am not sure why this is wearing on my mind today, probably because I am struggling with dropping weight and my knee is not holding up to the extra poundage. Probably because my pants are a bit tight today.
I love my life and the woman I have become. I am blessed to have a husband who adored me at 265 as much as he did at 185. I am LUCKY to have friends who help me to feel like I FIT in regardless of if I am feeling BIG every now and then.
  • What title have you given yourself, or been given to you by others, that has defined you?

  • Do you ever dream of what it would be like to have a different body?

49 comments:

Shellyrm ~ just a country runner said...

I can feel your emotion in this post. I love you regardless of size. You inspire me to work hard and be better. Not just at running but with my family and friends. You give me that well prioritized look at life when I want to lean to the Shelly-selfish side. You are a Great Girl! size non-dependant.

Sybil said...

Oh mama, I empathize with all of it! I am raising two daughters who will also be very tall so I struggle with how I will help them continue to be happy and confident in their own skin as they continue to grow and grow!

Shellyrm ~ just a country runner said...

I was called Shelly belly, Shelly jelly, Belly Jelly....in grade school. Even thought I know I was stick skinny back then, those comments are a lot of what I have come to view as the "why" I developed an eating/body image disorder. It wasn't the kid's fault. Their comments were just a large piece of the puzzle that my weak mind used to justify why I would do things that (on some level) I knew were harmful in the long run.
Those same comments have helped make me a more aware mother when it comes to the behavior of my children and those around us.
I have often wondered what it would be like to even realize that I am accuately the size and fitness level that I am without doubting it when I look in the mirror or thinking it's somehow not good enough. I don't need to be brusting with confidence but I would love to find a more balanced appreciation of myself.
I will get there one day at a time.

Jess @ Blonde Ponytail said...

I appreciate that you embrace "Tall"! I never liked the phrase "big girl" because I was ultra sensitive about body image so when i coached softball, I NEVER used that phrase.

Luckily, you are blessed with beauty and will be beautiful regardless of how your pants fit!

gba_gf @ Neurosis of the Stay at Home Marathoner said...

ok, I don't "get" what you mean in a literal sense. at a strapping 5'2'' I'm not tall. I'm big for my height though. I'm broad and thick, and despite my shortness, I'm stocky.

So I'm short, but I'm not petite. Bummer.

Sometimes when I run I feel like a hobbit. You know?

But on the other side of that... if I'm a hobbit, that would make you normal height...

Jen said...

I understand what you mean, while I am not 6' I am 5'8'' and have also been referred to as 'big' mean just tall and broad shoulders overall. Either way the term big doesn't sit well. I have never been the skinny friend but the larger friend, I have will also never run without a shirt in public, but love the freedom in my own home. Hang in there I think its just part of who we are and at times, we wish that we could for one day live as a smaller or shorter person. :)

~* Jenn *~ said...

I could have written this post, except you are much more eloquent than I am. At 5'11 I am always the tallest in the room, and like you mention, its not just height - I have a large bone structure. I try very hard to embrace my height but I do struggle and wish I could be a "petite little thing" sometimes.

Nichole said...

One bright side, we get our pick of the BIG MEN! Sure there are the Big Men who like the little chickies but think of how those monstrous hulking athletes get all googly eyed checking out the athletic godess' like us!

And it's easy for us to dust the tops of the ceiling fan blades with our monstrous muscles and amazing vertical reach!!!

GO AMAZON WOMEN!!!

carrie said...

Mel- I am not as tall as you but I have always been the "big" girl. Not really fat, but solid. I am 1/4 Scandinavian and I have big bones. I have three brothers and could always do as much as them or at least tried. I lifted weights in high school (had to keep up with the boys!), which made me HUGE (lots of muscles) and no boy would ask me out! I get it. I have always wanted to be a petite, slim, girly girl. But I am what I am and that is how God made me. That is how God made you too! You are an amazing inspiration to me on here! I love how tall you are and I wish that I was even taller than my 5'7 frame! Just remember (as TMB from Racing With Babes): You are a Honey Badger and Honey Badger don't care what other people think about you. YOU ROCK!!!!!!!

Wym said...

I say it to you in most of my posts...you are like my body twin! I get you girl. I Sooooooo do. I always think to myself, I'm pushing these extra pounds and still kicking so much ass!! I would never trade my height for anything and love being strong. But the self conscious "built like a man" thoughts and rotten thoughtless comments from others never bolsters me. I don't know how to comfort you but say you are NOT alone!

pensive pumpkin said...

Yeah, yeah. I'm sure it sucks. Will you get that thing off the high shelf for me?

Just kidding, though I do tire of climbing bookshelves and kitchen counters like some kind of damned monkey just to reach things that a person of my height would be able to reach if she didn't have ULTRA SHORT T REX ARMS. I have body hatred too, but I envy your body if that helps any. You have awesome arms, and don't look like a T Rex at all.

The thing I was always called bothered me because it was in exclusion of anything else. My parents wanted so badly for me to know I was smart, that I was never praised in any other way. So I spent 35 years not paying attention to anything but my brain. It was all I knew I had.

hiker mom said...

I am only 5'6 and I used to feel like an amazon woman next to my friends in high school. Now I am pretty average compared to most of my friends. I don't know many women, no matter their size, that would feel comfortable ripping off their shirt and just wearing a sports bra. Although I do see some women at the gym wearing just a sports bra. Not my thing:) That's one thing I love about running is that you can go to a race and see people in all shapes and sizes and it is often someone who doesn't fit the typical mold that woops my butt! I think you look great!

robinbb said...

Love this post. I met new running friends this year and when one of them posted a picture of us on her blog, I had a hard time. She was tiny and I was huge. Since meeting her and now others that are just as tiny, I have learned that I am so much faster than them and am I really trying to embrace my body as powerful and not big. I have also realized that my body doesn't want to lose the extra 10 pounds that I am begging it to lose. Sigh. Thanks for posting this Mel.

Kate said...

We share similar frames, you and I. And then I teach in an elementary school, where I tower over not only the students but also over the (male) administrators. Not a day goes by without a kid mentioning how tall I am. TALL, bc I've taught them all that you DON'T call a lady "big".

Like you, I've come to embrace my height. The weight hanging on it...not so much. Still, I am usually able to stay focused on what my body can do, and that mitigates (a little) how I feel about the size on the tag.

Shannon (IronTexasMommy) said...

I feel your post. I'm 5'9" and sometimes I feel like I'm a head taller than most the girls.. especially in triathlon. I still love being tall, even if the clothing manufacturers make me feel like the Jolly Green Giant. Would it kill them to add a couple extra inches to the length of their tops? Uggh.

I laughed at the gymnastics comment, because I was a gymnast.. until I grew 7 inches in one summer in HS. Kind of ended that career. Ha! :)

Hang in there and stand tall!

TNTcoach Ken said...

LMAO! I love the ripping off my top part! People always say something about my long legs too, I always tell them it's hell getting pantyhose to fit! We may not be built for the long haul but we're not smart enough to stop! Plus, I'm taller than you........... HA

Kelly and Kelly said...

I'm sort, 5'4" and I wish I were taller. Seriously, I wish that often.

Margie said...

I used to dream about having a different body all the time! I'm short (5'3.5"- and I totally count that last half-inch), pale, and devoid of bust, with wide hips. At racing weight I look too skinny, but at happy weight I look hippy and happy.
I don't worry about it as much now, but that's probably the happy pregnancy hormones talking more than my own confidence. I think a lot, if not most, women runners wish they could trade in their bod for a different model, even if just for a test drive.
I envy your height, sure, but more than that I'm impressed with your honesty about the subject and your passion for running!

Randi S said...

I am just fighting tears here, Mel. I understand. I don't have the height but I have the same build. I've always been the big girl. My sisters were tiny. My best friend was tiny. Looking back at high school, I wasn't that big but I was biggER. It's hard to see myself as thin now. I understand your weight loss - I went from 193 to 145 (I'm 5'3").

I have definitely dreamed of a different body, a body where I could take off my top and run in a sports bra. That's not happening EVER. I have a lot of extra skin and stretch marks leftover from my boys. I wouldn't trade it on my days but on really hot days I'd love to lose the shirt. :(

I will say, my favorite thing about tall friends is hugging them. I'm usually short enough to fit at just the right spot for a good hug. :)

fancy nancy said...

All my life I have dreamed about what it would be like if I had thin legs. I've named myself tree trunk legs...after 15 years of being a catcher my legs are even close to looking like any runners I step up to the starting line with. Now that I've had my daughter....well taking my shirt off and being comfortable is not going on right now! The pounds may be gone but let's just say NO ONE wants to see that running down the street!

I would love to know how it feels to be thin...but then again I wouldn't trade my daughter for the world! Hugs to you Mel...you are not alone!!

TMB @ RACING WITH BABES said...

You're a hot mama! And I love you.

But, I totally feel you on this. I constantly get told I have the body of a 12 year old boy. Yes, I have no chest or hips, but really?

And there are many times I wish I could be one of those 5'2, 110lb runners. So much less wind resistance ...

Kerrie T. said...

I wish I would've read this before our run today so we could've talked about it more. I think you have a beautiful and proportionate body... you look healthy! And how many people would love to have your body and your height?! A LOT!

Sweet and Savory by Sarah said...

Tall and boney here. I'm very string bean like.

I am sick of the whole "You're so tall so you must naturally run fast" I'm sorry it just doesn't work that way.

Evie said...

I've always wished to be "little, cute, petite, hot".... All I've got is "big, tall" etc. Now I've got old to go with it. I'm trying now as a middle aged woman, who has never felt comfortable in my skin to LET IT GO. It's not easy.

Sherry @ Life from my persective said...

I am other the other end, nearly a foot shorter than you. While I enjoy being short, I often wonder what life would be like if I was not constantly on my tip toes reaching for things or trying to see what's going on around me. God made you absolutely perfect and it sounds like you embrace it "most of the time" :)

Deb said...

I get you. I totally get it. I'm 5'11, and around 190 right now. Even if I lose a few more pounds, I'm never going to be little or light.

Like you, I generally love my height, but there are days... Sometimes I just think it would be nice to be small and cute. Tall women are never cute. But, hey, I can be stunning instead. ;)

ErinG said...

I am 6' tall. I have tried to explain to others about life as a tall person...no one piece bathingsuits, forget long sleeves unless it is a men's size, ordering pants online to get the right length, never comfortable sitting on an airplane/bus/just about anywhere, being taller then most eligible bachelors (when I was single), dealing with Napoleon complex men, never being able to blend in with the crowd (even when i so desperately wanted to hide)

anyone over 5'10 can add thousands more...

When I hear harmless "big" comments that end up hurting I politely say, "I prefer tall." I love your blog, I love that you are tall, keep your head high!!

Chelsea said...

I wonder everyday how different my life would be 'if' - if I had a flat tummy, if I could fit into size 6 jeans, if I could wear high heels.

Alas, this is what was given to me. I'll work with it, and always hold out hope that I'll wear a two piece one day.

Elizabeth said...

I'm 5'11" and I can relate to this post. I sometimes wonder what it would feel like if I were smaller - if running would feel lighter and more effortless. I loved having my running partner back home - she was the same height, so we'd often talk about where we found our clothes, shoes, etc. Having her at races was nice, too, because I didn't feel so out of place. Don't get me wrong, I love being tall, but there are days when I wonder the same things you just talked about. If I ever see you at a race, I'll be sure to say hi! It'll be nice to see another tall woman.

CJ said...

Body image...curse of women everywhere. I've lived with 3 different female roommates who were at least 5'11-3/4" and my bestest running friend is 6'. It's made me unable to judge anyone's height very precisely: if I can see only their chin, I figure they're over 6' tall; if I can see the top of their head, best guess is under 5' tall (I'm exactly "average" 5'5"). Although I look smallish in clothes, pregnancies have taken a toll, and I'm obsessive about covering my tummy skin that sags like a sharpei.
Though I've never met you in person, my guess is that your gorgeous smile would be the feature I'd notice immediately--seriously jealous of how photogenic you are!!

Lisa said...

Such a touching and real post (like always). I have definitely felt like the big girl many times in my life as well. And it isn't only when I'm out running. It's tough and I am currently struggling with my weight as well. Just yesterday as I sat in the airport waiting for my flight I found myself wishing I was thinner, taller and more graceful. Thankfully I came home to my husband who also loves me for who I am.

Once I start feeling better in my jeans though, then I'll be golden. But I agree that it is great, and encouraging, to see women and men of all shapes and sizes out running and at the gym.

You are amazing and inspirational. As long as you're happy with yourself and your relationships, that's what matters.

Cindy said...

i'm at the opposite end of the height spectrum but i so hear you on this...so many days when i wish i were taller or slimmer or svelter or my stomach was flatter and i also wish that i could run in one of those little bra tops and not feel self conscious! yu're so not alone..hugs!

Cindy said...

i'm at the opposite end of the height spectrum but i so hear you on this...so many days when i wish i were taller or slimmer or svelter or my stomach was flatter and i also wish that i could run in one of those little bra tops and not feel self conscious! yu're so not alone..hugs!

The Mommy Miles said...

Mel, I really identify with your words. It was especially hard on me when I was pregnant. It felt BIG. Thanks for beings so honest and vulnerable about something that is on all our minds!

valley girl said...

Wonderful post! I can so relate and have always liked being tall. I came from a tall family so it always felt normal. Having two young girls that are very tall for there ages. We all have to be role models and be happy, healthy with ourselves.

Laura said...

I spent my teen years as a figure skater. I competed at 5'8, 160 (which is fine) but my competitors were MAYBE 5' MAYBE 100#. Yes, my jumps were bigger but I fell harder. Certain movements looked awkward on my body. Among runners, I do still feel pretty big, mainly because I am definitely not 160# anymore.

Lala Mama said...

Thank you for writing this post, this is totally how I feel, as I am the same height (6 ft) and weight (now 190, have been 207). On top of that, I am really really slow too. Sometimes I feel so self-conscious.

I've dreamed of having a finer-boned, skinnier body. I used to dream of having curves as well...then I had a kid and have a few too many curves....

chattynatty said...

Well by the response to this post there are sure a lot of us that connect with you- I'm the opposite- I'm 5'3 and have total "gymnast body" big gymnast quads, and unfortunately big chest to boot- How I wish I was just 5'6". We all want something right. Embrace who you are, which I think you do, but it is o.k. to have these moments to- it'll keep you in check.

Sue's Ramblings said...

I'm probably the exact opposite of you - midget sized at just over 5' 1". I've learned to accept me as me.

spiralgirl said...

I'm a tall teen (5'11) I am a joke and have never had a boyfriend. I have "friends" who hang out with me to look cute & pretty. I'm so lonely & know I'll never have a boyfriend. I don't exercise because I'd look like a retard. No coordination here. You are a lucky lady because you found a man and had babies. I can't. Guys of my generation love spinners!

Marissa said...

my goodness, i have tears in my eyes. i could not agree more. i am 5'10" and have felt like the BIG GIRL my entire life. when i was heavy especially but now i agree. when i walk into a room, chances are i'll be the tallest one there. i don't consider myself fat or huge, but i do stand out compared to most smaller built women. when i run i feel a little better, because like you said, we are all different shapes and sizes. my husband always tells me that i'm the most beautiful woman but sometimes when i look at pictures of myself with friends and i look tall and big, i can't help but feel as you said, what would it be like to be smaller...petite. argh, i can SOOO relate.

Marlene said...

I have often been insecure about my size, as you know, so I can commiserate with you here. I seem to be having a lot of "big" days myself lately. {HUGS} You are strong and beautiful!!!

Elizabeth said...

yes. I feel like i am constantly posting about how much i hate my stomach and my weight and no matter what i do it doesn’t seem to budge. i don’t like having to live my life on a diet but i think that is what i will have to do. i have been asked if i am pregnant number times, unfortunately, i am short wasted (and only 5’4”). i have long skinny arms and legs and carry every ounce of body fat in my waist. i look in the mirror almost every day with disgust but remind myself i am technically in the best shape ever and my super skinny friends couldn’t run a mile, much less 26.2. i should be proud of that.

Get Fit and Sweat Trying said...

I just had to stop by and say that I can relate! I'm not quite 6 feet, but at 5'10" I am always, always, always the tallest female in the room, or wherever. I struggle with not being "small" or "skinny". Bottom line, I have big bones, and I weigh a lot. I'm a runner, and was a swimmer in college...go figure I'd pick the sport where you have to wear a bathing suit! I'm running my first race in a long time in a month, and I'm feeling totally insecure about being a "big girl runner"! Thanks for putting yourself out there! Us Tall and Athletic girls need to stick together!! :-)
Melissa

Runningmyspace said...

You are beautiful and it is hard to deal with parts of you that you sometimes may not like...I am from a family where nobody is shorter than 5'9 with the tallest at 6'5. I am only 5'2 and feel very shrimpy most of the time...I always wished I was blessed with tall genes... I make a great elbow rest.
Tall or short close your eyes and really there's no difference, it's in your heart that matters. I love your site!

TALLV said...

SPIRALGIRL..wow your comment is very saddening..and all i can say is...it will get better..teen years are the worst..i am 6'2" in barefeet and i had my awkward stages and some comments id like to forget said to me over the years..but seriously it will get better..and you will meet someone who loves you for you..you are so young focus on having fun and dont let life pass you by because of your percieved flaws...no one is perfect..not even the "spinners" i just turned 30 2 days ago and i am married to a wonderful 26 year old (cradle robber lol) 6'1" man who loves me in heels and on fat days and feeling thin days..keep your head up walk tall..confidence is beautiful on everyone!

Amanda - TooTallFritz said...

I have always been what they call a "big girl" so can totally sympathize. Everyone thinks that being tall is so cool but it's just not as "glamorous" as others believe. I frequently feel as if I'm towering above the rest of the world. And why do all the cool shoes have such high heels?!?!?!

And don't even get me started on the sports bra running. Sport Bras to people like me are underwear, not tops. It will never happen for me.

Sending you some HUGE hugs! You can come run beside me any day, I promise you won't look "big". I can't guarantee (the run) it will be any easier either but at least there will be 2 of us. :o)

Amanda - TooTallFritz

Claudia said...

I so can relate with what you wrote and what every tall person responded. I am 6'3" and have always received comments. When I go to the mall, people will comment to each other about "the freakish tall woman" - with me right next to them. Kids will say something and their parents will not tell them that it is rude.
When I started running, I was 60 pounds heavier and I had people throw bottles at me, throw a burrito at me and spit at me (all drive-by style). People yelled obsceneties and made cow noises.

The only thing I can say with certainty is that it gets better when you truly are at a point where you are comfortable with yourself.

Next month I will go to Hawaii and I will wear a bikini, whether I am 180 or 190. And anybody who does not like it may look the other way.

Michaela said...

I am the big girl short and stocky. Currently overweight, when I was in much better shape I still weight a lot. On top of that I have a ton of burn scars, a very skinny right arm (burned) a big left arm (not burned). Most days I embrace who I am, I am nurse, I do a camp for kids who are burned. There are many more issues with my body but those are few. Sometimes I want a different freaking body, not scarred, symmetrical.. I get it. I appreciate your post and think you are great! (I am one of Amanda's friends)