End Game strikes some wrong notes for size acceptance

By MarthaFitat55

I’m a big fan of the Marvel Comic franchise and I eagerly awaited the final installment End Game, particularly as I have a few favorite characters, including Thor, the God of Thunder.

The author poses with a cardboard cutout of an early version of Thor.

I won’t go into any detail about the film itself in case there are still some readers out there who haven’t seen it. However it is safe to say the surviving heroes from Infinity Wars deal with grief in their own unique ways befitting their personalities and histories as we know them.

Hawkeye becomes a driven assassin; Captain America becomes a peer support leader; Black Widow is laser-focused on monitoring the world for potential threats; and Iron Man has retired to a peaceful rural life with Pepper Potts and their daughter.

Thor, on the other hand has retreated to beer, pizza, and a wastrel life of video games with his bros. The film offers grave tones suggesting a depressed, unhappy and sorrowful hero who cannot find his strength or motivation to lead.

Fair enough, many of us do use food or drink to manage our feelings, so no judgement from me on that. However, when we catch our first glimpse of Thor, he is seen as unkempt, schlumpy and fat.

In fact, there were lots of titters and guffaws at this unexpected manifestation of depression. I’ve read enough comments to see this was not an unusual response. While I appreciate Thor in the pantheon was funnier than the other heroes, it was hard to see him as a tool for mockery. And he is mocked by the people he calls his friends.

I suppose I should be grateful there was no miracle makeover, but the constant digs were unkind at best and cruel at their worst. That Thor himself feels he is a lost cause becomes apparent with his overwhelmingly relief when he learns he is still worthy enough to recall the Hammer.

I saw End Game just days before news broke that runners in the London marathon’s 7.5 hour pace group were mocked and called fat for their efforts. It was another reminder that if you don’t fit social expectations, you are not worthy. If you are interested in some other thoughts, here’s an interesting take at the Mary Sue.

What do you think? How might this story line be done more positively?

219 in 2019 · fitness

Sam is Celebrating 100

I’m trying to work out 219 times in 2019. Truth be told I’d like to work out 300 times in 2019 but I likely won’t make that. But today was a milestone either way. Today I hit 100. Yay!

Where does that out me? If keep exercising at this pace where will I be on the last day of 2019?

Let’s do some math: Today Thursday May 16, 2019 is …Day 136 of 365 days. After today there are 229 days remaining in this year. Or to put it differently 36.99% of the year has gone. Doing some quick back of the envelope math–as they say? but who says that anymore? who does that these days? Well, I did–that means by year’s end, working out at the current rate I’ll make it to 268 workouts in 2019. More than 219 but not quite 300. And that’s fine.

But back to today and my 100th workout. What did I do? I walked Cheddar with my neighbour Judy and her dog Cooper. It’s spring and the neighbours are outside again! And then I got on my Brompton and biked to my office. It’s sunny and warmish and I’m smiling!


Dear Spring, We are ready for you…

Image description: magnolia bud against a blurred background.

Everyone in my part of the world is complaining about our terrible spring. It’s been cold. It’s been wet. Yes, we have more light. But mostly the weather has been so horrible that the extra light hasn’t made the dramatic difference it usually does. I like running in the morning when it gets light early. But lately it’s been hovering just above zero in the morning. No thanks.

I’m reminded of a book a read some years ago by Jose Saramago, the author best known for his novel, Blindness. In this lesser known novel of his, Death with Interruptions, people in this one town stop dying. Like, not matter how old they get, they just don’t die. Though perhaps that seems like it would be something awesome, and at first it is, eventually it creates all kinds of havoc. It turns out [SPOILER] death decided she (death is a woman in this novel) was tired and needed a vacation. So she took a break.

I feel like that’s what Spring is doing this year. She’s taking a break and maybe, just maybe, she’ll be ready to get back to it really soon. Like yesterday was kind of a nice day. Not exactly a “leave your coat at home” day. But close. And today promises to be even better.

By the time we get to this point in May, everyone is eager to get outside into warmer weather. Granted, it’s warmer than winter. I went for a run at lunch time on Monday and I had to take off a layer because I got warm. But the weather is nowhere near what its should be.

And I’m aware that in no time we will be complaining about the heat and humidity. Just yesterday I was telling a colleague who is visiting from Texas that sometimes it is so hot and humid here that even first thing in the morning you’re dripping in sweat after 5 minutes of running.

But we’re not there yet. Spring, if you’re out there having a vacation, please come back. We need you.

What do you plan to do when the weather becomes beautiful (if you’re somewhere were you too are patiently or not so patiently awaiting Spring)?

fitness · motivation

Writing and riding, goals, and resolutions

So I’m behind with three writing projects (two book reviews and one edited companion chapter). There’s also a 1000 word abstract I want to write and two sets of remarks to prepare for Congress in early June. This is even before my larger summer writing goals kick in. My plight will be familiar to academic colleagues in various disciplines around the world. Welcome to academic summers.

That’s not only only pressing set of priorities though. I need to get in bike shape for my Newfoundland bike trip.  And of course there’s my ongoing big job. This morning’s priority is preparing for University of Guelph Research Advocacy Day at Queen’s Park where we hope to wow the MPPs with all the exciting research we do.

So I think my weekday plan is going to have to involve some writing and riding now that university is getting a little bit quieter. Nothing unreasonable but here’s my plan: 20 km+ riding on the weekdays and long rides on the weekends. 30 minutes of writing each day except for Friday when it’s 2 hours.

Day 1 was a rousing success, though more biking than writing. I rode my bike to the Bike Shed in the cold and the rain and rode on the trainer with a different bike for an hour when I got there and then rode to work. Cold and wet but 40 km done and dusted.

In the evening Sarah and I had our first night out Snipe sailing. After a late dinner, I snuck in 30 minutes on the most overdue of the book reviews. It’s a review of Heather Widdows’ Perfect Me: Beauty as an Ethical Ideal. I had some things to say about here on the blog.

Writing and riding are both things that require daily routines for me. See Shouldn’t You Be Riding?

I’ll check in as I go along as let you know how it’s working out.


No running, very little walking? Find out more about Sam’s new approach to work travel

A purple Narwhal. Text says “do it your way” From Emm, not Emma’s positive doodles,

Back when the blog first started I coped with balancing fitness and work travel of which I do a lot by walking lots, carrying all of my stuff, running in new places, and a little hotel room yoga. I still do the hotel room yoga and now physio, but I can no longer run, or count on being able to walk enough to get enough exercise.

A blue background, a pink figure, a yellow balloon containing the words “oh no.”

Why do I care? I’ve thought about that a lot in recent months. Why can’t I just read more? Get some writing done? Why does exercise while traveling matter? It’s not the only thing that’s valuable in life after all. I’ve even thought about quitting the blog, or blogging less, and moving fitness thoughts to an emotional back burner.

But the thing is my knee hurts less when I get exercise. I’m also happiest when moving. And I stay on an even keel emotionally when I’m moving lots. It’s still really important to me. So I want to keep exercising and I can’t count on walking, running, carrying bags etc. What to do?

Here’s two recent success stories.

In Vancouver where I was attending to Pacific Division meeting of the American Philosophical Association I made good use of the hotel gym. Then when Sarah arrived and the conference ended we rented bikes and pedaled our way around the city.

In Halifax where I was for the Canadian Council of Deans of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences meeting I opted against the conference hotel. Instead, I stayed in an cute little airbnb apartment with my own kitchen, brought my new Brompton to commute to the conference, and signed up for spin classes.

What’s clear is that this is going to take more planning in terms of what I do, where I stay, and what I bring. It’ll take some advance internet skulking to find classes. I’m going to have to take time out of tourism to take fitness classes or workout in the gym. I’ll bring the Brompton and I’ll continue with yoga with and physio on my own.

I also realized in April that some of who I am has helped me slog through this chunk of life with my badly arthritic knees.  It’s not just toughness though people say that about me and I’ll nod. Toughness isn’t enough given the nature of the problem. I am determined but it’s also creativity and being positive when things are difficult. It’s funny because I know those characteristics are true of me in other areas of life but I hadn’t thought about it in the fitness context until this spring. I do now.

What’s your approach?

A purple bat and a black thought balloon containing the words, “keep up your chin and keep fighting.” by Emm, not Emma, Roy

traveling · cycling · fitness

How Sam gets pretty in pink! #Brompton

I did it! I’m now the proud owner of a Brompton folding bicycle. Instant love.

I decided (finally) to buy one while in New York. Sarah and I got home Monday and checked to see if it was in stock at Curbside. Sarah picked it up Tuesday and I flew with it Wednesday and I’ve been riding around Halifax, giddy and grinning, while here for the Canadian Council of Deans of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.

(Catherine’s traveling with a Brompton story wasn’t quite so happy. So it’s not all kittens and rainbows in the Brompton world.)

Have you ever done a thing and instantly known it was the right thing? Thought maybe you should have done it years ago? That’s me and this bike. I started browsing in earnest last year but I’ve been thinking about it for ages

❤️  So far I’ve had great experiences riding it, folding it, and taking it in places. Zero objections so far and so many smiles. I will say that it’s not a go fast road bike and I was a bit nervous that I couldn’t accelerate and change lanes across traffic if I needed to. On the other hand, I’m upright and more comfortable around pedestrians. I can take it on the sidewalk if I need to.

It feels great in bike lanes and riding around the city in traffic.

I’ll write more later about riding it, folding it, and taking it places.

Everything pink!

Bright pink manicure at the gate. Colour to match the new bike of course.

My bright pink Airbnb in Halifax.

Bright pink Brompton.

family · fitness

Celebrating mothers: a Fit is a Feminist Issue roundup

Today is Mother’s Day, and here at Fit is a Feminist Issue, we pause and celebrate all the mothers: ours, yours, the moms we see and know and don’t know, all of whom do endless work around the clock to keep our world right-side up. We thank you and we love you!

Sign saying "We like you, too :). Which is true.
Sign saying “we like you too 🙂

We’ve written a fair bit about mothering, mothers, motherhood, the work of mothers, etc. here at the blog. Since I’ve got the Sunday beat, I’ve been writing about mothers on this day. Here’s some of what I’ve done:

My mother, Beth, is a fun and joyful person (at least some of the time…) Both she and my dad loved to dance, and they were super-smooth on the dance floor. She also played basketball in high school and tennis through adulthood. She now likes walks in parks and on the beach and also mugging for the camera, as she’s doing here, showing off a poncho Christmas present.

My mother Beth, showing off her new Christmas poncho.
My mother Beth, showing off her new Christmas poncho.

Our blogger Mina has written about activities with her mother and enjoyed working out with people of a variety of ages. She even illustrated it:

Self portrait stick figure of Mina doing Nia

Nia with my Mum

Sometimes we have to be our own mothers, directing ourselves to rest, recover, and engage in self care. Cate, Tracy, Christine and Kim have all written on the importance of rest and recovery– thanks for helping to mother us and yourselves, too!

I’m not a mother. I’m an aunt, a teacher, a friend, sister, daughter, neighbor, volunteer, etc. My friends who are mothers have taught me a lot about patience, persistence, grit, compassion, occasional sternness, and love. On this blog, I try to send that out and also take that in– from the other bloggers, from you the readers and commenters, and from the feelings of connection to this community.

Happy Mother’s Day to us all!

A child and mother (Unsplash).
A child and mother (Unsplash).