Weekend Randomness – Sept. 24

Before I begin, I wanted to give a quick wave and a shout-out to Gala Darling, The Beheld and Already Pretty and all of the people who found their way here via their generous and lovely inclusion of my humble little blog in their posts.  Many of you left wonderful comments in my post, “The Power and Politics of Height,” and I will make a point to answer each one of you before the weekend is out.

Here’s a list of things I read over the week that I found worth sharing with you:

Paula Radcliffe‘s 2003 London Marathon finish is no longer the world record, thanks to a new rule change by the IAAF.  Instead, it is now just a “world best.”  (Also, Deena Kastor is no longer the holder of the American women’s world record; that honor has reverted to Joan Benoit Samuelson.)  I’ve already thrown my fit over this so I’ll spare you the repeat. However, I will say that I expect a new women’s marathon world record to be set sometime in the near future, if only because elite female marathoners have improved very quickly in the few decades since they’ve been allowed to compete.

Speaking of Paula Radcliffe, she’s running the Berlin Marathon tomorrow.  The New York Times ran a great profile on Radcliffe, who is one of the best female marathoners of all time.  In it, they talk about how she has redefined women’s distance running, but how she hasn’t yet managed to capture Olympic metal.  She’s 38 and next year’s London games may be her last chance.  (Mind you, the 2008 gold medalist, Constantina Tomescu of Romania, was 38 when she won.)

Diana Nyad was not content to give up her dreams of swimming from Cuba to Key West, so she has shoved off again.  This time, she’s already battling stings from Portuguese Man O’Wars.  Even if she doesn’t finish – and I hope she does! – that qualifies her for BAMF of the Century right there.  Go Diana go!

Lesley Kinzel at xojane.com has a “radical suggestion.”  She thinks we should stop body-policing famous people.  I am sad that a suggestion that we stop treating other people’s bodies like fodder for our mindless conversations and our empty social bonding is radical, but I also know she’s right.

Charlotte Hilton Anderson at the Great Fashion Experiment talks about the “truth behind fitness models.”  She makes the point that emulating a person’s workout – like, say, Jessica Biel’s arms routine – will not give you Jessica Biel’s arms.  Our bodies are shaped the way they are shaped, and while might be able to make them bigger or smaller, we won’t be able to change the overall shape.

Olympic softball superstar Jennie Finch is training for the New York City Marathon!  In this interview, she talks about fundraising for the New York Road Runners:

They basically promote running to inner city kids. Running is free and it’s empowering to the youth. There’s nothing greater than being a kid and running outside. In this day and age, that’s lost. So if we can introduce more young kids to running and being active and healthy then the better this society will be.

Finch recently wrote a book called “Throw Like a Girl,” and I’ll admit, I’m totally planning on reading it.

Over at xojane.com, Emily McCombs asks whether “diets are inherently bad for women.”  More specifically, she explores the question of whether its hypocritical to preach self-acceptance while trying to lose weight.

Also at xojane.com, Jenny Ryan went to Richard Simmon‘s exercise class in Los Angeles and she wrote about it.  You KNOW you want to read her account of his class.  You know you do!

I love this manifesto written by weightlifter Marina Tronin, in which she smacks down the statement that “strong is the new skinny.”  Instead she argues that “strong is the new strong.”

Soledad O’ Brien’s documentary on Latina women in boxing is airing on CNN tomorrow night.  In anticipation of that, CNN.com ran two features that I really liked, one about female boxing coach Gloria Peek and one about the changing face of women’s boxing.  Expect to see more about women’s boxing as the 2012 Olympics loom, as this will be the first time the sport has been allowed.

Finally, this post kind of falls outside of the realm of my blog, but I loved it so much that I’m sharing anyway.  Autumn at The Beheld has her own response to a letter sent to Salon’s Cary Tennis, in which the letter writer talks about her frustrations with the effort she puts into performing beauty and the attention it gets her.  Autumn is, as always, eloquent and thoughtful, and it’s worth a read.

Okay, this list could easily go on and on and on and on so I’m going to cap it here.  Hope you all are having a fabulous weekend!

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8 responses to “Weekend Randomness – Sept. 24

  1. Thank you for a great post! I love Paula Radcliffe and will be cheering for her tomorrow. The new women’s world record standards seem absurd. Keep up the good work!

  2. I remember watching the Athens Olympic women’s marathon live. I got up early. Deena Kastor ran the most amazing race I’ve ever seen, I cried when she crossed the finish line in 3rd.

    However I think the race also perpetually soured me on Paula Radcliffe. I know that later she would claim that she had been in serious stomach pain the whole time and maybe she had, I’m certainly not in her head. However she quit the SECOND it became obvious she couldn’t hold first place. It just…it looked off to me. She was the odds on favorite and the world record holder but once it looked like she wasn’t going to grab gold she was out. Idk.

    • I wonder if Paula is second-guessing her decision to pull off during the Athens Olympics then. I mean, it seems to me that it would be better to have a silver or a bronze medal than no medal at all. That’s really too bad for her.

      And yes, I also love Deena Kastor and think she is incredible. I wish I had seen that race, but I was not interested in much beyond the bottom of my bong in those days.

  3. Caitlin, these are some great links! Thank you! (And thank you for including me in them, of course.) Looks like we’re going to be making reading lists for each other for a while…

    I used to think “strong” was a better template than just “skinny”–and it is in many ways. But when it’s being painted as the new route to sexiness, it loses the power inherent in a strong body, and that’s such a shame.

    • Yes, I completely agree. Putting the emphasis on the sexiness of a strong body strips it of its power and turns it into yet another beauty standard to be met.

      This is not that there is anything wrong with sexiness, but I do have to admit that I have a problem with the fact that it has become the supreme value by which people judge another person’s attractiveness, and that often times the concept of sexiness is in line with the performative one of “porn star,” with limited room for variety in its expression, if that makes sense.

    • Yes, I did! It reminded me of a feature I read in Oxygen magazine, where the publisher listed off all of the things women would not be able to change about their bodies through lifting. Except I liked yours more because it was more positive, whereas his was like, “And this is why you’ll never be a successful fitness model.” Bleh.

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