From baby steps to running strides … and everything inbetween.

Sarah Stretch

Appreciating “Flaws”


Everybody has at least one. One change they want to make to their body in order to feel better about themselves. Even the most confident of persons has one. No one is immune to that nagging voice telling us, if we could just change this one particular feature on our body, then we’d be happy … we’d be content. Well, I am no exception.

I can’t pinpoint the exact moment in time when I first “noticed” this particular feature and started feeling self-conscious about it. There was no trigger, no “ah hah” moment when I decided to start disliking this aspect of my body. It sort of just came about over time. It crept up on me and manifested in my mind before I even had a chance to defend myself.

So what is this body issue that I am speaking to? Well call me crazy, but it’s my legs. I know, I know. I am a runner. A professional runner. So why are my legs what bother me the most? Let me be more precise, it’s my “big” legs … my big, muscular legs. Quads to be exact. And calves … can’t forget the calves.

Team NB Shoot

I would describe my build as “strong”. My legs have the ability to build muscle quickly…very quickly … too quickly. The rational side of my brain knows that this can play to my advantage. In fact, I believe my strength is one of my competitive advantages. It helps me to reach some of my top speeds, even in a fatigued state, which some would call a “kick”. 😉

So if my strength is my competitive advantage, then why do my muscular legs bother me so much? Why do I waste time at all comparing myself to some “ideal image” of what a runner’s legs “should” look like. That’s exactly the problem. As humans, we spend way too much of our time comparing rather than appreciating.

Why share all this? Well, the other day I finally took the time to appreciate. Everything came full circle for me and I was able to experience one of those rare moments when instead of critiquing my self-proclaimed “flaw”, I was actually able to value it. I was able to be fully thankful for the body God gave me.

This revelation came to me while riding home from a workout session with Darren. It was a session where I completed 10 by 350meter hill repeats. The session totaled about 11 miles with IMG_1922warm-up/cool-down and jogging recoveries. Now, normally there would be nothing special about completing a workout like this, but at 34 weeks pregnant, even I had to sit back and say, “wow, I never would have thought I would be able to complete a workout like this at this stage of pregnancy”. It was in that moment (gasp) that I was able to give my “flaw” a compliment. I found myself uttering the unthinkable … “I’m glad I have really muscular legs. If I didn’t have this strength, I don’t think I would be able to be doing the things I am doing at this stage (… err, weight), especially without getting injured.”

I couldn’t be more grateful to still be doing what I love, running. And I know I owe much of that gratitude to my “big” legs. So thanks to this recent moment, from here on out, I will choose to appreciate and not compare.

Author: The BTeam - Darren & Sarah Brown

A wife, mother and professional athlete. A husband, father, coach and training partner. Telling our story as we make our way through parenthood and chase our dreams together.

4 thoughts on “Appreciating “Flaws”

  1. You win all the things. Hat’s off to you running 34 weeks pregnant! And glad you accepted your legs. Hard work shows, and you’re obviously rocking it.


  2. Thanks for sharing. It is good to know being unhappy with yourself at times is the same for everyone, even the people you respect highly for what they have accomplished.


  3. Well, Sarah, if you are running that kind of a workout at 34 weeks pregnant, I only can imagine what you are going to be doing in June. My sympathies are with the other runners who are going to have to deal with Supercharged Sarah in a few months!


  4. Great workout! And even more important, I’m glad you were able to appreciate your powerful legs. I believe that most of our complaints are blessings that need to be seen through a different lense. When I’m cranky about having to tidy up the house, I should really be grateful that I have a house to clean. Upset about a few pounds I put on? It’s because I’m blessed with an abundance of food. Now I’m not saying that we should just ignore all negative emotions and be naive to the pain in this world. I just try to keep focused on the good as much as possible in this life. So what I’m trying to say is, I feel and relate to your struggle to appreciate instead of hate your legs.


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