Tuesday, January 12, 2010
I summed up some of my goals and planned means of achieving them on my profile, but here's a little more detail. A few months ago, I was planning a trip to Walt Disney World. It seems to be a pretty common thing with me and my friends. In fact, I contributed to a book on WDW travel that was published last year ("Mousejunkies," by Bill Burke, Traveler's Tales Press). Planning this past trip just happened to coincide with a lot of thinking and talking about what I'd do for my 40th birthday. It's not happening until March of 2011, but I like to plan.
Three of my friends have spent their 40th birthday at WDW and I often kicked around the idea, myself. It's my favorite place, even if March wouldn't be my favorite time to go.
Another thing I was giving a lot of thought to at that time was my health and my weight. I went from being a teen apparently made of nothing but bones and muscle, to a curvy and healthy young woman, to a fat woman rapidly approaching forty seemingly overnight. The year I left the nest and started taking care of myself seems like simultaneously yesterday and a lifetime ago. And though I have great memories and I've accomplished a lot, if someone was to ask me to sum up the last fifteen years in two words, I would say "eighty pounds."
My mother has struggled with her weight for most of her adult life. Other than a few years in the early 80s, she's been obese as long as I can remember. And as I went from bony to curvy to fat, I've had the constant (paraphrased) refrain, "Don't be like me, or you will be ugly, unloved and unhappy." I can control how much the u-words effect me for the most part, because I may feel fat, but I don't feel ugly, and my family makes sure I feel loved. As for unhappy, I've experienced depression a few times in my life. When I see the warning signs, I do whatever I can to prevent them from getting a toe-hold before things get too dark. I'm not doing that again. The u-word that I'm most concerned with is "unhealthy." I'm seeing the cumulative effect of years of obesity have had on my mother's health and her mobility, and the bottom line is that I don't want to be a fat old person. I don't want to give up my independence.
So, back to my WDW trip. I don't know how the thoughts all converged to form my plan. I do know that I googled an old crush and saw pictures of him and his wife running and thought, "I could do that. Why don't I do that?" At the same time, a bunch of my internet friends were talking about Couch to 5K. And finally, I discovered that WDW hosts a half marathon aimed at women and it's held a week or two before my birthday. A half marathon?! Could I do that, even with over a year to train? I did some more googling, this time on "80 pounds overweight half marathon." Which led me to an inspiring woman who happened to have a Spark People account.
And thus, I am here.