Running yesterday turned out to be a lot more fruitful than I anticipated. I ran 6.5 miles, kept my average pace below 9 minutes per mile, and, aside from a sore left calf muscle, I'm feeling great.
The only drawback is that this run reminded me that my feet have gotten soft -- literally. All the calluses I had built up from running have diminished, and I finished that run wishing I had put more Body Glide on my feet.
On a related note, I've recently been using the metal contraption my husband created for chin-ups as a type of jungle gym. Given that I am forever six years old, I'm actually shocked that it took this long before I started hanging around with it (...literally). It's been a lot of fun, throwing my body over the bar and hooked my knees into it and just being a complete goofball. The only drawback here is the same drawback with running: my hands are way too soft.
I find five distance red marks on each hand after my first jungle gym session: four small lines at the base of my fingers and one long line underneath the first line in my palm. My first thought was my cousin-in-law, who rows for her university and has calluses in the exact shape of the oar handles on her hands.
I can't help but think of how our society views calluses. Women pay exorbitant amounts of money to get pedicures -- not so they can have pink toenails, but so they can soak their feet and have them exfoliated and get rid of all that nasty "toughness". And it makes sense: societies value things that, in some way, reflect a type of wealth. Calluses on the hands and feet usually connote a blue-collar job. So, the same way the Victorian Age valued pale skin, we value soft skin (but tanned and in-shape bodies, which makes for an interesting double standard...)
I might be on a pro "every body is awesome" kick thanks to my yoga classes, but I see my calluses the same way I see my "bulky" biceps and my "wide" runner's legs: all of this is just external proof of an internal toughness. I'm not saying I'm Ronda Rousey levels of tough, but I'm a lot tougher than I was when I was 20, 22, 24, even 26. I'm finding ways to tell that nagging voice in the back of my head to shut up. I'm finding ways to be more assertive, to push my body forward, to be stronger physically and mentally.
I don't plan on un-jungle-gymming any time soon. The same way I don't plan on un-running any time soon. And I welcome those calluses with open (albeit sore) arms.